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Cook County health system names new CEO

Friday, June 27, 2014
Crain's Chicago Business
by Andrew Wang

Dr. John Jay Shannon has been named CEO of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, one of the largest public health systems in the nation.

Dr. Shannon, 54, has been the system's interim head since the departure at the end of March of Dr. Ramanathan Raju. He also served as the system's chief of clinical integration and No. 2 executive under Dr. Raju.

The system's independent board conducted a national search for a new CEO that began after Dr. Raju in January accepted the top spot at New York City Health & Hospitals Corp. The 11-member panel voted to appoint Dr. Shannon at a meeting this morning.

Between various stints, Dr. Shannon, a native of west suburban La Grange, has been with the county system for about 15 years. He came back to Cook County in 2013 after serving as the chief medical officer of the Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas.

As interim CEO, Dr. Shannon already is well familiar with Dr. Raju's signature initiative. CountyCare is a new managed-care Medicaid program that expanded insurance coverage. On July 1, CountyCare ends its trial run and becomes an official Medicaid entity under the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

The system also is getting into the health insurance business, organizing to sell plans in the fall on the state's insurance exchange, created under Obamacare.

Earlier this year, Cook County Health Board Chairman David Carvalho said the new CEO will continue what Dr. Raju started.

The county health network includes John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital on the Near West Side, Provident Hospital on the South Side and a network of clinics. The system, which had $1 billion in 2013 total revenue, treats a large portion of uninsured and low-income patients.

Dr. Shannon is the son of a nurse and a plastic film salesman and the eighth of 12 children. After studying biology at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, he earned a medical degree at Rush Medical College on Chicago's Near West Side. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas and a pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship at the University of Michigan.

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