Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

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.

   
  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.
   
     
     
     



Cook County hospital makes big bet big on Medicaid expansion

Monday, August 27, 2012
Crain's Chicago Business
by Kristen Schorsch

For Dr. Ramanathan Raju, the only thing worse than patients without insurance is not having enough of them.

The CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System is counting on a massive expansion of Medicaid to boost annual revenue 11 percent, to $712 million, for the fiscal year that begins Dec. 1. With the added revenue, officials hope to cover a projected $152 million shortfall while holding steady taxpayers' annual subsidy to the financially strapped public health care network.

Since becoming chief executive nearly 11 months ago, Dr. Raju has tried to put in the past decades of politics, patronage and systemic inefficiency at the hospital system.

Now he has another problem: Patients are going elsewhere for care.

The Medicaid expansion under the federal health care overhaul would require the county to care for patients for a fixed fee—$300 per recipient per month—a big change for a system that is accustomed to billing for services. And it will require the hospital to quickly hire as many as 200 employees to accommodate up to 115,000 new patients, according to the county hospital's proposed 2013 budget, unveiled last week.

But Dr. Raju's proposal not only relies on signing up thousands of new patients; it requires reversing a decline in Medicaid revenue this year, as beneficiaries of the low-income health care program turn to other hospitals.

“The only thing to screw up on this one is actually not enrolling patients,” says George Hovanec, a Medicaid director under former governors Jim Edgar and George Ryan.

The federal health care law calls for expanding Medicaid in 2014 to include adults with annual incomes that are up to one-third higher than the poverty level, which is $14,404 for an individual. County and state officials have asked the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to start treating those patients as soon as October. Most experts expect the federal agency will approve the application, which was filed in January.

But officials are seeing fewer than expected Medicaid patients at the county hospital system. Revenue from the program has plunged 40 percent, to $84 million, during the eight months ended July 31, down from nearly $140 million budgeted for that period at the start of the fiscal year.

“We still have a long way to go to improve patient care service to make it a very attractive place to go,” says Warren Batts, former county hospital board chairman.

While Dr. Raju says the enrollment target is aggressive, getting a head start on the Medicaid expansion is key to the system's success. “Nothing is sure until you get the money,” Dr. Raju says, “but this is a very good proposal.”

The proposed 2013 budget calls for other savings, including reducing spending by $25 million by using a new purchasing system.

Last year, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle pushed to reduce the taxpayers' subsidy to the county hospital.

The subsidy could fall 28 percent, to about $307 million in the current fiscal year, from nearly $424 million in fiscal 2011, according to a July 5 analysis by the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based fiscal watchdog group.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Preckwinkle says the administration has “put everything in place to succeed.” Even without a revenue boost from Medicaid, the county hospital could still avoid layoffs, she says.

Cutting jobs would not be as bad as turning to voters, says longtime Chicago political consultant Don Rose. “It would hurt her politically, but not as much as raising taxes,” he says.



Recent Headlines

Subject: North Shore Mosquito Abatement District - Open House - October 11, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Morning Spin: Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper give campaign cash in soda tax fight
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County’s ‘health’ lie, in black and white
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Medical District to get largest ambulance garage in Cook County
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Family Health Network Members Join CountyCare
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Special to suffredin.org

Cook County Health to buy piece of struggling insurer's Medicaid biz
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

Chief judge names acting public guardian for Cook County
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County sweetened beverage sales continue to decline
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

New bond court rules take effect, but not much of an effect
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Bond court gets underway in Cook County with different judges, new guidelines
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Harwood Heights adds retail theft as ordinance violation
Monday, September 18, 2017

Cook County’s Homeland Security interim chief resigns
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County's social worker for the dead helps the unclaimed find final resting places
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

After legal challenges, Cook County's court for unwed parents quietly goes away
Monday, September 18, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Welcome to Cook County, Mayor Bloomberg. You're getting played on the soda tax.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Evans reshuffles bond court; meet the ‘Pretrial Division’
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Editorial: The Cook County Board's legacy: Killing Cook County jobs
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

If the soda tax were out of sight, would it be out of mind?
Friday, September 15, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board delays showdown over soda tax until October 10, and other Chicago news
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Chicago Reader

City reports record number of Chicagoans with health insurance
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

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