Cook County CEO calls on other systems to share burden of uninsured

CEOs of hospitals in Cook County, Ill., can expect a letter from the chief of the local public health system, Cook County Health and Hospitals System CEO John Jay Shannon, MD.

Dr. Shannon, who leads Chicago's safety-net system, said he plans to call on local hospitals to provide more charity care, WBEZ News' Kristin Schorsch reports.

"It's simply saying we can no longer continue to bear the disproportionate burden of charity care that we do," Dr. Shannon said at a public affairs luncheon Oct. 28, according to the report.

Cook County Health projects uncompensated care to reach nearly $600 million next year. In 2017, the public health system's flagship hospital, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital, provided more than half the charity care for the entire county, according to the report. Meanwhile, Dr. Shannon described, hospitals continue to refer uninsured patients to the system, according to the report.

He said he wants to see more government funding or regulations that require other local hospitals to provide some of this care. Otherwise, the health system may soon have to cut back on services, sending charity care patients back to referring hospitals, according to the report.

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