Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

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.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



County hires law firm to explain health plan

Monday, April 11, 2011
SouthtownStar
by Phil Kadner

Cash-strapped Cook County has hired a private law firm to convince the state it must close Oak Forest Hospital.

Last month, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board stunned county health officials by announcing its intention to keep the county-run hospital open.

Cook County Health and Hospital Systems had no contingency plan in place to keep Oak Forest running beyond June 1.

Facing a devastating setback to its long-term strategic plan, Cook County’s independent health and hospitals board hired the law firm of Holland and Knight at “up to $60,000” to represent it before the state planning agency.

Listed as one of the firm’s partners on the Holland and Knight website is Anne M. Murphy, former chief counsel for the Illinois Department of Health and former general counsel to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board was known as the Health Facilities Planning Board before pay-to-play scandals during the Rod Blagojevich administration resulted in the agency changing its name and its rules.

It is now illegal to lobby members of the state health board, who must approve plans to open or close hospitals in Illinois.

I telephoned Murphy and she confirmed she would be acting as a consultant to Cook County and likely represent it before the state panel.

The state health planning agency does not have its own full-time staff but uses members of the Illinois Department of Health staff, where Murphy also served as legal counsel.

It was the staff of the Illinois Department of Health that initially recommended that the state agency turn down the county’s plan to close Oak Forest, contending that nearby hospitals did not have the capacity to take on the resulting patient load.

Department of Health staffers also called into question the county’s schedule for creating a new intermediate care facility to serve the south suburbs.

William Foley, the CEO for the county’s health systems board, has since announced his intention to step down, claiming that his decision had nothing to do with the state’s rejection of his health plan.

The Cook County Health and Hospitals board operates Stroger, Provident and Oak Forest Hospitals.

It has been cutting services at Oak Forest Hospital for years and has relocated all but five of its long-term patients.

Due to its multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, the county claims it can no longer fund all three hospitals and has recommended closing Oak Forest Hospital and replacing it with a regional treatment center offering outpatient care in a number of medical specialties.

Oak Forest would no longer offer inpatient care.

After the state panel told Cook County last month it intended to deny its request to shutter Oak Forest, I was curious as to what authority the state had to make sure the hospital continued to offer quality services if it remained open.

How could it stop Cook County from cutting some more, or simply eliminating all funding to the hospital?

A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Health sent me a copy of a state statute that reads:

“Any person establishing, constructing, or modifying a health care facility or portion thereof without obtaining a required permit, or in violation of the terms of the required permit, shall not be eligible to apply for any necessary operating licenses or be eligible for payment by any State agency for services rendered in that facility or portion thereof until the required permit is obtained.”

Another section of the rules allows for fines of $10,000 for each 30-day period of a violation of the statute.

Of course, Cook County has already essentially gutted Oak Forest without the state imposing any of those penalties.

What I found more interesting was a statement from the spokeswoman for the Health Facilities and Services Review Board about the likelihood that it would eventually refuse to close Oak Forest.

“The board historically has not pushed for a complete denial of an application to discontinue services,” stated Melaney Arnold.

“In the past, the board has issued a permit, but only with conditions that specifically address medical needs of the community.”

As I read that, Cook County merely has to offer a plan to address the concerns already brought up by the state and it will get its permit to close the hospital.

Cook County health officials, however, have said they must first close Oak Forest in order to come up with the money to offer health care programs to the south suburbs.

I don’t know what this private law firm is going to do to help the county, which already has lawyers on its payroll.

It seems strange that they can explain better than county health officials how the county health plan is going to actually help people.



Recent Headlines

Northbrook will revisit Cook County minimum wage ordinance in May
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Suffredin: County to seek 'safeguards' for golf course road
Friday, November 16, 2018
Evanston NOW

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018
Patch

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
ABC 7

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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