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 Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trade 60% of the world futures contracts.
   
     
     
     



Running Raju: New Cook County hospital CEO races ahead

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Crain's Chicago Business
by Kristen Schorsch

(Crain's) — A decade ago on an August night, Ramanathan Raju was in charge of the emergency room at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn when paramedics rushed in a pregnant mother, her son and her sister who had been struck by a car driven by an off-duty New York City police officer while they were crossing the street.

Dr. Raju, who on Monday starts as CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, says the case still bothers him.

“This is the one trauma case in which I lost everyone,” he told Crain's in an interview this week.

The trauma surgeon, 60, isn't accustomed to losing, whether it is in the ER or the boardroom.

As chief operating officer of the New York City Health and Hospital Corp. since 2006, he played a key role in erasing half of a $1.2-billion deficit for that city's public health system, which has an annual budget of $6.7 billion.

At the Cook County health system, he must immediately fix a budget gap of at least $35 million for the next fiscal year, which starts Dec. 1. Tackling the system's crippled finances is just one of the challenges that lie ahead. He must also lift the morale of employees after years of layoffs, cajole unions into cost-cutting changes, boost the system's reputation for medical care, and establish close working relationship with other hospitals.

All the while, he must grapple with cuts in Medicaid and Medicare, key sources of revenue for the county health system, which treats a largely uninsured population.

“You aren't going to be able to please everyone,” says Jose R. Sanchez, CEO of Norwegian American Hospital in Humboldt Park, who worked with Dr. Raju in New York.

“But I think the key to all of that is in the fabric of his personality,” Mr. Sanchez says. “He is very respectful. He's a good listener. And he doesn't really mind to explain over and over what he wants to do, and then at the end, he has the ability to execute what he wants to do.”

On his first day with Cook County, Dr. Raju will join a brewing budget battle when the independent board that oversees the county health system formally presents its 2012 fiscal year budget to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, which controls the health system's purse strings.

The hospital board proposes cutting the budget by 9%, to $827 million, compared to the current year.

On Wednesday, health system officials reduced their requested tax subsidy to $283 million, from about $328 million previously. But the request still is 14% more than County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is willing to give.

Dr. Raju grew up in Madras, now called Chennai, a teeming city of 4.6 million people in Southern India. His father spent time behind bars for protesting as part of the national movement to escape British rule, which resulted in India's independence in 1947.

“You don't just live for yourself and your family alone,” Dr. Raju says he learned from his father. “You've got to also live for the community around you.”

Dr. Raju dreamed of becoming an architect, but his father wanted one of his sons to practice medicine, and Dr. Raju's brother couldn't stomach cadavers and dissection. So Dr. Raju headed to medical school, graduating from Madras Medical College in 1976. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1982 and later earned an MBA from the University of Tennessee.

In New York, where he plans to work until Friday, Dr. Raju supervises the CEOs of 21 facilities and is responsible for a budget of more than $3 billion. While cutting costs, Dr. Raju also kept his eyes on improving patient care. He slashed waiting times for doctor visits and shortened pharmacy lines to just 60 minutes from nearly 4 hours.

At Cook County, he is walking through a revolving door. At least six people have held the position of CEO since 2004. Dr. Raju succeeds William Foley, who resigned unexpectedly in March to head Chicago operations for Vanguard Health Systems.

“One of the reasons he was chosen was that this would be the last stop of his career,” says Warren Batts, chairman of the independent county hospital board.

Dr. Raju is married to Dr. Samanthi Raju, a urologist who must still wrap up her practice in New York. The couple has two grown children.

To prepare, Dr. Raju has been poring over documents and traveling to Chicago to dine with local hospital executives and public health officials. Last weekend, the avid cyclist moved into an apartment in the South Loop.

As he ticks off the goals he would like to achieve, he pauses to say, “That's what keeps my adrenaline going, my juices flowing.”



Recent Headlines

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

NEW ILLINOIS LAW ENDS $120 FEE TO CLEAR FALSE CRIMINAL RECORDS IN COOK COUNTY
Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
WTTW News

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Report: Incarceration Rates Drop Nearly 20% Under Kim Foxx
Monday, July 29, 2019
WTTW Chicago

Lightfoot blames bond court reform for gun violence
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Chicago Reporter

Cook County Health Hires Audit Firm To Review Scathing Inspector General Report
Thursday, July 25, 2019
WBEZ News

Former County Commissioner Shocked Animal Abuser Registry He Worked To Create Was Never Used
Thursday, July 25, 2019
CBS Chicago

No one on County Board sharing Arroyo’s view of inspector general
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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