The Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center announced today a 20-year milestone for the clinic that focuses on the prevention, care and research of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. The CORE Center was established as a partnership between the Cook County Health (CCH) and Rush University Medical Center. Since its opening in 1998, the Center has remained one of the largest HIV/AIDS clinics in the United States and treats more than 10,000 patients annually for HIV/AIDS care and other infectious diseases.
“Just thirty years ago, an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence and today – with immense commitment and breakthroughs – some that CORE has been part of – HIV is a completely manageable disease,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCH.
In 2017, the CORE Center provided HIV primary care to more than 5,000 people living with HIV or 1 out of every 6 people living with HIV. Of these, 75% are either uninsured or covered by Medicaid. Each year 180 to 200 newly diagnosed HIV patients come to the CORE Center. And CCH performs 12,000 yearly HIV tests in the emergency departments at Stroger and Provident Hospitals.
“This is a time to be celebrating exceptional progress and recommitting ourselves to the mission we share, which is providing the highest quality care for persons and families affected by infectious diseases, with respect, dignity and compassion and without regard to their ability to pay. We must also continue to ensure a patient-centered environment and seek to better understand and to prevent these diseases through education and research,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
CORE Center uses a medical home model to offer patients all the services they need under one roof. Services include primary and specialty medical care, dental care, social and support services, prevention and education programs, and opportunities to participate in research. The Center also has an onsite screening clinic that offers confidential testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), confidential counseling and testing for HIV, and tuberculosis (TB) screening.
“To solve big problems, partnerships are needed and the Core Center is an outstanding national example of an effective partnership,” said Dr. Larry Goodman, CEO, Rush System and Rush University Medical Center. “This public private partnership has created a world class provider of HIV AIDS services and also has services that address the other factors that might negatively impact a patient’s total health.”
CCH is expanding initiatives to routinize and optimize screening for STIs and access to PreP in clinical settings, linking and re-engaging people living with HIV to care, working to decrease stigma and putting services and supports in place to help patients stay retained in care and achieve viral suppression.
“I am proud to work in a health system that is working to address health inequities and address social determinants of health,” said Dr. Oluwatoyin Adeyemi, senior director of HIV services, CCH. “With our expertise in clinical care, research and education, diverse work force, community partnerships and dedicated staff, Cook County Health is uniquely positioned to take a lead in state-wide efforts.”
The CORE Center and CCH are proud partners of Getting to Zero Illinois, a statewide initiative to end the HIV epidemic in the state by 2030 in collaboration with community-based organizations, health care providers, government agencies, people living with HIV and other committed community members. This can be achieved by getting 20% more people living with HIV virally suppressed and 20% more people vulnerable on Prexposure Prophylaxis (PreP).