Cook County changes course on low-income health funding
BY LISA DONOVAN Cook County Government Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org June 6, 2011 6:46PM
Updated: June 7, 2011 11:14AM
The Cook County health and hospital governing board instructed its top administrators to reverse course Monday and apply for federal Women, Infants and Children funding that provides everything from health screenings for pregnant women to infant formula for new moms across the suburbs.
Just last month union officials — representing nutritionists and other staff who stand to lose their jobs — began loudly protesting the Cook County Department of Public Health’s decision to curb the $3 million-a-year program for the needy after several years of cost overruns. Besides, they argued, the programming wasn’t going away it would simply be handed to local social service agencies.
But on Monday, the independent governing board held a special meeting and decided to at least apply for the money — indicating they may change direction altogether.
“There was a concern by some board members that cutting the WIC program would be against the mission of wholistic care in the community,” said Lucio Guerrero, a health and hospital spokesman. “And there was a concern by some you could lose money in the long run because it could bring in new, paying patients” in to the county’s health and hospital system.
A final decision will be made at the independent health board’s June 24 meeting.