Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Inflamed rhetoric does little to further health care debate

Sunday, April 01, 2007
Daily Southtown
Editorial

The issue: Amid discussions of Oak Forest Hospital's future, the head of the county's health services said illegal immigrants living at the hospital should be shipped home.
We say: Such remarks divert attention from other, broader issues that need to be resolved so the county can fulfill its mission regarding health care.

The chief of health services for Cook County has suggested sending the illegal immigrants who receive long-term medical care at Oak Forest Hospital back to their home countries.
"We're giving luxury service in a setting like a park," Dr. Robert Simon said in an interview with Southtown health writer Gregg Sherrard Blesch, referring to the grassy, tree-filled acreage of the campus at 159th Street and Cicero Avenue. "We've got undocumented aliens that are living there like that.
"All those undocumented aliens, the taxpayers are paying the entire bill. ... What I'm saying is, our primary concern has to be to the taxpayers and the citizens."
Simon's comments may seem insensitive to some.
To others, Simon may speak a cold truth.
The Progress Center for Independent Living estimates 20 to 30 disabled illegal immigrants are being cared for in Oak Forest, and Cook County taxpayers pay the bills for these patients. At $800 a day, Simon says, the price tag is five times what a private nursing home would pay.
Mired in a severe budget crisis, the county is looking to make hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts. Oak Forest Hospital's long-term residents fear they may be asked to leave to make up for the county's $500 million deficit, among them are legal residents who can't pay their bills and don't qualify for Medicaid.
Such fears are easy to understand.
Though a budget was approved a month ago, no one from County Board President Todd Stroger on down seems to know all its details. Jobs and programs slated for the ax may indeed survive. Others still may be eliminated. It appears to be a case of passing the budget first and worrying about the details later -- details like making sure politically loyal workers remain gainfully employed.
Amid this financial chaos, there were conflicting stories late last week about the fate of patients at Oak Forest's long-term care unit. At first, patients were led to believe the entire 220-bed unit would be shut down by Sept. 1 and the patients evicted. Simon later said that wasn't the case -- yet. He'd like to get the unit down to 70 beds, but didn't rule out the possibility long-term care could be closed and contracted to a private company.
Are Simon's comments cold-hearted or cold truth?
In our view, Simon's comments are asinine, particularly in light of the growing debacle of Cook County's mismanaged finances. Regardless of your views on illegal immigration, the controversy over Simon's daft notions of deportation diverts attention from other problems that should be addressed.
The county pays for almost $100 million in patient care provided to people who live in the collar counties who get sent to Stroger Hospital because their home communities do not provide charity care. Last week, county officials said they found 77 boxes with more than $200 million worth of patient bills that never were sent. The Southtown reported in November that the county was $68 million behind in collecting patient fees from its three hospitals. Why? Because they didn't know who was supposed to be doing the work. The Chicago Tribune reported in February that the county's health services department doesn't even bother billing patients who actually carry health insurance, which suggests that the county could be missing out on millions and millions of dollars.
Why not start treating those financial ailments before turning attention to a few dozen profoundly disabled people taking up beds at Oak Forest Hospital?
We don't believe the county has done enough to look at other places to cut without putting the health of its patients at risk.
It's amazing that county administrators can't talk as tough about loafing county workers as they can about needy patients who come September better have a forwarding address. Defenseless patients appear to be easy marks when it comes time find a way to cut costs. After all, they don't have political bosses to do their bidding for them.
There is no denying the burden illegal immigration puts on this country. But using the handful of profoundly disabled illegal immigrants at Oak Forest Hospital as a pawn in the broader debate over the availability of health care in Cook County does nothing but harm.
And harm, as Dr. Simon should know, is something no doctor should cause.



Recent Headlines

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

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

More COVID-19 Cases Discovered in Cook County Jail
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
WTTW News

Safety concerns spark clashes between hospital staffers and execs
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 4 more deaths and 250 new cases reported, bringing state total to 16 deaths and 1,535 cases
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Chicago Tribune

The Forest Preserves Remain Open, Please Follow Social Distancing Guidelines
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas: Auction of delinquent Cook County property taxes postponed indefinitely
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Regarding Release of Detainees at Cook County Jail and Juvenile Temporary Detention Center
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Third detainee with coronavirus confirmed at Cook County Jail
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

New Illinois National Guard coronavirus testing site for first responders and health care workers reaches capacity after four hour
Monday, March 23, 2020
Chicago Tribune

John LaPlante, city’s first transportation commissioner, dies after battle with coronavirus
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Officer at Cook County Jail tests positive for coronavirus
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Low-risk inmates begin exiting Cook County Jail amid coronavirus threat
Friday, March 20, 2020
Chicago Tribune

During Pandemic, Low-Level Drug Cases Won’t Be Prosecuted In Cook County
Friday, March 20, 2020
WBEZ News

What precautions the Cook County medical examiner is taking with coronavirus deaths
Friday, March 20, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Funerals, grieving in Chicago, elsewhere delayed by coronavirus
Friday, March 20, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Lightfoot: $100M loan fund for businesses hit by coronavirus
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Toni Preckwinkle: We are one Cook County, one people, in fighting the coronavirus
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Award Sings the Praises of Unsung Heroine Kathy Tate-Bradish
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

all news items

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