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 Forest Preserve District maintains over 70 miles of bicycle trails.
   
     
     
     



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

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

City Club of Chicago: Cook County Housing Authority Executive Director Richard Monocchio
Thursday, February 28, 2019
WGN Chicago

Illinois hospitals seek reform of Medicaid managed care system
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Effingham Daily News

Cook County Juvenile Court Clinic’s Annual Report
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Glenview open house a 'one stop service' for new, existing residents to learn about town offerings
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Glenview Announcements

all news items

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