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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



Dems in D.C. scold Stroger
County prez must fix hospital system, Sen. Durbin warns

Monday, May 14, 2007
Crain's Chicago Business
by Mike Colias

Illinois' congressional delegation is pressing Cook County Board President Todd Stroger to clean up problems at the county's cash-strapped hospital system if he expects lawmakers to fight for more dollars from Washington.

During a tense meeting at Sen. Richard Durbin's office in the U.S. Capitol in March, the senator and a half-dozen other Illinois lawmakers raised concerns over problems that led to recent job and service cuts at county hospitals and clinics.

Sen. Durbin urged Mr. Stroger to bring in outside advisers "who know what they're doing" to help overhaul the system, says a person who attended the meeting.

Mr. Stroger appears to have heeded the blunt advice. This week, a freshly appointed "blue-ribbon committee" of local health and business leaders convenes in Chicago. At Sen. Durbin's insistence, the eight-member panel will look beyond the Bureau of Health Services' fiscal woes to recommend broader fixes to an entrenched management structure that critics say breeds patronage and incompetence.

The ultimatum from congressional Democrats who backed Mr. Stroger's election in November shows they intend to hold him to his campaign promise to fix management problems and end patronage at the health bureau. Mr. Stroger needs them: He is seeking more than $200 million in additional federal funding for the health system.
So far, Mr. Stroger hasn't embraced outside advice on health system reforms. He hasn't responded to a report submitted to his office two months ago from a "transition committee" on health that he appointed after he won office, according to panel members (Crain's, April 9). The 21-member group called for Mr. Stroger to cede hiring decisions and other day-to-day oversight of the health bureau to an independent board.

Mr. Stroger isn't bound to act on any recommendations from this latest panel, either. Sen. Durbin didn't promise future funding and made no specific demands of Mr. Stroger, other than that he take the committee's advice seriously.

But some panel members are hopeful that pressure from Sen. Durbin and other congressional leaders will carry added weight.

"I'm not sure anyone would have agreed to serve if there wasn't some clout behind this," says Kathleen DeVine, CEO of St. Anthony Hospital and a member of the blue-ribbon panel, who also served on Mr. Stroger's earlier health committee.

The meeting in Sen. Durbin's office "raised the expectation that Mr. Stroger show leadership and get a handle on the problems facing the health system," a spokesman for the senator says.

Among other key lawmakers present were U.S. Reps. Rahm Emanuel of Chicago and Jan Schakowsky of Evanston. Neither they nor Sen. Durbin could be reached for comment.

ADVICE 'WELL-RECEIVED'

"That input is well-received by the president," a Stroger spokesman says. The new panel will help "oversee plans for overhauling the health bureau's processes and procedures" and continue to meet until major changes are carried out, he says.

As for the first committee's seven-page report, the spokesman says it's still being compiled with reports from four other transition teams to be formally presented to Mr. Stroger.

The county board president insists he and interim county health chief Robert Simon have set in motion a strategy to fix the fiscal problems he inherited from his father, former board President John Stroger. They have hired consultants to suggest ways to boost revenue while beefing up staff training to curb billing errors, which resulted in $250 million in unsent medical bills last year. The 2007 budget for the county health system is $745 million.

Critics say the financial problems are rooted in an outdated governance structure that leaves oversight of the three-hospital system to the county commissioners and board president.

That presents "a clear opportunity to use the system for political hiring at the expense of best-qualified health management leadership," says a study last year by a health policy group affiliated with Northwestern University's medical school.

More than 1,000 county health workers are being laid off under Mr. Stroger's 2007 budget, which cut the health bureau's funds by 9% to help plug the county's $500-million budget hole. Some services at the county's three hospitals — Stroger, Provident and Oak Forest — also are being trimmed.



c Recent Headlines

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

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

all news items

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