Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  The Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



County lagging in hiring of druggists
Stroger Hospital has 12 positions vacant

Friday, May 27, 2005
Chicago Tribune
by Charles Sheehan

The number of prescriptions filled at Stroger Hospital, which provides the vast majority of services in Cook County for those without insurance, jumped by more than 31 percent last year to nearly 3 million, according to the county Bureau of Health Services.

And it's becoming harder for the county to fill those orders because the hot job market for pharmacists is luring new graduates away to retail chains and big-box stores, which offer signing bonuses, store discounts and other perks.

Though 12 of 26 positions are currently vacant at Stroger, the people who are recruiting pharmacists say the response to salary offers from the county is often the click of a phone.

This comes with Cook County on pace to fill a half million more prescriptions in 2005 than were filled last year, said Dr. Daniel Winship, chief of the Bureau of Health Sciences.

"That's an astronomical number of prescriptions," he said.

Winship testified Thursday during an emergency meeting of the Cook County Stroger & Cermak Hospitals subcommittee called by Commissioner Roberto Maldonado.

Maldonado said he was surprised to learn patients were waiting days for prescription drugs and that hourslong lines formed outside clinics.

"It is highly unfair to treat our patients with such indignity," he said.

Bureau of Health Sciences officials said a new mail-order program for prescription drugs is performing better than expected and that when new pharmacists are hired, service at the county's outpatient prescription offices will improve.

Yet with budgets stretched tight, county health officials said it is increasingly difficult to remain competitive in a very fluid market for pharmacists.

Starting annual salaries averaged more than $80,000 for pharmacists last year, more than $41 per hour, according to industry groups. That's not including bonuses or other perks.

A first-year pharmacist at Cook County can expect $70,694, or about $33.98 per hour, according to Dan Martin, Winship's chief of staff.

Salaries top out at just over $86,000 per year for pharmacists in Cook County, which is below the average salary for pharmacists nationwide even when starting salaries are averaged in, according to industry groups.

Trying to hire experienced help is almost impossible, county officials said.

The county cap for new hires, regardless of experience, is set at the five-year pay scale of $78,255, Martin said.

And the work pace can be frantic.

A pharmacist with two technicians at Stroger is completing about 400 orders per shift, compared with about 250 orders per shift in the retail industry, county officials said.

One of the reasons for the increase in prescriptions, according to Winship, is the changing face of those seeking them from the county.

More people are losing health insurance and turning to the county for help, he said.

The increase in prescriptions can also be attributed to a rise in outpatient care, an aging population and more prescription drugs on the market, health officials said.

The Bureau of Health Services has 16 people now visiting clinics to raise awareness of the prescription mail-order service offered by the county, and there is a notification in each prescription filled that the service exists.

The county also may shift current staffing from one pharmacist and two lower-paid technicians, to a ratio of one to four, Winship said.

A pharmacist is required by law to verify the script from doctors and to ensure that the orders leaving through the windows are correct, Martin said.

The Bureau of Health Services is also trying to use increased automation and contracting for prepackaged pharmaceuticals to cut down on the time it takes to fill orders.

But commissioners on the subcommittee were doubtful that any of the proposed solutions would end the long lines outside county clinics.

"Why do we fool ourselves into thinking we will ever be able to fill this voluminous need?" Commissioner Peter Silvestri said.

If the county can fill the vacancies for pharmacists, Winship said, the Bureau of Health Services would be able to provide a better idea of what more can be done.




Recent Headlines

Why some Cook County voters are still waiting for mail-in ballots
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Editorial: Impact of COVID-19 emphasizes role of ACA in Cook County budgeting
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Daily Herald

Cook County tosses ‘lifeline’ to needy residents, opening housing voucher waiting list for first time since 2001
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: COVID-19 cases on the rise in long-term care facilities; applications open for relief fund for restaurant workers
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

For first time in nearly 20 years, Cook County opens suburban housing voucher waitlist. At least 10K people already applied.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Preckwinkle balances the county’s COVID budget. Next up, Lightfoot.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Gov. J.B. Pritzker blames President Trump and his allies for coronavirus spike in Illinois
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Chicago Tribune

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlines $6.9 billion budget plan: ‘This pandemic has dealt Cook County and its residents a catastrophic blow’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle touts restorative justice in budget that slashes court, jail funding: ‘We cannot police our way out’
Friday, October 16, 2020
The Daily Line

‘We Are In a New Wave of COVID-19’: Pritzker
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Everything You Need To Know About Voting Drop Boxes In Illinois
Friday, October 16, 2020
WBEZ News

Pritzker Extends Ban on Evictions for 7th Month
Friday, October 16, 2020
WTTW News

Pritzker to extend eviction moratorium another 30 days: ‘Nothing really has changed’
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Record-high Illinois COVID-19 caseload, hospitalizations and positive test rate rising: ‘We are in a new wave
Friday, October 16, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A Cook County budget built to ‘weather the storm’ — but the rain had better be moving on
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Layoffs, cutting vacant jobs all part of Preckwinkle’s $6.9 billion budget plan to ride out COVID-19 storm
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

6 more Cook County chief judge’s office employees test positive for COVID-19
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Fox 32 Chicago

Preckwinkle's good-news budget: No tax hikes, minimal layoffs
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Politicians renew call to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day
Monday, October 12, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

13 more deaths, 2,742 new cases reported as Illinois’ coronavirus positivity rate ticks upward
Monday, October 12, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP