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Health & Medicine Shares Recommendations for CCHHS Strategic Plan

Jul 22, 2016

On Thursday, July 21, Health & Medicine’s Executive Director Margie Schaps offered testimony at a public hearing on Cook County Health & Hospitals System’s three-year strategic plan, Impact 2020.

Throughout its history, Health & Medicine has worked to support CCHSS and the safety net through research, policy, and fiscal support. In 2007, Health & Medicine helped to create the independent board of CCHHS and continues to serves on the nominating committee, advising Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the new appointments.

“While we wholeheartedly support the vision laid out in the strategic plan,” Schaps testified,  “<any challenges will face the system in the coming years:  developing and retaining the right workforce for the populations you serve, keeping patients in the system now that many have options to receive care elsewhere through Medicaid expansion, moving care to the communities most in need, strengthening the public health system that is the backbone of ensuring population health, and securing the financing to provide needed programs and services.”

Schaps went on to offer the Board a number of recommendations to augment the plan:

  • Explore new workforce/team models of care:  peer educators, community health workers, and peer support for behavioral health challenges.  These have been shown to be highly effective for many populations.
  • Develop a taskforce of insiders and outsiders (like Health & Medicine) to help define how the system might best address equity and SDOH. We at HMPRG are looking at promising practices around the country and would be happy to support this work.
  • Use our political leaders, the media and others to try to engage the other not-for-profit hospitals in the region to take more responsibility for the care of the uninsured and underinsured in our County.  They must not step back from their responsibility to use the tax advantages given them to provide charity care under the Illinois constitution.
  • Explore not only new staffing models, but new sites of care delivery, for example freestanding birth centers which are now legal in Illinois and I believe would bring many pregnant women back to the CCHHS for their care if this alternative were available.  New low-tech, low staffing-intensity programs for people with behavioral health challenges--like the living room model--should be explored and implemented if feasible.
  • Strengthen the relationship with the CCJTDC so that youth in the correctional system are connected to CCHHS services when they leave detention.
  • Explore ways that CCDPH and CDPH can work more closely, including the option of merging as many systems around the country have successfully done.
  • Continue to collaborate with others across the county to work toward insurance coverage for those not currently covered.
  • Continue to identify ways the system can address root causes and upstream determinants of health, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences, identified in your plan.  We are now working with Advocate ACO and Aetna to develop plans for ensuring that every person in their workforce is trauma- and ACE-informed because they too believe this will better address health problems early and prevent higher costs later in life.
  • Be a leader in pushing the state to identify ways they can leverage federal resources for things like behavioral health.

 View her full remarks here.  You can learn more about the strategic plan and next steps here.

Health & Medicine Offers Testimony at Cook County Board Budget Hearing

Jul 20, 2016

Health & Medicine’s Executive Director Margie Schaps on Tuesday testified at the Cook County Board Budget Hearing in support of Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s preliminary fiscal year 2017 budget for the County.

“The Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) is shifting its focus to public health, prevention, and addressing the social determinants of health—the things that will ultimately result in a healthier population and lower overall costs,” Schaps said. “But these savings do not happen overnight. The administration and board of the health system are to be commended for making these shifts.”

Since Health & Medicine’s founding in 1981, the organization has testified before the Board in support of a strong Cook County Health system.  The organization has contributed to several strategic plans, analyzed budgets, attended countless meetings, as well as conducted research and planning with and on behalf of the system.  Through its policy research efforts, Health & Medicine has studied public hospital systems around the country.

“CCHHS is unique and is a treasure to our county.  Their mission is clear and lays out their commitment to caring for all regardless of ability to pay,” Schaps said and defended increased budget allocations to the system.

“We recognize that these are difficult financial times for the county and that the implementation of the ACA may lull many into believing that the new money flowing into the system is enough to cover all of the services the health system provides.  This is not true—we still have hundreds of thousands of people in our county without health insurance, many of the newly-insured are seeking healthcare for the first time in decades and present with complex behavioral and physical health needs that require more staff time, a greater array of services and therefore at a greater cost than the system was accustomed to,” Schaps testified.

The full text of Ms. Schaps remarks is available here. An executive budget recommendation is expected in October. This will be followed by public hearings and a final vote in November.

Health & Medicine Board Member Nominated to Cook County Health and Hospitals Board

Jun 30, 2016

Health & Medicine is pleased to share that Board Member Dr. Virginia Bishop has been nominated to the board of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS).

In 2007, Health & Medicine helped to create the independent board of CCHHS and continues to serves on the nominating committee, advising Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the new appointments.

“We are thrilled that President Preckwinkle has nominated these five individuals for this important role at CCHHS and commend her on these strong choices. These nominees—including Dr. Bishop—have precisely the skills needed to help strengthen our health care safety net and steer it through the complex and challenging period ahead,” Health & Medicine’s Executive Director Margie Schaps said.

In addition to serving on Health & Medicine’s Board of Directors, Dr. Bishop is a public health professional with specialties in adolescent and community health and is a professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Bishop and the other nominees must now be confirmed by the Cook County Board.

Bridge Model Receives National Attention: Analysis Shows 20% Readmissions Reduction

Jun 16, 2016

Health & Medicine is proud to share some program updates from the Bridge Model – an innovative social work based intervention that focuses on the medical and psychosocial needs of older adults as they transition from hospital to home. In 2010, Health & Medicine helped to develop Bridge and continues to support the expansion of this successful program which has now trained over 60 replication sites across the U.S.

As part of the model’s growing national impact, two publications—the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and Journal of Gerontological Social Work—recently released articles about Bridge.

For more information about Bridge, please contact Renae Alvarez, Policy Analyst for Health & Medicine’s Center for Long Term Care Reform.