Wednesday, March 10, 2010

University of Chicago, Provident Hospital talk of health care partnership

Cook County is in talks with the University of Chicago Medical Center to have the Hyde Park hospital staff doctors at nearby Provident Hospital, county health officials said Monday.

Cook County would continue to own and manage Provident, while U of C physicians would treat patients and possibly train medical residents at the 172-bed facility, Cook County said in a news release.

A deal could make sense for both sides.

Cook County stands to get fresh revenue from U of C referrals and gain a boost to the reputation of Provident, which has plenty of empty beds.

And Provident could serve as a key partner for U of C’s Urban Health Initiative, a four-year-old program that offloads patients requiring routine care to nearby clinics and community hospitals so its doctors can focus on providing more-specialized care on its main campus.

Talk of a formal partnership has gone on for years. But Cook County Health and Hospitals System CEO Bill Foley, who was appointed last year, appears ready to forge closer ties to U of C as part of his broader strategy to fix the long-troubled public health system.

“A key part of our strategic plan involves developing partnerships in the community to make sure that we can meet the health care needs of the residents of Cook County,” Mr. Foley said in a written statement.
I would rather the county contracts with other hospitals in the county to provide health care services than for the burden to be place only on the county health system.

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