Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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 Cook County Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.

Inspectors slam Stroger Hospital

Sunday, May 20, 2007
Crain's Chicago Business
by Mike Colias

Stroger Hospital recently tanked a key inspection that found numerous flaws affecting patient care and safety at the county's biggest public hospital, which already is battling budget pressures that have forced widespread layoffs.

The hospital got 22 citations — by far its worst performance in nearly two decades — after a weeklong, surprise inspection in March by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the main accrediting agency for U.S. hospitals. More than 16 violations can strip a hospital's accreditation and jeopardize its federal Medicare reimbursement, a vital source of funding for Stroger.

Even if Stroger keeps its accreditation, it almost surely will wind up on probation with the commission, a category that just 3% of U.S. hospitals fell into last year.

The poor results raise questions about quality of care at the county's new flagship hospital, opened in 2002 at a cost of nearly $700 million, and cast doubt on leadership at the Bureau of Health Services. It also is likely to put further pressure on County Board President Todd Stroger to cede direct oversight of the health bureau to an independent board (Crain's, April 9), as has been urged by a growing number of observers.

"That number of citations represents a complete failure of management," says Bruce Anderson, a Chicago-area health care consultant. "It points directly to lapses in patient care."
The report also ratchets up pressure on interim health chief Robert Simon, who was appointed in December and has his hands full trying to boost revenue while cutting jobs and medical services. Mr. Stroger slashed the health bureau's budget this year nearly 10%, to $745 million. Illinois lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have told Mr. Stroger he won't get additional funding until he shows progress in restructuring the health system (Crain's, May 14).

Some violations relate directly to patient care, such as a lapse in safeguards meant to ensure that patients don't take the wrong medications after they leave the hospital. Another cited staffers' failure to assess and document whether a patient is prone to falling down. (Officials from both the health bureau and joint commission declined to provide a complete list of citations.)

Dr. Simon blames many of the problems flagged by inspectors on sagging morale among doctors and nurses, who are rankled by more than 1,000 layoffs across the health system. But he denies a slip in clinical quality, noting that key indicators, such as the number of patient deaths or complications from surgery, haven't gotten worse.

"Some employees are disgruntled," Dr. Simon says, adding that he believes staff complaints triggered the recent inspection. But he says many violations were relatively minor and doesn't believe the hospital will lose accreditation.

Poor inspection results cost the hospital its accreditation in the late 1980s, mostly because of safety issues related to the dilapidated former facility. The county regained accreditation in the early 1990s.


Officials at the hospital are scrambling to show they've fixed the problems before the commission formally decides its fate next month. Joint commission officials agreed to drop the number of citations to 16 after hospital administrators in recent weeks showed that some of the negative marks weren't warranted, says Suzanne Klein, Stroger Hospital's director of quality assurance.

That should help prevent a loss of accreditation, but still would land the hospital on probationary status, called "conditional accreditation." That would leave the hospital open to more-frequent inspections.

Low morale likely will hamper efforts to fix the patient-care problems.

One high-ranking member of the health bureau's medical staff says "the majority of doctors are looking for jobs" elsewhere because they fear another revenue shortfall will lead to more pink slips. "The system is in danger of losing a lot of talented doctors and nurses," says the doctor, who didn't want his name used for fear of losing his job.

Thomas Glaser, the health bureau's chief operating officer, says revenue projections for the next fiscal year (starting Dec. 1) are on target. But those hinge on whether health officials make headway in fixing the bureau's sloppy billing system.

Dr. Simon acknowledges that doctors and nurses fear more cutbacks; he expects to lose up to 20% of his medical staff because of the growing disenchantment over the budget crunch. He says the only real solution is an infusion of new revenue.

"When you go through the cutbacks and uncertainty that we've had," he says, "what else do you expect?"

Recent Headlines

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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