Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
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.

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



Kadner: State ruling on Oak Forest stuns county health officials

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
SouthtownStar
by Phil Kadner

In a stunning decision, a state review board on Monday told Cook County it cannot close Oak Forest Hospital.

I say the decision is stunning because it appears the Cook County Health and Hospital system — which operates Oak Forest, Stroger and Provident hospitals — had no contingency plan in place to keep the hospital open.

“In the coming days, the system will explore possible contingencies as a result of today’s vote,” Bill Foley, chief executive of the county health system, stated in a news release.

It is likely Cook County will appeal the board’s ruling, technically known as an “intent to deny,” at the board’s May 10 hearing. Cook County has six months to appeal the board’s decision.

As part of a five-year strategic plan, Cook County has proposed replacing Oak Forest Hospital with a regional health center offering various medical specialties and some outpatient surgeries. The proposal has been compared to intermediate care clinics operated by private hospitals in the Southland.

But prior to Monday’s board meeting, the staff of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board had recommended against closing Oak Forest, contending that the resulting patient demand could not be handled by nearby hospitals.

The state board must, by law, sign off on plans to open any new hospitals or close existing ones. Oak Forest Hospital had been scheduled to close June 1.

Lucio Guerrero, spokesman for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, said the agency’s budget had been cut by 20 percent and did not include funds to keep Oak Forest Hospital open.

“I can’t tell you yet how we are going to fund the hospital or how much,” Guerrero stated in an e-mail.

State health officials have questioned where poor people would go for health care until 2015, when Cook County planned to have its new regional health care clinic up and running, and seemed skeptical about whether the county would follow through once the hospital was closed.

“We can’t ramp up the outpatient side and have the hospital operating as is,” Guerrero stated.

The hospital “as is” is a gutted version of its former self because Cook County has been cutting its budget and programs for years.

The hospital campus sits on 340 acres and includes 41 buildings that offer more than 1 million square feet of space. Most of the buildings sit empty now.

There’s a pauper’s cemetery, where the poor were once buried in pine boxes on top of each other. There are unused greenhouses, which once grew flowers and plants to decorate the landscape.

There’s a Catholic chapel, a Protestant chapel and a Jewish synagogue, built in 1911 and 1912. The poor of Cook County once worked a farm on the property.

The county has plans to sell some of the property, which would be prime commercial real estate once the economy rebounds.

Tya Robinson-May, a Harvey resident and Cook County nurse who has been organizing protests against the hospital closing, responded to the health board’s vote by shouting, “It’s a miracle.”

She’s aware that Cook County plans to ask the state board to reconsider its decision, “but at least we’ve bought a little more time to rally public support and get thousands more people behind our effort to save the hospital,” she said.

I’m grateful the state board slowed down the process of closing Oak Forest Hospital and is now casting a critical eye on Cook County’s plans.

For more than a year, county health officials have presented their plan to close the hospital as if there was no viable alternative. While many public meetings and hearings were held on the plan, keeping the hospital open was never considered a realistic option.

And Cook County has made it clear that Stroger Hospital, serving the needs of Chicago’s poor, is its top priority.

I felt the people of the south suburbs were deserving of equal treatment.

Now, the state is forcing Cook County to justify its plans to close Oak Forest Hospital, and I think that’s a good thing.

The county must address the health care needs of the south suburbs in a timely fashion that demonstrates a sense of urgency.

“I will step up my efforts to keep that half-cent sales tax Cook County is planning to eliminate,” Robinson-May said.

I told her the county board wasn’t likely to reverse its position on the sales tax rollback.

“You didn’t think it was possible to save Oak Forest Hospital, either,” she said.

She’s right about that.



Recent Headlines

County maps reveal suburban spread of coronavirus infections. Some of the highest numbers are in the northern suburbs.
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Census Day continues despite COVID-19 concerns: ‘Stakes are too high’
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Auction of delinquent Cook County property taxes postponed indefinitely
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Chicago Defender

Daywatch: Virus crisis looms for Cook County’s incarcerated, the brave new world of pandemic shopping and what Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks of your memes
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Another nurse claims retaliation after voicing concerns about PPE access (LIVE UPDATES)
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says coronavirus likely to have ‘profound impact’ on county’s hospital system
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Chicago Tribune

$7.5M in payouts to go to former Cook County Jail detainees denied prescription drugs
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Postponement of most criminal, civil cases in Cook County Circuit Court extended through May
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County medical examiner confirms 8 more coronavirus deaths, bringing total to 48
Monday, March 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Niles Township COVID-19 UPDATES
Monday, March 30, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Rent coming due for many who’ve lost jobs or seen their hours cut
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Community health centers face shutdowns as the coronavirus drives patients, funding away
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Coronavirus prompts crackdown on crowds in Cook County forest preserves, and more closures possible if public doesn’t comply
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Illinois confirms more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases as testing capacity grows
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County medical examiner confirms 8 more coronavirus deaths, bringing total to 40
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Weekly updates from the Village of Glenview
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Design Evanston Project Review of the 1900 Sherman Avenue Project
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

Inside the city's dry run for a pandemic
Friday, March 27, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

As coronavirus spreads at Cook County Jail, hundreds are released
Friday, March 27, 2020
Injustice Watch

Letter from the CEO of Cook County Health System
Friday, March 27, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

all news items

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