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:  
   
 
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.
   
     
     
     



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 forest worker was going 76 mph in 30 mph zone, had THC in system during fatal crash while on job: prosecutors
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Judge faces ‘tough day’ in court answering charges he brought loaded gun to work
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle, Evans end budget battle
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

How Transparent and Accountable Are Chicago, Cook County Governments?
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

2 Cook County courthouses to close, employees spared layoffs under budget settlement: officials
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Troubled detainee at center of unusual court fight between Loyola hospital, Cook County
Monday, July 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners Confounded by Hiring of Health System Consultant
Monday, July 16, 2018
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Doctor fired by Cook County medical examiner now under the microscope in Indiana
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Forest Preserves officials discuss officer's resignation
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Amid video fallout, Cook County Forest Preserve District reveals fatal crash involving worker and governmental truck
Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Transformation in the outdoors
Friday, July 13, 2018
Special to suffredin.org

Forest preserve cop resigns after apparently failing to help woman being harassed over Puerto Rico shirt
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

5 things: A civics lesson on Puerto Rico after man rants about woman's flag T-shirt, questions citizenship
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Commissioners: Get Rid of Forest Preserve Police
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Schneider wants hearing over fatal crash blamed on Cook forest preserve driver
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Daily Herald

Man who harassed woman for Puerto Rican flag shirt charged with hate crime
Thursday, July 12, 2018
WLS ABC 7 Chicago

all news items

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