="http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2007/07/03/blagojevich_signs_month_budget_measure"One more month extension for budget SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Monday signed legislation to keep state government running through the end of the month. It's still unclear whether that will be enough time to resolve the budget stalemate now in its sixth week of overtime.
"While it was imperative to avert a potential shutdown, passing a one-month budget does not solve our state's problems," Blagojevich stated in a written release, adding that "we now have an opportunity for a fresh start."
The new state budget year began on Sunday, and the governor and the four legislative leaders are still far apart on major issues such as education, health care, gambling and taxes. They are even fighting about each others' work schedules.
The House and Senate had originally been scheduled to take this week off, returning to Springfield on July 10. But on Friday, Blagojevich called a special session for July 5, and promised to do so every day after that until a budget deal had been reached. The first one is to be focused on funding for the state pension systems.
County Doctors are Polishing up Their Resumes
More than half of the doctors on the medical staff at Cook County's Stroger Hospital say they're thinking about leaving the institution within the next year. That's according to a preliminary survey of 178 doctors.
The survey simply puts concrete numbers on what everybody already knew at Stroger, that severe cuts and layoffs over the last year have seriously harmed staff morale. Seventy percent of the doctors who are thinking of leaving say it's because recent cuts have hurt the hospital's core mission of caring for poor people. County Commissioner Jerry Butler chairs the health committee. He says the layoffs have been tough but hopefully positive in the long run.
Butler: "And now we've got to try and put it back together and make it work. It's going to be uncomfortable and certainly there are going to be lots of people who are going to think about leaving. Doesn't mean they're going to leave. It's part of the conversation."
Butler says he hopes the survey spurs his colleagues on the county board to come up with more money to support the county hospitals. So Commissioner Bulter is on the get more money for the Health Bureau band wagon with Dr. Robert Simon, but where is this money going to come from?
We continue today with our series about how Cook County budget problems are affecting some of the county's most vulnerable people. Traditionally Cook County's Stroger hospital has been known as a place where poor people could get care without worrying about bills. The hospital didn't charge them. But people with health insurance went to county and they weren't charged either. That was good news for insurance companies, bad news for Cook County tax payers. In the last couple years hospital administrators began billing patients in an effort to raise revenue. How that's played out for some of the poorest patients is a peek into the ongoing chaos of hospital billing at the county.With all the vendors and software/hardware for a billing system, how does this happen?
Is the new superbill going to solve these problems? These billing problems have been going on for years. And it is said that they need a new Chief Bureau of Health, Dr. Robert Simon is a physician, not an administrator, the County also needs someone without close ties to Todd Stroger, is that possible?