Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Eighteen of the 20 largest banks in the world and more than 50 foreign banks have offices in Cook County.
   
     
     
     



County ups pressure to close Oak Forest

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
SouthtownStar
by Phil Kadner

Cook County is threatening to sue the state if it refuses to grant the application to close Oak Forest Hospital.

While state law gives the county the authority to operate a hospital, according to county board President Toni Preckwinkle, “it does not impose a legal obligation on Cook County” to do so.

In a letter to the chairman of the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, Preckwinkle states, “One concern with a denial of the Oak Forest application is that it may ultimately be deemed an attempt on the part of a State agency to require Cook County to maintain certain inpatient services which are not within its budget and, thus, would be tantamount to an unfunded state mandate.”

Oak Forest is one of three hospitals operated by the county’s Health and Hospitals Systems Board.

Due to an overall budget deficit and concerns about inefficiencies and spending on the hospitals, Cook County created an independent board to oversee its hospital system. After nearly two years of study and public hearings, that board devised a strategic plan that includes closing Oak Forest Hospital by June 1.

The hospital would eventually be replaced by an outpatient clinic on the current hospital grounds, near 159th Street and Cicero Avenue, around 2015. In the meantime, the hospital’s emergency room would operate as an intermediate care center.

But the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board must grant permission for a hospital to close. In March, the state board announced its intention to deny the county’s request to close Oak Forest Hospital.

Cook County has six months to persuade the state board to reverse its decision.

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Health told me that no one at the state agency could recall a time when it followed through with its “intent to deny” a permit to close a hospital.

All the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is really looking for is some assurance from Cook County that Southland residents who now use Oak Forest would be able to find health care somewhere else.

State health officials also indicated a lack of trust in the county’s plan to open an outpatient clinic and wanted the county to address the needs of Southland patients in a more expedited fashion.

William McNary, co-director of Citizens Action of Illinois, accused county officials of attempting to “muscle” the state board into reversing its decision.

“All the state wants, all we want, is to see a plan from Cook County to address the needs of indigent patients in the south suburbs,” McNary said. “We keep asking for that plan, and all we get is a lot of talk about a lack of money.

“Cook County Health and Hospitals Systems’ top priority is ensuring the availability of high-quality health care services for all medically indigent residents. That’s what we should be talking about.”

In her letter to Dale Galassie, chairman of the health facilities board, Preckwinkle says that Cook County’s 2011 budget “provides funding for the staffing, equipment and construction needs of a Regional Health Center on the Oak Forest Campus to facilitate the transformation ...”

“As Cook County Board president,” Preckwinkle stated, “I am in a unique position to provide assurance that the Regional Health Center on the Oak Forest campus will be funded as provided in the County’s (fiscal year) 2011 budget.”

William Foley, chief executive of the county health care system, announced his intention to resign from office shortly after the state denied the county’s request to close Oak Forest Hospital. But Foley is expected to appear before the state board at its May meeting as part of the county’s effort to get the board to change its mind.

In addition, Cook County has hired a Chicago law firm with connections to state health officials to make the argument for closing Oak Forest.

The county apparently has no contingency plan in place to keep the hospital operating. It has cut inpatient services over the last two years, and the long-term care unit now has only five patients.

While the state may have the authority to open or close hospitals, its ability to force a hospital operator to continue funding a hospital is questionable.

In fact, the state board has done nothing as the county has continued to cut the medical staff and reduce patient care at Oak Forest Hospital over the past few years.

Will Davis (D-Homewood), chairman of an Illinois House committee on health care disparities, has scheduled a hearing on the proposed hospital closing at 1 p.m. May 2 at Oak Forest City Hall.



Recent Headlines

New CDC review finds Cook County sheriff, staff successfully stemmed rising tide of COVID-19 cases at jail
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Pritzker tightens COVID reopening rules
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Sheriff and health officials discuss study of coronavirus outbreak at Cook County Jail
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
WGN Channel 9 News

Preckwinkle, Cook County Officials Sound the Alarm on Rising Opioid Overdose Deaths
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
WTTW News

Virtual Marriage License Issuance via Online Video Call
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

Opioid-Related Deaths On Pace To Double In Cook County
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
WTTW News

Cook County traffic court cases are on Zoom
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

A third scourge quietly stalks Cook County — officials see doubling of ‘needless, preventable’ opioid deaths
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Here's something business can learn from government
Friday, July 10, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Kim Foxx's Office Creates Online Process to Report Police Misconduct Allegations
Thursday, July 09, 2020
WTTW News

Column: Fitness fans flock to reopened Swallow Cliff Stairs, saying ‘It’s good to be back’
Thursday, July 09, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County suburbs score $51M in CARES Act funds to cover pandemic expenses
Thursday, July 09, 2020
The Daily Line

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: 1,018 new known COVID-19 cases reported; CPS student athletes can start summer workouts next week but with precautions
Thursday, July 09, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Berwyn to get biggest share of $51 million in federal funds Cook County is doling out to cover suburban COVID-19 expenses
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County to start dividing up ‘much-needed’ $51 million in federal CARES Act funding to suburbs hardest hit by coronavirus pandemic
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Online Taste of Chicago starts today with food trucks, list of restaurants to order from
Wednesday, July 08, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Most Second Installment Residential and Commercial Property Tax Bills Higher
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Evanston RoundTable

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Tuesday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Another tool to help address flooding and promote economic development in Cook County
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
The Daily Line

Cook County Commissioners urge passage of Justice for Black Lives resolution to shift resources from incarceration to human needs
Tuesday, July 07, 2020
Special to suffredin.org

all news items

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