Ok, so it took me a while to sit down and write it.
On June 5th Todd Stroger started out recapping his 1st 6 months as Cook County President. He started with talking about debate, which is good and healthy. He was critized on Public relations. He said many make good TV and good media, but its not good for Cook County government, and everyone should be ready to work bipartisan.
He personally appreciates everyone, all the way down to the personal that give out permits for picnics.
This meeting started out on the 3 companies that are doing billing, more specifically looking at Medicaid eligibility and coding. The three Companies being referred to are ESI, HRM, and Great Lakes. Thomas Glaser Interim COO Bureau of Health was the first to field questions. Thomas Glaser went on to say that they want to go from 3 companies down to 2 and eventually one. Commissioner Earlean Collins started her questioning with asking Glaser how they will evaluate these companies? Commissioner Collins pointed out that since these companies are paid on commission it will be easy to find out who is doing more work. Commissioner Mike Quigley then asked how the work was assigned to each of the three companies. Thomas Glaser replied that some of the work was passed on due to relationships so it was inconsistent, and that they were in the process of trying to figure out how to pass out the pass out the work. He was also asked by Collins why this work is not done in house, and Glaser replied that there were not enough people with expertise for Medicaid eligibility.
Commissioner Bulter, asked what percentage of the items in boxes do you expect to get paid from. There are 172 bankers boxes full of bills, 490,00 forms and 204 Million dollars due, and they expect to get 2-3 million dollars back.
Commissioner Sneider asked what personal relationships that there were with these contracted companies. Thomas Glasier replied that the staff people in patient accounting involved are no longer working there.
Commissioner Beavers wanted to talk about all the boxes and were told not to collect so they had no choice to put them in boxes. Commissioner John Daley said that was a total lie that they were told not to collect. Commissioner Tony Peraica said "conflicting answers or multiple answers, half a million patients, two million or 1% of the money collected?" "Are there a statue of limitations?" Thomas Glaser replies "12 months." Tony Peraica said the money not collected equals the deficit to date. Commissioner Joseph Morino asked "What was the source of the problem? Why these were not billed especially since we had vendors in place to bill?"
Thomas Glaser said there were rejected claims, and he is to meet with the state to find out why claims were rejected. Dr. Simon came in on this and said that more workers are needed to keep this from happening again, and that more employees are needed to be hired or need a contract. Commissioner Goslin said that in his 9 years on the board that a lot of money for electronic records and billing have been spent. He asked where is the software and hardware for all of this and is it being used. Thomas Glaser said that this was not all being fully implemented and deployed, and that 6 to 13 million is needed and 7 and a half million is needed on people to get the billing system going. Commissioner Goslin went on to say that Evanstan Hospital and Northwestern and all their branches are all connected electronically.
Comcast the biggest cable provider came up for discussion. Comcast gets a quarter of a million in revenue and the County would have to come up with the other half of to equal a half a million to have a 24 hour Cook County channel. They would want to use it for meetings, forest preserve events etc.
Fratto the Controller came up to say that they are 12 million short, mostly from the Health Bureau, and real estate transactions, but the cigarette tax revenue is up. The recorder of deeds is showing a deficit.
Donna Dunnings, cousin of Todd came up to talk,and Todd had her identify herself? Why? She wants to extend the midyear transfers from June to September. Commissioner Mike Quigley said it will be too late and the horse is out of the stable, and people are making transfers on their own. The Sheriff's office needs a transfer sooner because they will be deficit spending. The Board does not meet in August. The Sheriffs department is over budget with overtime already.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin asked Thomas Glaser what the 100 million dollar grant from the State of Illinois will go to, if they get it? Glaser replied that it will be used for technology needs, and that there is a restriction that it not be used for personal. Commissioner Collins asked why in the 1st 5 months the patient fees are 12 million dollars short.
Zelda Whittler the undersherriff was questioned by Commissioner Tony Peracia what they will do with the five and a half million dollar grant from the drug control area. He went on to say that there was an explosion of problems in Cicero, 19 unsolved murders, and what is the Sheriff doing?
Stephen Martin Chief Operating Officers of the Department of Health was questioned next. He went on to say that every couple of months the AIDS/HIV clinics come up to the IDPH and are approved vendors for funds.
Silvia Edwards of Oak Forest Hospital was the next to be questioned on the 96 employees laid off for a savings of 1.5 million for a contract. Commissioner Murphy wanted to know how almost 10 million dollars was spent on a 3 year contract and that this should go to committee before a contract is approved by the board.
