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.

   
  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.
   
     
     
     



Cook County happy with health leaders
Commissioners like what they see from bureau's new leaders

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead | Daily Herald Staff

John Cookingham found a $300,000 comma in Palatine.
The chief financial officer of the Cook County Bureau of Health made the revelation Tuesday at the bureau's budget hearing as a way to illustrate some of the steps he and others have taken to try to turn around the bureau's finances.
The comma was supposed to be part of the billing code submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement of services to poor patients treated at the county's Vista Health Center in Palatine. Without it, Medicaid was rejecting all Vista reimbursement claims submitted by the county.
When Cookingham and his staff realized the mistake and fixed it, they immediately were reimbursed $300,000 for past services, and have continued to collect reimbursements for Vista patients since then.
"It was as simple as putting a comma between 'Cook County' and something else," Cookingham told county commissioners.
Cookingham, bureau Chief Operating Officer Tom Glaser and bureau chief Robert Simon made their presentation as party of annual hearings where budget requests are defended.
After reducing from 8,501 full- and part-time employees in December 2006 to 6,904 now, the bureau is asking for 690 full-time employees back.
And after cutting $130 million from its 2006 budget in 2007, the bureau is looking for $96.9 million of that funding back. That represents a substantial portion of the $239 million total county budget deficit that Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is trying to raise through new taxes.
Cook County commissioners, who have largely been critical of those tax hikes, nonetheless Tuesday seemed to endorse Simon and his team's efforts to turn the place around.
"You're doing an outstanding job," said Gregg Goslin, a Glenview Republican who was highly critical of Simon's predecessors.
Joseph Mario Moreno, a Chicago Democrat, said he felt the entire bureau needed a total restructuring.
"I believe that's what's happening," said Moreno.
As part of their reformation efforts, Simon and others have begun instituting measures at the hospital that are standard elsewhere, but were not done prior to their arrival. Financial statements, for example, are now compiled monthly.
The team has also centralized purchasing of medical supplies for the system's three hospitals and 16 clinics so as to increase their buying power and receive better rates.
Although Simon and others are on track to increase only slightly collected patient fees by about $770,000, they have done so in a year when outpatients decreased greatly. The county saw 746,000 outpatient visits in 2006 and just 665,000 in 2007.
Additionally, because of board members' delay, the trio was not put in place until three months into the budget year. They also were not allowed to hire an outside company to increase collections of insurance and Medicaid bills until after the mid-year -- largely because board members wasted months fighting about which company to hire.
Simon, Glaser and Cookingham have also identified areas in the hospital where no Medicaid reimbursement claims were being submitted at all, such as for radiology procedures. If they are successful in collecting reimbursements for those activities this year, the increased patient fees could go even higher, Cookingham told commissioners.
Not everybody is happy with Simon. Commissioner Forrest Claypool, a Chicago Democrat, said he still believes there's waste and patronage in the bureau, and a special blue-ribbon panel enlisted by Stroger himself concluded much the same in its recommendation that the bureau be turned over to another board.
Collecting payment
Health bureau officials say recent improvements have decreased the portion of reimbursement claims that Medicaid rejects from 76 percent in March to just 15 percent now, although total collections are only slightly higher than last year. Here's what's been happening with patient fees at the bureau:
Projected Actual
patient patient
revenues revenues Shortfall
2006 $428.2 million $331.9 million $96.3 million
2007 $385.7 million $332.6 million* $53.1 million
2008 $352.7 million N/A N/A
*year-end estimate based on current year-to-date collections
Source: Cook County Health Bureau
County rumble
Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool and Bureau of Health Chief Robert Simon will face off today on public radio over whether the county's public health system is being run efficiently. The debate comes after Simon challenged Claypool to define where he would make cuts instead of raising taxes.
Where: WBEZ 91.5-FM
When: 8:45 a.m. today


Recent Headlines

Old Cook County Hospital on track to become next city landmark
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Free Radioactive Radon Test Kits From Cook County
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Toni Preckwinkle and county watchdog at odds over political travel reimbursements
Friday, January 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

2 Cook County judges — one cleared of gun charge, one reassigned for anger management — to return to bench at criminal court
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

It's been a bad decade for property taxes
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Bond court reform has not put more violent offenders back on the street
Wednesday, January 09, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Glenview pushes minimum wage, paid sick leave discussion to next week
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How Fritz Kaegi Plans to Transform the Cook County Assessor’s Office
Friday, January 04, 2019
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Cook County Health recognizes Cervical Health Awareness Month
Friday, January 04, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

2 neighborhood courthouses close: 'You’re discouraging citizens from going to court'
Friday, January 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Campaign money tied to Ald. Edward Burke’s alleged extortion scheme was intended for County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, sources say
Thursday, January 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County, parking operators in dispute over possibly millions in back taxes that could leave consumers pinched
Thursday, January 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle pursues back taxes from parking lot operators
Wednesday, January 02, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

30K Cook County homeowners to get $8.3M in automatic property tax refunds
Monday, December 31, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

2019 preview: Glenview to consider minimum wage
Monday, December 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

'If I can do this, you can do this': Cook County judges inspire students of similar backgrounds
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

The Price Tag Of Freedom For Hundreds Of Non-Violent Cook County Inmates Is Less Than $2,000
Thursday, December 27, 2018
CBS Chicago

Give the Gift of Nature
Thursday, December 27, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Why those 19 inmates were in Cook County Jail
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Medical examiner slow to review cases of fired pathologist who missed a murder
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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