$1.5 billion spending plan designed to expand CountyCare and improve patient experience

Cook County Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Jay Shannon today submitted a $1.5 billion fiscal year 2015 preliminary budget to the CCH Board of Directors.

The health system continues to be less reliant on Cook County taxpayers. Since the creation of the independent board, the county’s funding has decreased from $481 million in FY09 to $164 million in FY15.

A significant contributor to the financial health of the system is CountyCare, a health plan run by CCH that has more 100,000 members. In FY15, CountyCare is expected to reimburse CCH $348 million for care provided to CountyCare members.

“This budget allows CCH to maintain its mission as a safety net system while improving its financial stability in a competitive marketplace,” Dr. Shannon said. “We will expand CountyCare to include new populations and improve the patient experience, which along with safe, high quality care will allow us to position CCH as a provider of choice.”

In an effort to more effectively and quickly serve patients, the budget prioritizes the development of a call center and centralized scheduling. CCH will continue to invest in capital equipment, ranging from new exam tables and wheelchairs to state-of-the art MRI technology and cardiac diagnostic labs.

The system also intends to maximize CountyCare’s use of its mail order pharmacy, particularly for high cost and maintenance medications. The move is expected to provide more convenience to CountyCare members and save money.

In FY15, CountyCare will expand to include families, seniors and people with disabilities. The projected membership of these populations, along with Affordable Care Act-eligible adults, is 150,000. The overall projected revenue of CountyCare is $915 million.

“A year ago, most of our patients were uninsured. As a result of the Affordable Care Act and CountyCare, more than half of the patients we serve have health insurance,” Shannon said. “The health plan has provided the financial foundation to ensure that we can continue to serve everyone who walks through our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. As significant as the ACA has been, there are still hundreds of thousands in our county who do not qualify for health insurance for whom we will continue to provide care.”

In the coming weeks, the CCH Board of Directors will hold public hearings. Individuals can sign up to speak, submit public testimonials and find a copy of the budget at http://www.cookcountyhhs.org/about-cchhs/governance/budget-information/.
Upon approval by the CCH Board of Directors, the 2015 budget will be submitted to the Cook County Board of Commissioners for final adoption.