The Cook County Health and Hospital System
Board of Directors today named Dr. Terry Mason as the interim chief
executive of the county's independent public health system.
The appointment of Mason, the current chief medical officer of the
county hospital system, took place at an emergency meeting after CEO
William T. Foley resigned Thursday
. Foley, 60, accepted a job overseeing Chicago region hospitals for the Vanguard Health Systems.
extremely honored that the board would see that I have what they think
is needed to take the rudder of this ship forward," Mason said of the
appointment. "It's not something I thought I would be doing at this
point in my career."
Mason, 59, has overseen the medical care of
patients in county hospitals since 2009. Before that, he was
commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Mason's tenure at the city was criticized by the state for billing
problems and by Chicago's inspector general for poor record keeping.
Mental-health advocates and patients staged a sit-in at City Hall
after four South Side clinics were closed. Mason reopened the clinics
with federal economic-stimulus funds. The state also cut funding in half
to $4.2 million, citing unresolved billing woes under Mason.
February 2009, Mason was hit by a city inspector general's audit that
said nearly $1 million in drugs and medical supplies were spoiled or
unaccounted for in a Health Department warehouse. The audit also stated
record keeping was so poor that it was impossible to tell if some of the
medicine was stolen.
Mason said at the time that he didn't think
anything was stolen. "Every dose of vaccine, we know where it went, so
none of that was wasted," he said.
Mason is a board-certified urologist and has practiced for 25 years.
He hosts a radio talk show, Doctor in the House, which airs on WVON-AM
1690 each week.
The appointment as interim CEO is effective May 6, the day Foley
officially steps down. County officials say they'll conduct a nationwide
search for a permanent replacement.