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Cook County health, hospitals issues layoff notices
335 employees notified today, plus 700 openings to go unfilled

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
by Monifa Thomas

The Cook County Health and Hospitals System began issuing layoff notifications to 335 employees today and plans to cut an additional 700 vacant positions, as part of a previously announced plan to cut $60 million from its budget.

The job cuts are to take effect in January. They will primarily affect support staff such as food service and maintenance workers at the county’s hospitals and clinics.

Some patient-care providers are also being laid off in “areas where patient population doesn’t support the staffing levels,” such as the obstetrics and gynecology departments at Provident and Stroger hospitals, the health system said in a written statement.

 “When the Cook County Board of Commissioners established the independent health system, they required us to undergo a performance improvement assessment study,” health system chief executive officer William Foley said. “We have completed that study and found that there were some areas that needed adjustments in staffing.”

A portion of the staff reductions were included in the 2009 budget already approved by the Cook County Board. The rest are part of the health system’s 2010 budget.  

The health system is required to give union employees 60-day notice of layoffs, but employees are being notified earlier than that because of the upcoming holiday season, health system spokesman Lucio Guerrero said. 

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