Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.
   
     
     
     



Health care faces crisis in Cook County

Friday, October 19, 2007
Daily Southtown

It's like amateur night at the lunatic asylum. That's how Dr. Quentin Young, former medical director of Cook County Hospital and a nationally recognized leader in public health care, describes the folks handling the finances of the Cook County health care system.
While leaving nearly $200 million uncollected in Medicare and Medicaid funds, the county has hired a collection agency to "terrorize people living in poverty" who have been unable to pay their hospital bills, Young said.
Cook County's health care system, which serves about 1 million people, is facing a financial crisis, but elected leaders seem unable and unwilling to deal with the problem.
According to a new group organized to save the county system, which includes an organization represented by Young, there is a simple first step necessary to solve the problems, and it wouldn't cost a dime.
Cook County needs to form a board of trustees to oversee the system to assure taxpayers that it is being managed "competently, transparently and without political interference," Young said.
Surgically remove the health care system from the political system and don't ask for any more money until competent health care and financial professionals have a chance to make reforms.
The Emergency Network to Save Cook County Health Services, as the new coalition is called, includes doctors, nurses, health policy experts, community organizations, labor unions, consumer advocates and others.
All of them are concerned that if the county's health care system continues to collapse, those 1 million residents, many of them uninsured, will lose their access to medical care.
In addition, those people will begin pouring into private hospitals, overburdening a hospital system already straining to serve the needs of paying customers.
William McNary, co-director of Citizens Action-Illinois, one of the coalition members, said the county health care system is going to need more money, but "no one will give you a nickel if they see patronage."
McNary and Young believe immediate action is needed to save the system and restore public credibility in the process.
But the Cook County Board and its president, Todd Stroger, seem unwilling to take such action.
Stroger did organize a 10-member review committee composed primarily of medical professionals to assess the problems with the health care system.
But he did it in part because U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) informed him federal health care funds likely would not be distributed to Cook County until it proved it had taken steps to reform a system that had been a patronage haven.
The review committee - which included Dr. Larry Goodman, president and chief executive of Rush University Medical Center - reached many of the same conclusions as did the group that McNary and Young are involved in.
"Management reporting capabilities, such as monthly financial statements and revenue and expense benchmark data, as well as business practices typical of hospital and health systems do not exist at the Bureau (of Health Services) or are only now being developed," the committee's report states.
"The Review Committee strongly believes that the president and the county board will need to fundamentally change their governance and oversight processes if the issues facing the Bureau of Health Services are to be successfully addressed," it says.
Young stresses that the lack of quality medical care in Cook County for its poorest citizens has implications for people throughout the region.
Illnesses are spread that might otherwise be prevented with the use of vaccines.
He maintains that delays in diagnostic tests and mammograms at Stroger Hospital could cause people to die.
Unfortunately, I can't see Stroger or the county board reacting in a logical way to any of this.
It makes perfect sense for county officials to do everything they can to restore public confidence in the health system before asking for more money.
But that same logic would apply to every aspect of Cook County government.
Instead of assuring taxpayers that he's doing everything in his power to rid the county of corruption, waste, patronage and nepotism, Stroger has hired friends and relatives in key positions and now is proposing a cornucopia of tax increases to fund the government.
Why would anyone expect him to treat the Bureau of Health Services - the largest provider of health care to uninsured, underinsured and public aid patients in the state - any differently?
Yes, he's cut the health care budget by millions and, along with it, necessary services.
He's closed seven health clinics, eliminated 230 nursing positions and shut down 25 beds at Stroger Hospital.
I'm not sure those are the kinds of cuts taxpayers are looking for when they demand reform.
Ultimately, neither the county nor the state are going to be able to keep up with the increasing number of uninsured Americans.
National health insurance is the only answer.
Until then, it truly is amateur night in the lunatic asylum.


Recent Headlines

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff’s office warns of phone scam
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Homeowners Across Chicago Brace for Higher Property Taxes
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
WTTW News

all news items

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