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  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

Cook Co. hospital board makes moves
Oversight committee gets organized in first meeting

Thursday, June 19, 2008
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

The new independent board controlling the county's health care system kicked off its first meeting Wednesday by voting member Warren Batts the chairman and appointing a private company to find a temporary chief financial officer for the system. The board also created five committees to address the hospital system's most pressing needs: quality and compliance, finance and audit, management and human resources, and purchasing and strategic planning. The new board, named the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board of Directors, was created by the Cook County Board to move operations of the beleaguered health bureau system, whose flagship is John H. Stroger Hospital, out of the hands of the board and county President Todd Stroger. Although the oversight board is independent from the Cook County governance structure, it will continue to receive significant help from county planners until it gets on its feet. Wednesday's suggestion of finding a temporary CFO through a contractor, Med Assets, came from current system Chief Operating Officer David Small. Med Assets recently secured a major contract with the county to help it collect its bills more efficiently. Asked why a temporary CFO couldn't be hired by the board directly, Small said he had been interviewing candidates for the job and all of them, coincidentally, were familiar with and comfortable with Med Assets, he said. "It just made sense" to go through Med Assets, he said. The new independent board approved the motion unanimously. Members also met in a closed-door session to bat around names for a temporary CEO to run the system until the board can conduct a nationwide search for someone who will then be allowed to bring in his own officers. No final decision was reached. The board meets again at 7:30 a.m. July 11 at Stroger Hospital. An exact room has yet to be determined.

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