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:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

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



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

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Thousands of Cook County homeowners to receive property tax refunds
Monday, August 06, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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