16th Ward Church top, 15th Ward Church bottom picture. The way they keep redrawing the Ward maps, if you are on an end of your Ward, you can easily end up in another ward without ever moving. I personally would have a hard time voting in either the 15th or 16th Ward in the runoff, because I don't really like any of the choices. When Ted Thomas announced retirement as 15th Ward Alderman, out came everyone that wanted to be Alderman, there were too many choices. Either way, both Wards border mine, so I will be watching these elections closely. The Predictions are:

15th Ward
Russ Stewart: N/A
Jay Stone: "There's no incumbent. So go with whoever got the most votes in the first round. Foulkes got 2,037, Simmons-Stovall 1,603--it's Foulkes"
Richard Carnahan: "Foulkes...will be a gem on the Council come April 18"
AlderTrack: "Score another ward for the SEIU; Foulkes should win easily"

16th Ward
Russ Stewart: "She [Coleman] will lose the runoff [Thompson]"
Jay Stone: "Thompson got more votes, Thompson will win"
Richard Carnahan: "Au revoir Alderman Coleman; Hello, Alderman Thompson"
AlderTrack: "With apologies to Sheb Wooley, 'It was an S-E-I-U giant purple incumbent eater'" [Thompson]

I can see this costing more money. OK the summation, so the computer system used by private physicians will be disconnected. So when a patient in severe financial need needs a referral to a specialist they can't pay for, and are referred to a Cook County Medical facility, i.e. Stroger Hospital, they just go see the specialist, and the specialist has access to all tests and medical records. Now, with the system shut down, the patient in need of a specialist must go through the walk in clinic, emergency room or the like, over burdening that system, and start all over again with all evaluations and testing. This not only hurts this patient by delaying treatment, which could end up more costly to treat something in a more advanced state, but makes other patients wait for treatment, by adding more work to limited personal resources.
Cook County to tighten up medical referrals

By Judith Graham
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 15, 2007


Thousands of poor patients across Chicago may have a harder time getting specialized medical services at Cook County under a new policy that starts Monday.
Before, private community clinics could refer needy patients with conditions such as cancer or diabetes to Stroger Hospital's specialty clinics via a sophisticated computer system. Apparently, that system is shutting down.
Now, patients from private clinics will be required to go to a single county walk-in clinic near Stroger to get referrals, a move that critics say will aggravate already long waits for care.
The computerized system had streamlined the referral process, relying on medical information from private physicians to approve appointments and rank them in order of urgency. Dozens of private clinics and more than 5,000 patients participated every year.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Robert Simon, interim chief of Cook County's Bureau of Health Services, sent a letter to private clinic operators announcing he was suspending use of the system due to "draconian budget cuts." He said he was creating a task force to examine its future.
That doesn't make sense, complained Dr. Lee Francis, vice president of medical services at Erie Family Health Center on the West Side.
In a letter to Simon, Francis warned that the new arrangement will force patients to arrange consultations with county doctors who have no knowledge of patients' medical histories and who will need to re-order tests, adding to costs.
The health bureau "will incur the expense of hundreds if not thousands of additional ambulatory [visits]," Francis said. The walk-in clinic has been overwhelmed already, after its hours were cut by almost one-third earlier this year, observers noted.
"It's a total waste to ask people to come in and wait in these lines to see a doctor they don't know to recommend what care they should get next," said Dr. Art Jones, chief executive of Lawndale Christian Health Center.
"This is just a way to cut access to the specialty clinics," Jones said. He predicted patients will stay home, wait until their conditions worsen then go to Stroger's emergency room.
A Cook County spokesman did not return calls seeking comment last week.
Experts said they were puzzled by the health bureau's move in light of the recent decision to close more than a dozen county-run medical clinics. Seven of those clinics stopped operating a week ago, and thousands of patients will need to be seen in other settings.
Private clinics can provide basic care to those county patients; in return, they want the ability to refer the patients to county facilities for specialty services, such as MRI scans or orthopedic exams, leaders said. This kind of cooperative arrangement has been in place for years, but clinic leaders worry that it may be jeopardized by upheaval at the health bureau.

"We have worked with the county as partners, and we want to be their partners going forward," said Joan Sheforgen, chief executive officer of PrimeCare Community Health. "But this decision was made without us."

jegraham@tribune.com
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

3 Comments:

  1. SP Biloxi said...
    "Before, private community clinics could refer needy patients with conditions such as cancer or diabetes to Stroger Hospital's specialty clinics via a sophisticated computer system. Apparently, that system is shutting down"

    Wow, how can one decipher a "needy patient?" It is a shame that the city is picking and choosd choosing who they can care for at clinics.
    Third Generation Chicago Native said...
    It's a humanitarian disaster!
    SP Biloxi said...
    "It's a humanitarian disaster!"

    True, true!!!

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