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County Board Weighs Health System Overhaul

Monday, July 12, 2010
Chicago Public Radio
by Gabriel Spitzer

Cook County Commissioners are expected to take up a major overhaul of the county’s health system this week. It could mean big changes for the county’s three public hospitals.

The plan would downsize Provident and Oak Forest hospitals, reinventing them as mostly outpatient centers. The county would then expand and build regional healthcare hubs, and beef up Stroger Hospital. The idea is to consolidate costly in-patient services, while spreading around outpatient and specialty care more fairly. Health system CEO Bill Foley says the plan also confronts the reality that funding is expected to decrease in coming years.

FOLEY: We’re reinvesting the dollars from two significantly underutilized hospitals toward the expansion of our clinics, so that we can see more patients.

Unions and President Todd Stroger have raised concerns about the moves, arguing the changes could limit access to care. The County Board is expected to refer the plan to a committee for a key vote.


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