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.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



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

Can courts do more to force FOID card violators to give up their guns?
Monday, February 17, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Keep the Cook County Health board independent
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Park Ridge looks to move 911 dispatching services to Cook County call center
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: A report’s flaws suggest: Cook County bail reforms may have endangered the public
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Offering rehab instead of jail time, ‘Drug Court’ gives some a second chance
Thursday, February 13, 2020
WGN News

Preckwinkle aide barred from her offices after sexual harassment incident
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

New outreach group combating Cook County’s opioid crisis by offering treatment, hope
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
WGN News

Evanston Officials Eye County Grant for Construction of New Animal Shelter
Monday, February 10, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

CTA to spend $38 million studying Red Line extension
Monday, February 10, 2020
Chicago Tribune

In Illinois — the Prairie State — little prairie land remains. But work is being done to save what’s left in Cook County and restore more.
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Brookfield Zoo chief heads for the exits
Thursday, February 06, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Suspect in weekend killing of Cook County inmate accused of beating another detainee in November attack captured on video
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Tribune

MacArthur grants Cook County another $2.5 million for criminal justice reform
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Property tax hikes won’t be that bad, new report says
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

MacArthur Foundation donates $2.5 million to Cook County Criminal Courts
Wednesday, February 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Improvements planned for Green Bay Road in Evanston as part of long-term project
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judicial candidate Arthur Sutton has history of disciplinary issues
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Injustice Watch

Area legislators dish on policy plans that impact seniors
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pappas and other Cook County, Chicago and federal elected officials urge residents to return the 2020 Census questionnaire
Monday, February 03, 2020
Daily Herald

Plans for new Provident Hospital paused
Monday, February 03, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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