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

Expecting new competition, Cook County health officials focus on customer service

Friday, March 26, 2010
by Alex Parker

Lee Kidd is 56 years old and HIV positive. And he’s fed up with the kind of customer service he receives at the Cook County Health and Hospitals System.

Kidd addressed health system leaders today at Stroger Hospital, complaining about wasting three hours trying to get his wisdom teeth pulled, only to find out the procedure wasn’t offered at the time for which his operation was scheduled.

But patients like Kidd may be heartened to know that customer service is very much on the minds of the county health system’s leaders.

With the national health care bill ushering in an era of more competition, health board leaders today expressed concerns about “systemic” problems in how employees respond to patients.

“We have to have the patient in the forefront, and I think this bill will enforce that in very short order,” said health board chairman Warren Batts.

With legions of uninsured people gaining access to health insurance, health board leaders know that the oft-maligned county health care system will be competing with other hospitals for patients that traditionally have turned to the county – and nowhere else.

CEO William Foley and his colleagues see big changes – and opportunities – ahead, in the wake of the sweeping changes approved this week by Congress. In 2014, millions of people will gain access to insurance, and officials at the health system foresee the opportunity to double its revenue.

But that depends on if people want to use the county’s health care system.

“Patients have a choice,” Foley said. “We need to position ourselves so they choose us.”

Customer service, long waiting times and employee attitudes have long been gripes of county patients, and system leaders acknowledge that if that perception doesn’t change, trouble is in store.

“If we can’t improve the quality and accessibility of what we do, the fact that we get better paid, will not matter because the patient will not care that we get better paid,” said health board member Benn Greenspan.

But to improve the patient experience, employees at Provident Hospital – which patients recommend to others less than half the time – are undergoing customer service training. Employees are cheering the four-hour sessions, said interim Chief Operating Officer Tony Tedeschi.

“They feel like we’re really giving them the educational piece that they need,” he said.

In addition to employee training, the health system is gearing up for its strategic plan, a document long in the making that will outline huge transformations in health care delivery.

At the heart of it is a series of comprehensive inpatient centers throughout the county, which Foley says will increase access to care. To that end, the new health care reform measures are in line with the county’s expected changes, said John Abendschien, a consultant assisting in drawing up the plan.

“The thrust of health reform would suggest that the vision and strategic direction that the county has embraced is not only relevant, but I would say it gives us the great impetus in … moving forward.”

Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

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