Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

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.

   
  The Cook County Law Library is the second largest County law library in the nation.
   
     
     
     



New direct access health care program begins enrolling Cook County residents

Monday, April 17, 2017
Daily Northwestern
by Zoe Miller

Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Cook+County+commissioner+Bridget+Gainer+speaks+at+a+meeting+in+2012.+Gainer+supported+a+new+direct+health+care+program+geared+toward+uninsured+residents.

Heather Charles/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Cook County commissioner Bridget Gainer speaks at a meeting in 2012. Gainer supported a new direct health care program geared toward uninsured residents.

Zoe Miller, Reporter
April 17, 2017

The direct access health care program, which was unanimously approved as an ordinance by Cook County commissioners in September, began in March. A direct access program is a type of health care program that establishes a network of centers that enrollees can use without paying initial fees.

The program was first proposed to the county by Healthy Communities Cook County, a group of healthcare organizations that advocates for improved healthcare access for uninsured residents. Cook County commissioners Bridget Gainer, Jesus Garcia and Robert Steele supported the program.

The program was established to help uninsured, low-income residents of Cook County obtain more affordable care, said Micaela Vargas, Gainer’s chief of staff. Often, she said, uninsured, low-income residents live in the U.S. without documentation and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act — an Obama-era bill that aimed to expand American healthcare.

Paradoxically, when uninsured people avoid health care because of cost, they end up being forced to pay more in the form of hospital visits, which are more expensive than other types of care, Vargas said.

Even if patients have no insurance, the Cook County health and hospital system is required to take in all patients in its emergency rooms, Vargas said. She added that emergency room services are often the most expensive care options.

“A lot of times, if you don’t have insurance, you’ll kind of wait and wait until your health deteriorates enough that you just have to go into the emergency room,” Vargas said.

Cook County Health and Hospitals System hospitals and clinics all offer free care under the program. The program also assigns a primary care provider and a list of available medical resources.

In addition, the program coordinates medical care so people can take advantage of care that’s already available to them. It also tracks a patient’s medical history and assigns staff to follow up with them afterward.

“People don’t know how to get the care that they need,” said Phoebe Flaherty, a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, an organization that helped petition the County to institute the program.

Organizing clients’ medical care, Flaherty said, could help them obtain care they would not otherwise receive and minimize costs.

“They’re being told that they’re not eligible for financial assistance when they in fact are,” Flaherty said. “People have access to resources, theoretically, but are not physically able to actually access those resources.”

In the future, Vargas said officials hope to further expand the program. She said the current iteration of the program is the first of several phases that have been planned.

Email: zoemiller@u.northwestern.edu



Recent Headlines

Morning Spin: Preckwinkle says she'll run for re-election next year
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle: Soda tax will stand despite repeal campaign
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Sheriff Dart's party game reveals what your iPhone knows about you
Monday, May 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

While detainees sit, Cook County bail reform drags on
Monday, May 22, 2017
Chicago Tribune

County commissioner: Probe needed into Des Plaines River search for teen
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County settles 2 civil rights suits that alleged illegal searches by probation department
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Senior leader in probation department dismissed after accusations about rogue unit
Friday, May 19, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Taxpayers paid for weekend resort getaway for recorder of deeds, staff
Friday, May 19, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Ex-jail guard sues Sheriff Dart's merit board over firings
Friday, May 19, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Village trustees approve land use agreement that could pave the way for new golf clubhouse
Friday, May 19, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Man convicted in death of girl wins in court over his jail conditions
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Jail placed on lockdown due to absent workers
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Report: Cook County Short Nearly 190,000 Affordable Rental Units
Friday, May 12, 2017
WTTW Chicago Tonight

Oak Lawn opts out of Cook County minimum wage, sick time laws
Friday, May 12, 2017
Daily Southtown

Medical examiner to hold event in hopes of identifying missing persons
Friday, May 12, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County mulls $380K settlement in alleged jail sex assault of Minnesota woman
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County OKs compost plant that residents fear will bring noise, stench
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail inmates can order hot pizza delivered to their cells
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Chicago Tribune

Brown: Without ACA, Cook needs Rx to avoid pre-existing condition
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Chicago Sun-Times

Des Plaines likely to opt out of Cook County minimum wage hike
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
Daily Herald

all news items

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