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Accreditation suspended for jail's medical care

Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Chicago Tribune

COOK COUNTY -- A leading correctional organization has suspended accreditation for medical services at the Cook County Jail in the wake of management changes at the institution.

On Monday, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care confirmed that accreditation was put on hold, pending a review.
"Our concern is patient care and the jail's ability to provide services," said Edward Harrison, the organization's president. "We haven't seen what the new management structure is or how well it's functioning."

Accreditation signifies that a jail meets professional standards for services; the County Jail had enjoyed this stamp of approval for many years.

The commission's action was prompted by the dismissals of the County Jail's four top doctors in January, Harrison said. County health chief Dr. Robert Simon said at the time he did not believe the physicians would cooperate with changes he wanted to institute.

Separately, the county decided on its own that it wanted its accreditation status suspended while it addressed several outstanding issues related to medical care at the jail. "We do fully intend to reapply for accreditation within the next 12 to 18 months," said Steve Mayberry, spokesman for County Board President Todd Stroger.



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