Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

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.

Employee: Hospital isn't billing
Oak Forest revelation gives health system critics new target

Friday, October 26, 2007
Daily Southtown
by Emily Udell, Staff writer

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he will look into a claim that Oak Forest Hospital's uninsured patients stopped getting bills four to six months ago, possibly contributing to a loss of revenue for the cash-strapped county.
Bills for self-pay patients at the facility have been piling up since Dr. Robert Simon, the interim chief of the Cook County Health Bureau, ordered the finance department to stop sending them, according to a billing clerk at the hospital.
"Six months now - not one bill has gone out," said Marianne Morang at a public hearing on the proposed county budget. "No bills going out, no revenue coming in."
Jamie McPeek Johnson, director of billing and patient accounting services at Oak Forest Hospital, said the department stopped billing uninsured patients in June or July as part of an effort to restructure the bureau's charity care program.
"It's just with these self-pay patients that we have to take a step back and review our charity care program because we don't want them to be harassed by collection agencies," she said.
She said the self-pay bills stopped going out as county officials worked to make the language on the bills consistent among the three county hospitals. She also said the department still was billing Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
"We were told to hold all billing because the wording on the bills was not correct," said Morang, who has worked in the department for 14 years. "Patients are calling and asking for bills."
The revelation came at the first of four public hearings on the $3.2 billion budget proposal that includes increases in sales, parking and gas taxes. The projected budget deficit for the next fiscal year is $239 million.
"They're reaching into taxpayers' pockets in order to cover up the incompetence of the political appointees in the hospital system," said Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) after the meeting.
The county has been roundly criticized for mismanagement of the billing system at the health bureau. At least $200 million in bills went unclaimed last year because the county failed to issue invoices.
Johnson said she did not immediately have information on what percentage of bills generated by her department were for self-pay patients or when billing for those patients would resume and referred a reporter to bureau chief financial officer John Cookingham's office. Calls to Cookingham and the Cook County public relations department were not returned by deadline.
Critics of the county's management of the $745-million-a-year system said billing problems at Oak Forest Hospital were another example of the board's inability to reform the embattled bureau.
"I'm concerned that we're in chaotic freefall in terms of billing," said Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston), who said he planned to propose an ordinance next month that would turn over the administration of the health bureau to an independent trusteeship.
Stroger said he was not aware of the freeze on self-pay bills at Oak Forest as it was stated at the public hearing but he knew the charity care policy was being revamped.
"I trust that the director was giving the factual information," said Stroger, who added he would talk to Simon and Cookingham about the problem.
On Thursday, Stroger appointed a bipartisan task force to study models of independent governance for the health system in response to the findings of an independent panel, which said there was a dire need to turn over the management of the bureau to outside medical experts. The task force was slated to report to the board within 60 to 90 days, according a news release from the county board president's office.

Recent Headlines

Jail guard’s retaliation suit can proceed
Monday, November 19, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

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

all news items

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