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County Hospital System Restructures Leadership
Changes allow for more efficient delivery of care for patients

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cook County Health and Hospitals System Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ram Raju today announced a restructuring of its leadership that provides even more resources for patient care and creates a more efficient health system.

  The changes are part of a broader effort to advance the way the system approaches patient care – focusing medical efforts on primary and preventative care.  

“With the arrival of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare paradigm is changing across the country,” Dr. Raju said. “It is our responsibility to transform our patient care delivery model and move in the direction that will best serve the residents of Cook County and drive the mission of the system forward.”  

 Dr. Raju, who began as the system’s CEO in the fall of 2011, said the restructuring includes new departments, titles and responsibilities. He is also recruiting new leaders to join his team from various healthcare organizations across the country. This re-structuring streamlines many existing operations by combining resources and reducing some operational overlap. That will allow the system to identify opportunities for savings and operational efficiencies, leading to greater resources for patient care and wellness initiatives. Among the changes are:

  •  Creating a Department of Managed Care. This move comes in response to the system’s transition to a managed care model as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act and increased enrollment in the CountyCare program, made possible through CCHHS’ recent Medicaid waiver. ·         
  • Coordinating system-wide care under a Chief of Clinical Integration. It is critical that all segments of the CCHHS system, including hospitals, community clinics, laboratories and pharmacies operate in an integrated way, with the same quality and patient safety standards in a way that is easy for patients to access and understand. Within that department, Dr. Raju will appoint a: 
  •  Chief Operating Officer for Outpatient Services, to manage all ambulatory clinics including community clinics, specialty clinics and community health centers and work with physicians, nurses and providers to design a clinical model that works for patients, including more streamlined scheduling and referral processes.  
  • Chief Operating Officer for Inpatient Services to manage the quality of care delivered at Stroger Hospital, Provident Hospital and Cermak Health Services. §  Executive Director of Shared Services, coordinating laboratories, imaging facilities, pharmacies and diagnostic services to serve patients and medical staff.
  • Director of Quality, Patient Safety, Regulatory and Accreditation to put a high-level focus on improving outcomes, and recognizing and reducing adverse events. 
  •  Director of Research Affairs separate from the existing Director of Professional Education. The separation of these efforts will better allow our system to train and prepare the next generation of physicians, nurses and healthcare providers for the historically underserved populations of the county, and to intentionally encourage clinical investigation that addresses health concerns that are a priority for those communities.  

 The restructuring also includes: ·        

  •  Streamlining many existing, diverse functions under one Chief Business Officer, including supply chain management, hospitality services, support services and clinical engineering. ·        
  •  Appointment of a Director of Project Management and Operational Excellence who will oversee a team of project managers to help us prioritize and organize projects, while also conducting ongoing evaluations of operations and processes to reduce waste and improve efficiencies. ·        
  •  Establishment of a Chief Strategy Officer to provide guidance, rooted in analytical facts, that will allow us to better implement initiatives to carry out the long-range vision for our system. Among those reporting to the CSO will be a: 
  •   Director of Patient Experience, who will be responsible for direct interaction with those we serve, understanding their needs and working with both Patient Advocates and hospital leadership to ensure our system is excelling in providing the services needed most. 
  •   Executive Director of Communications, who will ensure we have strong internal communications, but that we also excel in communicating with our patients, partner organizations, community groups and the public in general. This will involve support from both Media and Public Relations, as well as Community Affairs.

   As part of the restructuring, Dr. Raju announced the appointments of John Jay Shannon, M.D., as Chief of Clinical Integration, and Anthony Rajkumar as Chief Business Officer. Both will report directly to Dr. Raju.

   Dr. Shannon’s career reflects deep commitment to public mission and safety net medical care.  He returns to Cook County after spending the last five years as Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, the largest public hospital in Texas. While at Parkland, Dr. Shannon helped develop the system’s strategic plans and led significant structural change to the medical staff leadership. Before leaving the system in August, he worked closely with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to institute processes to bring about system-wide changes necessary for compliance with safety and quality requirements. He previously spent 14 years within Cook County Hospital, serving as Associate Chairman of the Department of Medicine for Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine from 1999 until 2007.

   Rajkumar has served as Deputy Executive Director – Operations of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. There, he played a lead role in operations and policy management for a $6.7 billion healthcare system that serves 1.4 million patients. Rajkumar previously served as Deputy Executive Director – Operations for the Kings County Hospital Center, which is part of the NYCHHC.  

 Additional CCHHS appointments announced by Dr. Raju today include:

  • Terry Mason, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, as Director of the Cook County Department of Public Health
  • Claudia Fegan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, as Executive Medical Director
  • Gladys Lopez, Interim Chief of Human Resources, as Chief of Human Resources
  • Enrique Martinez, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the Ambulatory and Community Health Network, as Medical Director of Outpatient Services
  • Marisa Kollias, Interim Director of Public Affairs to Director of Media and Public Relations  

 “Our priority is to provide our patients with access to care that is safe and of the highest quality,” Dr. Raju said. “These changes will not only better facilitate a new model of delivering healthcare, but will allow our system to succeed for years to come.”

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