Healthcare Business News

Cook County system's new CEO needs to find savings fast, and other news

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: July 19, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

Dr. John Jay Shannon was promoted to CEO at Cook County (Ill.) Health and Hospitals System in late June, and he already has been told to find $67 million in savings in four months.

The Chicago-based health system, one of the largest public hospital networks in the country, is responsible for much of a projected $86 million shortfall in the county board president's year-end budget figures. The county's fiscal year ends Nov. 30.

Shannon says the deficit likely will be less than current projections. But he also says it is unlikely to be erased completely in just a few months.

Most of the shortfall is due to the growing pains associated with CountyCare, the county's innovative managed-care program for Medicaid recipients. Many of the roughly 95,000 people enrolled now have insurance for the first time, which means Cook County Health could get reimbursed rather than having to subsidize their treatment as charity care. But costs have climbed quickly as newly insured patients have sought everything from checkups to pricey treatments for chronic ailments.

With a $1 billion budget, Cook County Health provided more than $300 million in free care in 2013. —Kristen Schorsch, Crain's Chicago Business

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Advocate beats second suit over breach; others pending

Advocate Health and Hospitals Corp. has now gone two for two in swatting away class-action lawsuits stemming from last summer’s massive data breach involving millions of its patient records. But several other cases against Advocate are pending.

Kane County (Ill.) Circuit Court Judge James Murphy last week dismissed with prejudice a class-action suit in Matias Maglio et al., vs Advocate, citing the plaintiffs’ lack of legal standing and failure to prove actual damages, among other rationales, in a three-page ruling in favor of the 10-hospital Advocate system. Advocate is based in the Chicago suburb of Downer’s Grove, Ill. In May, a judge in Lake County, Ill., similarly dismissed a class-action suit against Advocate, ruling that its plaintiffs could not claim injuries based on potential losses.

Advocate still faces other cases related to the breach, including a consolidation of 12 class-action cases filed in Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court.

Last July, burglars hit the Advocate Medical Group administrative office in Park Ridge, another Chicago suburb, walking away with four unencrypted computers containing the medical records of more than 4 million individuals. —Joseph Conn

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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