Dear Colleagues and County Residents,

I write to you as CEO at a moment of great change. At this extraordinary time of transformation, we look to our mission.

Cook County Health and Hospitals System has a longstanding mission of caring for the underserved with respect and dignity, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

Our Health System celebrates a rich history: the nation’s first blood bank, first trauma unit, and the hospital where some of the greatest doctors and nurses in the history of American medicine have chosen to practice. We cherish our role in this community as a beacon of hope for millions of residents. We celebrate our culture of passion and resilience. I am proud to be CEO of this iconic Health System as we work to serve our community in a new era.

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare paradigm is changing across the country. For the first time in our lifetimes, health systems will be funded to keep people well. With broader insurance coverage, more and more patients will be empowered to choose where they go for their care. It would be irresponsible to our rich history and to our patients to believe we do not need to change in the face of this remarkable shift.

CCHHS is changing. We have the unique opportunity to bring healthcare access to tens of thousands of residents before the Affordable Care Act is implemented, through our demonstration project, “CountyCare”. We are shifting our emphasis to primary and preventative care and to coordinating the right care, at the right time, and in the right place to keep our patients well. If we are to survive to continue our mission, we must make this change and deliver service that wins loyalty from our patients. Our transformation is necessary for us to continue to serve the most vulnerable patient populations, including those who will remain uninsured after the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

This change is happening at all levels within CCHHS. To rise to the call of our community entering a new era, we need vision, strong leadership, a thoughtful plan, and confidence in execution of that plan. I invite you to read more about each, and to share your questions, ideas, and support. Our vision is rightfully ambitious. Together, we can achieve it.