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Preckwinkle looks to claw back some oversight of Cook County Health
Cook County's health system was taken over by an independent board in 2008 amid a financial and political crisis. Now, Toni Preckwinkle wants to change that. Here's why.

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business
by A.D. Quig

In the wake of Cook County Health CEO Jay Shannon’s exit and uncertainty over how the system will address growing costs of charity and uncompensated care, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is proposing clawing back some of the county’s oversight of the system.

The health system has been governed by an independent board since 2008. Amid a financial and political crisis at the system, outsiders argued governance of the county’s three hospitals (Stroger, Provident and Cermak at the county jail) and clinics required an independent board staffed with health experts. At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin threatened the county’s federal health care funding if reforms weren’t made.

In a memo sent to commissioners Tuesday (click here to read), Preckwinkle said the changes would “continue to provide for independent governance,” but would give the county “enhanced collaboration on various operational initiatives that impact county policy and appropriations,” like performance benchmarking, uncompensated care policy, and the health system’s legislative agenda.

Among the changes: Preckwinkle would have a direct appointment to the CCH’s independent board, bringing the count up from 11 members to 12. The next CEO would be appointed on the “advice and consent of the County Board” and with collaboration from Preckwinkle and her administration. That future CEO’s “salary, termination, term, severance and any contract bonus provisions” would also be subject to review and approval from the board.

The CCH board would also be required to “submit a balanced preliminary budget with expenditures matching the revenue estimates for the fiscal year.”

While the independent board “has worked tirelessly to improve CCHHS operations, policies and develop long-term strategic plans,” Preckwinkle said, “over the last 10-plus years, we have learned firsthand that this work cannot be done by the system board alone and that enhanced collaboration with Cook County and its experienced departments will further improve CCHHS operations.”

 

 

 



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