Staff Reductions Fall Short of Mark
Friday, July 30, 2010
Chicago News Cooperative
by Katie Fretland
Despite facing a $42 million shortfall in patient revenue, the Cook
County Health and Hospitals System has laid off only 100 workers out of
the 1,350 positions that administrators promised to eliminate this
A six-month status report shows 665 vacant positions and 335
filled positions that have been eliminated. But of the filled positions,
only about 100 workers were actually laid off.
“I don’t understand how you’re going to make this up by the end of
the fiscal year,” said Tony Peraica, a member of the Cook County Board.
Michael Ayres, the health system’s chief financial officer, and
William T. Foley, the chief executive, blamed labor agreements for the
shortfall and promised additional staff reductions in August.
Mr. Ayres said that senior staff members had “bumping rights” —
they can fill the positions of junior employees — and that “they moved
into vacant positions that the hospital felt were necessary to
The health system oversees three hospitals as well as the county’s
Health Department, a network of clinics, medical services for jail
inmates and a center for H.I.V. and AIDS patients. It has 6,000 employee