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.
   
     
     
     



A word to Preckwinkle's choices
You need to keep reforming this billion-dollar health system

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by EDITORIAL

In 2008, when we first met Warren Batts, he had just signed on to lead a new panel that oversees Cook County's health and hospitals system. Batts, a Navy veteran and retired business exec, didn't sugarcoat the challenge ahead.

"The Navy would sink if it operated the way Cook County does," he said. "No ship would leave the dock."

We said then that he was the right man to reform county health care. And the last four years have proven that. Batts and his fellow panel members have made significant progress in streamlining and improving the county's health care system.

They shuttered the white elephant known as Oak Forest Hospital. They scaled back Provident Hospital and beefed up the county's network of clinics. They hired a tough, talented CEO, Dr. Ram Raju. He has whittled down a mountain of backlogged billing statements that weren't being mailed to patients and their insurers, and he has helped the county snag more federal funding. Much more needs to be done, though. The health system still isn't achieving the patient revenues it projects. It still isn't collecting all of the available reimbursements. Most of all, it still needs strong health panel oversight to boost quality of patient care while putting its budget in balance: Procurement, computer network and billing problems remain.

That task now falls to four new panel members confirmed Tuesday by the Cook County Board: Carmen Velasquez, executive director of Alivio Medical Center and a Latino activist; the Rev. Calvin Morris, executive director of the Community Renewal Society, a 130-year-old social and economic justice organization; Dorene Wiese, president of the American Indian Association of Illinois, and Edward Michael, former executive vice president of diagnostics at Abbott Laboratories.

Welcome, new members. Just a note about this 11-member panel you've joined: It's not a platform for advocacy. It's a roll-up-your-sleeves panel that needs to better serve often needy patients while eliminating costly inefficiencies.

You probably know the county's health system is still hemorrhaging cash, still bloated and still soaking up too much taxpayer money. It needs to get leaner and more financially sophisticated so it can deliver better quality care for the patients who depend on it.

In 2008, Batts & Co. summed up these priorities when he talked about leading a "cultural change" at county health. Dr. Raju is on the case. We hope you'll protect him from political constituencies that would like to go back to the bad old days, when the County Board could — and did — pour vast amounts of tax revenue into a patronage-riddled and sloppily run health system.

You four newcomers will soon be joined by a fifth. Benn Greenspan, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, resigned Friday in "dismay," evidently over Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's decision to replace several health panel veterans. In his resignation letter, Greenspan noted his "mutual concern" with Batts over "keeping politics out of the process" of county health care.

That is vital. For years, politicians abused this health system. That cannot happen again. More to the point: You as health panel members cannot let that happen again.

You come from varied backgrounds and probably consider yourselves representatives of different constituent groups. You'll need to put those parochial allegiances aside now. If your reflex is to tell the County Board that what the health system needs is an influx of new county dollars that don't exist, you'll instantly squander the credibility that the health panel established under Batts' leadership. Your main constituents now are the Cook County taxpayers who support the health system's nearly billion-dollar budget, and the thousands of patients who rely on the system. Remember:

• A health system bleeding cash can't serve the people who need it most.

• A health system running perpetual deficits can't provide modern medical, surgical and screening services.

• A health system that clings to revenue fantasies and relies on heavy taxpayer subsidies is destined for the fiscal ICU. Don't let that happen on your watch.

Your challenge, newcomers, is to run the system more efficiently. That way, Cook County will be able to provide better care to every patient.



Recent Headlines

Prisoner escapes from Chicago police custody en route to Cook County Jail
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County clerk’s office needs federal oversight
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

City Club of Chicago: Toni Preckwinkle – Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County
Monday, September 16, 2019
WGN Radio

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

Cook County Finance Committee to approve $3 million settlement in medical malpractice case
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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