The day after introducing and passing a resolution with the Cook County Board opposing deep, proposed cuts to Medicaid, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the membership of the Southland Health Advisory Council, keeping a promise she made in June.
“We promised to announce a Southland Health Advisory Council, to create a way for faith and community leaders to have input on the future of health care in the Southland. We are grateful to all those who have agreed to serve, and I look forward to their recommendations.”
The resolution declares that the proposed cuts would “fundamentally recalculate” the federal healthcare dollars available to the County’s Health & Hospitals System through the State of Illinois, and that commissioners, “formally reassert our support for the preservation of Medicaid funding.”
“There is widespread support for Medicare for the elderly,” President Preckwinkle said. “But when it comes to Medicaid for low-income children, pregnant women, the blind, the disabled, and those requiring nursing-home care, we’re all too eager to drop our social obligations.”
The resolution stresses how the County’s three safety-net hospitals – Stroger, Provident and Oak Forest – have historically provided billions of dollars in uncompensated care to those in need. “Cuts and other alterations in Medicaid funding couldn’t possibly be made up at the local level,” Preckwinkle added. It passed the Board on an 11-3-3 vote.
The resolution and the Southland Health Advisory Council are the latest in a series of steps taken by President Preckwinkle to demonstrate her commitment to strengthening care delivery, improving access and reducing the economic burden of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System on tax payers. She has gone to Washington, DC several times to speak with members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation about the need to protect Medicaid funding and the economic impact it would have on safety net hospitals.
The first meeting of the Southland Health Advisory Council was last week where they drafted a vision statement. The eleven-member council will continue to meet and provide counsel to the President about public health care for the Southland. The draft vision statement and list of members are listed below:
“The Southland Health Advisory Council will advise the Office of the President and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System on both the common and unique challenges of health care in Chicago’s southland, working to identify service needs, present challenges, and advocate for the needs of the community. The first meeting generated a common theme – the need for regional provision of healthcare in the southland that links County facilities, federally qualified health care centers, and the participation of private hospitals. The Southland Health Advisory Council has agreed to meet at least once per quarter, with the ability to call special meetings where appropriate. The Council will meet in advance of the August 16th Illinois Health Facilities Review Board meeting to speak with Dr. Terry Mason, CCHHS CEO, about the proposal to transform Oak Forest Hospital into a regional outpatient center.”
Apostle Carl White is the pastor of Victory Christian Assembly, and the leader of the Southland Ministerial Health Network.
Salim Al-Nurridin is the Executive Director of the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois.
Jennifer Artis is the Director of Public Affairs at St. James Hospital.
David Miller represented parts of the Southland as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for ten years. He has also owned a private dentistry in Dolton for over twenty years.
Nancy Kolanowski is a retired local government official who worked for the Village of Dolton.
John Ostenburg is the Mayor of Park Forest, and a former staff member of the Chicago Teachers Union
Joan Diane Adams-Alsberry is the President of Kids Health Inc., and Vice President of Caring Assistive Living Management Inc. in Matteson Illinois.
William McNary is Co-Director of Citizen Action, Illinois.
Mercedes Mallette is a retired community activist. She is on the Board of Directors of TCA Health, Inc. and a member of the Southland Human Services Leadership Council Health Committee and the Southland Leadership Roundtable.
Sharon Freyer is the former Chief Nursing Officer of Oak Forest Hospital.