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



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

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019
WTTW News

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ News

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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