Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



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

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018
Patch

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
ABC 7

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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