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 is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



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

Higher Assessments Hit North Suburban Commercial Property Owners
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Evanston Patch

How did an inmate get a loaded gun into Cook County Jail?
Thursday, July 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Check exemptions, file an appeal: What you can do to fight your Cook County property tax bill
Thursday, July 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

’A lack of mental health services has plagued Chicago for decades’: Holy Cross Hospital expanding to fill that void on the Southwest Side
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

How To Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

County Commission Hopes to Increase 2020 Census Participation
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
WTTW News

Cook County Property Tax Bills: Where Does Your Money Go?
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
CBS Chicago

Seniors Receive Inflated Property Tax Bills By Mistake
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
WBBM Radio

Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts’ property tax appeal under investigation after Tribune finds assessment problem
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
Chicago Tribune

North suburban landlords slapped with big assessment hikes
Monday, July 08, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Miscalculation leads to increased tax bills in Wheeling Township
Friday, July 05, 2019
Daily Herald

Judge rules state legislators violated Illinois Constitution by voting to freeze their pay
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Search: Chicago Property Tax Increases and Decreases by Ward
Wednesday, July 03, 2019
WTTW News

Millions in Cook County property tax refunds going to homeowners whose bills show no balance due
Monday, July 01, 2019
ABC 7 Chicago

Why 7,600 property owners in suburban Cook County are getting tax refunds
Monday, July 01, 2019
Daily Herald

$25 million in property tax refunds going to 25,000 owners
Monday, July 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Illinois hiring hundreds to reduce Medicaid backlogs
Monday, July 01, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

County health officials say IG report was ‘simply wrong’ even as commissioners plan hearings on system’s finances
Thursday, June 27, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sheriff’s office warns of phone scam
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Homeowners Across Chicago Brace for Higher Property Taxes
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
WTTW News

all news items

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