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 Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



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

County maps reveal suburban spread of coronavirus infections. Some of the highest numbers are in the northern suburbs.
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Daywatch: Virus crisis looms for Cook County’s incarcerated, the brave new world of pandemic shopping and what Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks of your memes
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Another nurse claims retaliation after voicing concerns about PPE access (LIVE UPDATES)
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says coronavirus likely to have ‘profound impact’ on county’s hospital system
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Tribune

$7.5M in payouts to go to former Cook County Jail detainees denied prescription drugs
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Postponement of most criminal, civil cases in Cook County Circuit Court extended through May
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County medical examiner confirms 8 more coronavirus deaths, bringing total to 48
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Niles Township COVID-19 UPDATES
Monday, March 30, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Rent coming due for many who’ve lost jobs or seen their hours cut
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Community health centers face shutdowns as the coronavirus drives patients, funding away
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus prompts crackdown on crowds in Cook County forest preserves, and more closures possible if public doesn’t comply
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Illinois confirms more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases as testing capacity grows
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County medical examiner confirms 8 more coronavirus deaths, bringing total to 40
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Weekly updates from the Village of Glenview
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Design Evanston Project Review of the 1900 Sherman Avenue Project
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

Inside the city's dry run for a pandemic
Friday, March 27, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

As coronavirus spreads at Cook County Jail, hundreds are released
Friday, March 27, 2020
Injustice Watch

Letter from the CEO of Cook County Health System
Friday, March 27, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County offering tax relief, too
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

all news items

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