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.

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

Outgoing Cook Co. health chief praised despite falling revenue

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Cook County commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday praising outgoing Bureau of Health chief Bob Simon, even as they accepted a report on hospital financials that indicate revenues continued to plummet under his stewardship.

Supporters said the continuing decline in patient revenues was not Simon's fault but the reality of an increasing percentage of indigent patients coming to Cook County Hospitals.

Simon, who took the reins temporarily during the last two budget cycles, was brought in by President Todd Stroger to slash the bureau's budget in the first year, only to mostly restore it in the second.

"Dr. Simon, you are part of my friends and family," said Stroger in praising the outgoing leader.

Hospital employees "were saying (when Simon arrived) 'Dr. Simon came in and, boy, did we hate him,' " noted Stroger. "But as time went on, most of them are like, 'Thank God Dr. Simon came.'"

Stroger and others credited Simon with overseeing a major administrative overhaul of the hospital system that, while not immediately improving financials, will have long-term benefits down the road, they predicted.

But for now, county revenue reports showed that in the first four months of 2007, the Bureau of Health took in $81,831,000 in patient fees, while in the same period this year it collected only $67,952,447 .

Sean Howard, a spokesman for the Bureau of Health pointed out that part of the inability to collect more patient fees stems from an increase in indigent patients.

Stroger said the only thing the fee drop proves is that "Rome wasn't built in a day."

He noted Simon's long-term work in bringing health care to war-torn countries under the most violent of circumstances.

"I don't think most people know that you've been shot twice," Stroger said.

Howard also pointed out that an administration plan to bring in a bill collections company that works on a commission basis was stymied for months by commissioners who could not agree on which company to hire.

The board finally hired such a company Tuesday. That is in addition to the four firms it has already retained to improve the rate of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Simon thanked the board, and pointed out that it was instrumental in cutting health care costs by instituting observation wards 12 years ago, a phenomenon copied by other hospitals.

As for his critics, Simon recalled a situation he encountered during one of his travels in a war-torn country where he wanted to establish a clinic in a cave to protect it from air raids, but two local tribal leaders each wanted the clinic closer to their home base.

As he deliberated what to do, his translator said something to him that has stuck with him ever since, Simon recalled.

"He said, 'Doctor, the man who is loved by everybody is nobody,' " Simon recalled.

Several commissioners left the room rather than join the love fest, including Chicago Democrats Forrest Claypool and Michael Quigley. Another Democrat, Larry Suffredin of Evanston, remained but declined to pose with other commissioners and Simon for a farewell photo.

Suffredin was the key ninth vote in February that allowed President Todd Stroger to raise sales taxes $426 million annually. As one of his conditions, however, he demanded that the hospital system be turned over to a board of independent administrators and that Simon be removed as bureau chair.

The county has not yet reaped those new sales taxes this year, and won't until the last two months of the year because of statutory and state deadlines for raising taxes that were missed.

But in the first four months of this year, sales tax receipts were doing well, in part because bad retail sales were offset by a windfall increase in gas taxes due to the rising price of gasoline, County Comptroller Joseph Fratto explained to the board.

Recent Headlines

Woman, 19, arrested after escaping police custody at Cook County courthouse
Sunday, December 09, 2018
WLS ABC Chicago 7

Here's an exciting prospect: A boring assessor's office
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Sheriff starts unique inmate program to combat Chicago's gun epidemic
Thursday, December 06, 2018
RTV 6 Indianapolis

Staff feud at tax appeals board turns nasty
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Tax Bills Posted Online Three Months Early
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
CBS Chicago

County Board makes it easier to choose Preckwinkle successor
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

New Cook County assessor vows end to favoritism as he takes office
Monday, December 03, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

New Cook County Board members sworn in Monday
Monday, December 03, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County referendums: 'Yes' to everything
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Chicago City Wire

Glenview to discuss Cook County minimum wage, paid sick leave ordinances in December
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wilmette reverses course, fully adopts both county minimum wage and sick time rules
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What Pritzker's minimum wage increase plan could mean for the suburbs
Monday, November 26, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County sheriff’s vehicle struck during ISP pursuit on I-294
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County 'Tails' program offers redemption for inmates, dogs
Thursday, November 22, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County correctional officer owns bar where security guard Jemel Roberson shot by cop, officials say
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

More than 2 months after sisters were killed in crash with Cook County sheriff's officer, family still waits for answers
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

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

all news items

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