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.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



Cook County to tighten up medical referrals

Sunday, April 15, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Judith Graham

Thousands of poor patients across Chicago may have a harder time getting specialized medical services at Cook County under a new policy that starts Monday.

Before, private community clinics could refer needy patients with conditions such as cancer or diabetes to Stroger Hospital's specialty clinics via a sophisticated computer system. Apparently, that system is shutting down.

Now, patients from private clinics will be required to go to a single county walk-in clinic near Stroger to get referrals, a move that critics say will aggravate already long waits for care.

The computerized system had streamlined the referral process, relying on medical information from private physicians to approve appointments and rank them in order of urgency. Dozens of private clinics and more than 5,000 patients participated every year.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Robert Simon, interim chief of Cook County's Bureau of Health Services, sent a letter to private clinic operators announcing he was suspending use of the system due to "draconian budget cuts." He said he was creating a task force to examine its future.

That doesn't make sense, complained Dr. Lee Francis, vice president of medical services at Erie Family Health Center on the West Side.

In a letter to Simon, Francis warned that the new arrangement will force patients to arrange consultations with county doctors who have no knowledge of patients' medical histories and who will need to re-order tests, adding to costs.

The health bureau "will incur the expense of hundreds if not thousands of additional ambulatory [visits]," Francis said. The walk-in clinic has been overwhelmed already, after its hours were cut by almost one-third earlier this year, observers noted.

"It's a total waste to ask people to come in and wait in these lines to see a doctor they don't know to recommend what care they should get next," said Dr. Art Jones, chief executive of Lawndale Christian Health Center.

"This is just a way to cut access to the specialty clinics," Jones said. He predicted patients will stay home, wait until their conditions worsen then go to Stroger's emergency room.

A Cook County spokesman did not return calls seeking comment last week.

Experts said they were puzzled by the health bureau's move in light of the recent decision to close more than a dozen county-run medical clinics. Seven of those clinics stopped operating a week ago, and thousands of patients will need to be seen in other settings.

Private clinics can provide basic care to those county patients; in return, they want the ability to refer the patients to county facilities for specialty services, such as MRI scans or orthopedic exams, leaders said. This kind of cooperative arrangement has been in place for years, but clinic leaders worry that it may be jeopardized by upheaval at the health bureau.

"We have worked with the county as partners, and we want to be their partners going forward," said Joan Sheforgen, chief executive officer of PrimeCare Community Health. "But this decision was made without us."



Recent Headlines

Northfield woman’s plea prompts assessor’s relief for floodplain homeowners
Friday, September 20, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

When we lose 29% of our birds, we are doing something terribly wrong
Friday, September 20, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Why is Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi belatedly lowering property taxes for some New Trier homes?
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail’s book limit ruled as proper
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Chicago Daily law Bulletin

Prisoner escapes from Chicago police custody en route to Cook County Jail
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County clerk’s office needs federal oversight
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

City Club of Chicago: Toni Preckwinkle – Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County
Monday, September 16, 2019
WGN Radio

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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