Commissioner Collins agreed that they need to go to committee and study this before they privatize and lay off people, and this has to end. Commissioner Maldonaldo said we must go to committee because we need public accountability ordinance because these workers will have to be protected and some of them have been there for 20 years. Commissioner Silvestri called on Jonathan Rothstein of Labor relations to get involved. Commissioner Peraica wanted to see the documentation to back up where the savings of 1.5 million dollars a year are? Sylvia Edwards said that they looked at benefits and pay, and this was the only vendor that submitted a bid, and one dropped out due to worry about negative press. Peraica was not happy that there was only one bid for a 10 million dollar contract. Commissioner Moreno wanted to know if an industrial engineer report was done to show the savings and why only one bidder? Moreno wanted more data.
Commissioner Jerry Butler said all of us hate privatization and taxes. He said we did not tax so now we have to send this committee for 2 weeks, and this Board is the one that had the guts to approve this budget, because we are not doing what is in the budget that we approved and now we have to stick to it, and this savings of 1.5 million dollars a year was in it. Commissioner Forrest Claypool said that it is not too late to correct things.
Todd Stroger then said that they voted on the budget in February and "God Bless you if you can figure out how we are going to come up with this money"
Burton Odelson, Parliamentarian got involved. A vote of 11 yes and 5 no one absent (Commissioner Gorman) and it goes to the Labor Committee.
Commissioner Deborah Sims asked Dr. Simon for better numbers on the women waiting for Mammograms. Sims said 9,000, Dr. Simon said 4,000 but Dr. Simon said it was really 2,300 because of women who were waiting for repeat exams.
Commissioner Collins asked, Lisa Walik, director of Risk Management about how they are coming along working of a pre-tax transit benefit for employees. This will be included as a deduction of pre-tax, just like the flexible spending. This should go into effect in the fall. Commissioner Mike Quigley said this will help the CTA problems because this will give employees incentive to take it, because they will save money as well.
Commissioner Moreno has been on a committee to get the courts to use Credit Cards. This will keep people from having to be transferred and then bonded out at a courthouse, they will be able to use their credit card. 12.4 million dollars are collected by Credit Card for being bonded out. This does not cost the County any money to use the credit cards, the person using the credit card pays the fees. Commissioner Silvestri wanted to know why Donna Dunnings wanted to look elsewhere for a vendor and why they can't honor the 3 year contract. Donna Dunnings said that she wants to see if there is another company who can do this better. Commissioner Silvestri said that there are so many more problems and they have so much else to do and this is working why can't they honor the three year contract? Commissioner Peter Silvestri said we question where there are problems, but this was a Board approved 3 year contract and they are successful. Then Todd Stroger said that the administration has the option of looking elsewhere. Commissioner Peraica said this contract had multiple bidders and we get 100% of of our money and this cost nothing for the County to use it, no additional charges. Commissioner Moreno said this is of no cost to the Cook County and he has not heard of any negatives and it has all been good. There were three or four companies who bid for this, and we save money because no one has to be transferred and kept overnight until they go to 26th and California. Commissioner Beavers agrees with Moreno, Silvestir and Yes, Peraica on this. And Silvestri made the comment especially if you end up in Cicero you want to use your Credit Card.
The IRIS system for referrals for the health system for specialists came up again. Dr. Simon is looking into it for appointments.
He said the cancer was detected during a routine blood test during Stroger's regular medical checkup.
"It was very wise of him to (get tested), and it probably saved his life," Catalona said.
Stroger is expected to recuperate at home for up to three weeks, Antongiorgi said. He will be running county operations over the phone with his chief of staff, but those daily calls have not yet begun, she said.
Chief of Staff, Lance Tyson sigh, and yes, remember Daddy ran Cook County from his Bed? Yes, after that minor, which turned out to be a major stroke?
At least enough people in the 20th Ward had enough since to finally vote Troutman outThe alderman who took over indicted former Ald. Arenda Troutman's landmarks committee on Wednesday accused her of draining the committee budget before she left office in May.
Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said he was amazed when he became chairman of the committee on historical landmark preservation to learn only $30,000 was left in the committee's $110,000 budget for 2007.
"I don't know what the money was spent on," Beale said.
In January, Troutman, the former 20th Ward alderman, was charged with taking a bribe from a developer. On Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty in federal court, where prosecutors told the judge they expect to bring more charges against her and may add defendants to the case.
Sam Adam Jr., one of Troutman's attorneys, said prosecutors have not shared any information with him about new charges.
Also Wednesday, the FBI confirmed that a "white, powdery substance" found in Troutman's office in January was tested and came back negative for illegal drugs. In January, Troutman insisted the powder was a dietary supplement.
Troutman, who lost a re-election bid in February, is charged with taking a $5,000 bribe and a $5,000 campaign contribution from an FBI informant to help secure zoning for a development at 57th and Halsted streets.
OK, so what was the white powdery substance? More charges, I am sure there are so many to choose from. She kept good company with a Disciples leader(Chicago Gang, originated on the South Side of Chicago, and is predominate there as well) as a boyfriend, and all the other gangbangers she hung around with. Not to mention her Dad and Brother are no strangers to problems with the law.