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County hospitals may end OB-GYN residency program

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Chi-Town Daily News
by Alex Parker

Doctors looking to spend their OB-GYN residencies at Stroger Hospital and other county facilities may have to look elsewhere under a proposed agreement that would end the county health system’s program.

But they won’t have to look far.

Maurice Lemon, interim chief medical officer for the health system, told Cook County Health and Hospital System board members this morning that an agreement Hospital to integrate OB-GYN residencies at system hospitals and Northwestern Memorial Hospital would allow doctors to get experience at both Northwestern and county hospitals.

Under the agreement, the county health system’s OB-GYN residency program would fold, and Northwestern would administer the program. Residents would train under the supervision of county doctors, as well as Northwestern’s.

Lemon said the program would benefit the county because of lingering issues related to the health system’s accreditation, which has had trouble in the past.

“Old issues are still there,” he said. “The accreditation issues would only increase over time by running our own program.”

Issues arose in 2007 when the county’s accrediting body complained doctors at Stroger Hospital were not providing  enough C-sections or vaginal deliveries. About 900 babies were delivered last year at Stroger.

The health system has a similar program for surgery with Rush University Medical Center, and board members hope the OB-GYN residency would mirror its success, while saving the county money.

“I think this represents a major step forward with the quality of care we can offer our patients here,” Lemon said.

In other business, board members also approved a measure that would allow CEO William Foley to negotiate and execute all non-procurement contracts.

Foley joked that the measure would allow him to do whatever he wanted. In reality, it would allow the health system CEO to approve contracts, such as collaborations with other hospitals, and then report the agreements to the appropriate committees afterward.

Foley announced the hiring of a chief compliance officer. Cathy Bodnar was previously chief compliance officer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also said the health system has hired a chief information officer. Foley was not able to name the candidate because he had yet to inform his current employer.

The health system is also close to hiring a permanent chief medical officer, he said.

The next health system town hall meeting is tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Rd, in Des Plaines. Board members are soliciting public input to help shape the system’s long-term strategic plan.

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