Expect Dr. Simon to be making more news

I just see this hitting the fan, duck!
I expect to hear a lot more from a lot of groups on this Dr. Robert Simon, chief of Cook County health services, said the county should fly illegal immigrants living at Oak Forest Hospital back to the countries they came from. Simon was disputing that the county plans to evict about 220 patients by Sept. 1 -- as the patients were told Friday -- but defending his opinion that most of them should be living somewhere else, and not at the county's expense.

The hospital is home to 20 to 30 illegal immigrants who are profoundly disabled, estimated Horacio Esparza of the Progress Center for Independent Living.
Simon said the few beds retained in the county health system should be used for Stroger and Provident hospital patients who aren't ready to go home but don't need to be taking up a hospital bed, at a significantly higher cost.

"All those undocumented aliens, the taxpayers are paying the entire bill," Simon said.
The county does not receive any state or federal reimbursement for patients who are not citizens or legal residents.
"What I'm saying is, our primary concern has to be to the taxpayers and the citizens," he said.

Simon said moving the immigrants to their home countries should be done "in a humane way," identifying and communicating with family members who will receive them.
"We should pay the transport and the airfare to get them there," Simon said. "They're citizens of another country."
If sufficiently reducing the number of beds proves too complicated, he said, he would recommend eliminating the category of service and then hiring a contractor to run a less expensive skilled nursing unit at Oak Forest.

Apparently sensitive to his reputation in some quarters, Simon asked that his remarks about immigrants not be twisted to make him look uncaring.

That's what happened with comments he made to a Chicago Reader reporter in 1995 when he was chairman of the emergency department at Cook County Hospital, he said.

"Most of the homeless really don't care about themselves or are psychiatrically impaired," he was quoted as saying. "You can give them any opportunity in the world, and they would not take advantage of it. They could do things for themselves, but they won't. So who the hell cares about them?"

Holy Cross Hospital--Pictured, in trouble, again
Gap widens between rich, poor hospitals

While interviewing a young radiologist recently, Wayne Lerner, Holy Cross Hospital's interim CEO, was interrupted by an unsettling question: "Is this place still going to be here two years from now?"

Mr. Lerner says it's a "legitimate question" for the South Side hospital he took over in October. And Holy Cross is not alone. Like more than a dozen other hospitals in the city's poorer neighborhoods, Holy Cross faces a cash crunch that threatens its ability to make large, vital investments in facilities, equipment and technology — and that, ultimately, could threaten its survival.
I can remember when Holy Cross Hospital was first in trouble. At one time they wanted to keep it all Lithuanian Doctors, and if you were anything else you would have a hard time practicing medicine here. At one time I thought all doctors were Lithuanian, because that's all I ever had. But you get older and get away from the neighborhood you find out otherwise. The old Hospital on 65th and Pulaski, Von Solbrig Hospital, came to town, was opened by Jewish doctors and well, was short lived, it is now the 13th Ward headquarters, for Frank Olivio, Alderman, Mike Madigan, State House Speaker, and the Lithuanian Museum. (Balzekas)


  1. SP Biloxi said...
    "Dr. Robert Simon, chief of Cook County health services, said the county should fly illegal immigrants living at Oak Forest Hospital back to the countries they came from."

    So, your city has issues with illegal immigrants. We have the same problems of illegal immigrants but a lot more serious.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    This is not a new issue many of these people have been here at Oak Forest Hospital during Daddy John Stroger's term, now all of a sudden it's a new problem. A lot of these old problems left over from Daddy John Stroger are all of a sudden a new problem.
    Anonymous said...
    Is Daddy Stroger on the list for investigating?

    SP Biloxi
    KittyBowTie said...
    I just got back from England. Gee, before I left, I got special temporary health insurance for the week I was gone because A. My state employee health insurance does not cover me outside the country and B. If anything happened, I wanted to get the heck out of England and their bizzare health care system, especially because doctors are on off-duty strike because their system is so wacky. So, I paid for the medical repatriation insurance and Dr. Simon is just offering the same type of service for FREE, for illegal aliens. Somehow, that seems humane enough.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    SP Biloxi, yes John Stroger is on the list, but his health condition is very poor, so what will become of it.
    William (Bill) Beavers as well.

    No, we would not dare go anywhere we are not covered. I try to keep the PPO because if you don't follow all the rules for an HMO, no coverage. Still things with a PPO take a lot of fighting, and I still have to pay cash for my Son's Zyrtec because that is the only drug that works and I have no choice, the PPO calls it a non formulary and says he should be on Claritin (which I might as well give him M&Ms and get the same effectiveness) I am still fuming my insurance premiums were raised and so was my deductable, a WIN/WIN situation for the insurance company.
    SP Biloxi said...
    Chicago Native:

    I wonder if they will continue an investigation into Beavers despite his poor health...

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