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Cuts threaten health of all county citizens

Saturday, January 27, 2007
Chicago Tribune
by Jeannine E. Hogg, MD, President
Letter to the Editor

Chicago -- The recent proposal to cut 12.3 percent in the Cook County Bureau of Health Services budget along with the proposed closing of 16 community clinics and the limitations of services at Provident Hospital is a fiasco of grand proportions.

This is a draconian limitation of health-care access to the populations with the greatest number of health disparities.
This is not only shortsighted but in the end will cause a worsening of problems such as hypertension, diabetes, cancers and asthma.

There also will be an increase in the numbers of patients suffering from the consequence of poor treatment of these diseases, such as end-stage renal disease, coronary artery disease, limb amputations, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sudden death.

Greater numbers of patients will present with more advanced illness because of a lack of access to ongoing community-based health services, which will cause greater expenditures in the health-care system overall and ultimately overwhelm the system in Chicago and the surrounding areas of Cook County.

It should be common sense to follow the old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Yet our elected officials chose to reject this elementary logic and will force the whole of our society to pay for it later.

The Cook County Physicians Association, which is the local affiliate of the National Medical Association, is an organization of physicians of African descent who have advocated for our patients' rights and the elimination of health disparities in our communities for more than 90 years.

CCPA formally condemns these proposed cuts that will cripple the ability to provide vital health services in the community.

Our strong membership is demanding and advocating for no cuts in the provision of vital health services by county facilities, responsible and transparent leadership as well as tight fiscal oversight of the Bureau of Health Services and for Stroger Hospital to receive its fair share of the inter-governmental transfer funds.

Our mission as an organization is tied to the mission of the Cook County Bureau of Health Services and we refuse to allow this ill-conceived, reactionary plan be foisted upon our communities.

We are calling all people who care about the issue of health access to join us and make your voice heard to our elected county officials at the public hearing on the budget scheduled for Jan. 29 at the Cook County Building.

Jeannine E. Hogg, MD, President
Cook County Physicians Association



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