Suffredin- Changing County Government  

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:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  Cook County has the largest unified trial court system in the world, disposing over 6 million cases in 1990 alone.

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

Top prosecutor Kim Foxx apologizes as 18 convictions linked to corrupt cop vacated
Monday, September 24, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preteens out of detention before trial under new ordinance
Friday, September 14, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Board bars detention of youth under 13 years old
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Injustice Watch

Preteens accused of crimes won't be locked up at Cook County juvenile center
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Slowik: Cook County offers residents last chance to comment on strategic plan
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Settlement over Cook County's 2007 decision to cut inmates' dental care will cost nearly $5.3 million
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Anti-patronage Shakman pact requiring federal oversight of Cook County hiring, firing to end
Friday, August 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune

1st District upholds merit board in firing of deputy
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Neighborhood program helps Cook County residents buy homes
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Judge upholds Cook County firearm, ammunition taxes
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: E-filing should make Cook County courts more accessible. It doesn't
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County tax incentive could pave way for Wingstop, Dunkin' Donuts on Elgin's Summit Street
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: What happened to the elk?
Friday, August 10, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Wells Fargo to offer $15,000 grants to potential Cook County homebuyers
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suit alleges Cook County detainees secretly monitored in bathrooms in holding cells at courthouses
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Half the elk at Busse Woods died last year, and officials aren’t sure why
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

A letter from Dr. Jay Shannon regarding gun violence and Stroger Hospital
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Special to

As Evanston adapts to minimum wage hike, nearby towns say they have no plan to join in
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Lawsuit could blast a $250 million hole in county budget
Monday, August 06, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

Pappas: Automatic refunds of $19.5 million going to 53,000 homeowners because of property tax cuts
Monday, August 06, 2018
Special to

all news items

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