MAY 2017
Cook County Health & Hospitals System
On May 4, 2017, the US House of Representatives approved the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a very small margin. It is too early to predict its final disposition but please know that we are monitoring the situation and working closely with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as well as our federal, state and local partners on advocacy efforts.
Should the bill pass in its current form, it will repeal many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act that have  extended  coverage to millions of Americans. This  will cause considerable harm to our patients,  their families and the communities we proudly serve.  Their ability to access preventive care, mental health and substance abuse treatment and medications will be threatened. They may be forced to go back to the days of choosing food for their families or medications needed to stabilize their health. These are not choices that anyone should have to make no less someone living in the richest nation in the world.

At a May 8th press conference, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is joined by Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCHHS, members of the Cook County Congressional Delegation and the Cook County Board of Commissioners as well as advocates, patients and physicians in denouncing the US House vote last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

We intend to do everything we can to defeat the legislation and encourage you and your colleagues, neighbors, friends and family to urge your representatives in Washington DC to oppose any measure that will reverse the progress of the Affordable Care Act.
Letter from the CEO
Throughout our 180-year history, support from our community partners has energized o ur work to care for the most vulnerable while fostering healthy communities throughout Cook Co unty. Amid an everchanging landscape, our commitment to that mission has never been stronger - and the work to adapt and respond to our communities' needs has never been more important.
In part, that means modernizing our facilities, growing our capacity and introducing innovative technologies. It also means sharing the stories that highlight our 
legacy, expertise and high-quality care.
For example, you may not be aware that we provide the U.S. Navy with ongoing clinical experience for their medical teams; or that Cook County Health has stage-for-stage cancer outcomes that are as good as those at top treatment centers; or that we provide leading ophthalmology care for everything from cataracts to full corneal transplants.

In short, we want you to

Over the coming months, we'll be sharing these compelling storie s through a variety of mediums and ask that you  help us  spread th e word abou t our top-rated care, medical innovation and exceptional teams. Pl ease take a moment to watch our new video at We think you will agree that there are great things happening at Cook County Health.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our patients and our mission.
Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, CCHHS
CCHHS Recognizes May as Mental Health Month
Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. - 43.8 million, or 18.5% experience mental illness in a given year*?
CCHHS has 24-7/365 
walk-in mental health and substance abuse services available at our new Community Triage Center on 115 th Street between Indiana and Prairie. Visit to learn more.

Medical Examiner Reports Deaths Caused By Powerful Opioid
In Cook County, more than 40 people have died in 2017 due to a powerful, new opioid, the county's Medical Examiner's Office reported.

From January through April 8, 44 deaths were attributed to acrylfentanyl, a new fentanyl analog whose potency is still being studied, the office said.
The number of deaths so far could actually be higher, as toxicology testing can take several weeks.  In 2016, seven deaths were attributed to acrylfentanyl.  The Medical Examiner's Office has seen a marked increase in deaths from fentanyl and fentanyl analogs since 2015. 

"These high-potency opioids and opioid analogs are thousands of times stronger than street opioids like heroin and are far more likely to cause death," said Dr. Steve Aks (pictured), emergency medicine physician and toxicologist at the Cook County Health & Hospitals System's Stroger Hospital.

"In many cases, one dose of naloxone, the heroin antidote, will revive a person who has overdosed on heroin. But we are seeing people in our emergency department who need increased doses of naloxone - in some cases as many as four doses - for the patient to be stabilized after ingesting fentanyl, or a heroin/fentanyl combination. The EMS and emergency medicine community needs to be aware of the potential need for additional naloxone in such cases."

In 2016, a total of 1,091 people in Cook County died, at least in part, because of an opiate-related overdose. In 2015, 649 people in Cook County died, at least in part, because of an opiate-related overdose.

Of the opiate-related overdoses in 2016, 562 people died, at least in part, after using fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, which are illicit versions of fentanyl, a powerful drug used by physicians to treat severe pain.

The most common fentanyl analogs in Cook County include furanyl fentanyl and a precursor/metabolite of fentanyl called despropionyl fentanyl or 4-ANPP. Toxicology tests show decedents have used fentanyl and analogs alone, as well as with heroin and with other drugs such as cocaine.

Community Triage Center Open House
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Health & Hospitals System CEO Dr. Jay Shannon (pictured) hosted an open house in April at CCHHS' Community Triage Center for social service and community organizations, to raise awareness of the services the center offers for individuals with behavioral health conditions.  
Located in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, the Community Triage Center (CTC) provides crisis stabilization, case management and treatment for patients presenting with a mental health and/or substance-related crisis.  The center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days week, 365 days a year, and it is staffed by master-level clinicians, licensed clinical social workers, case managers and registered nurses. 

The goal of the CTC is to offer people with behavioral health issues a more appropriate, less expensive way to get proper treatment.  By doing so, it is expected that the CTC will decrease avoidable emergency room visits, reduce the Cook County jail population, and improve the health status of the individuals it serves.

New Central Campus Health Center Construction in Full Swing 
Construction workers are hard at work on the new CCHHS Central Campus Health Center.  
The new nine-story 280,000 square-foot outpatient and administrative office building at the corner of Polk Street and Damen Avenue will be connected to the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital.  It will consolidate many functions now housed in three outdated and inefficient buildings: the Fantus Health Center, the current CCHHS administration building and the Hektoen building.  
CCHHS sees more than 100,000 unique patients through over 550,000 clinic visits annually on the central campus alone, demonstrating the need for a more clinically efficient and upgraded facility.  

General Medicine Clinic Is Relocating 
As the largest Cook County Health & Hospitals System's (CCHHS) outpatient clinic, the General Medicine Clinic (GMC) at Fantus Health Center will begin the temporary relocation of services next month to facilitate improvements on the central campus. 
In the coming months, all clinics will be relocated from Fantus Clinic to make way for additional patient parking and a new entrance to Stroger Hospital off Harrison Street. This will allow for much needed separation for Emergency and Trauma vehicles plus an improved experience for our patients. 

To facilitate construction, several of the GMC providers will temporarily move to the Sengstacke Health Center at Provident Hospital on May 22, 2017. At the same time, a second group of providers will expand hours in the current Fantus space before moving, and prepare for its move into the Stroger Specialty Care Center over the summer. Upon completion, the GMC will move into the new Central Campus Health Center.
Patient information is being distributed and all patients are being given the option of moving with their current provider or transferring their care to one of our primary care medical home locations that may be more convenient.

New Women and Children's Center Under Construction at Stroger Hospital 
CCHHS is excited to announce the development of a new women and children's center at Stroger Hospital, set to open later this year.
The women and children's center will include outpatient services such as prenatal and pediatric primary and specialty care, as well as inpatient services such as labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit and general pediatric inpatient care.
The center, which will be located on the fourth floor of Stroger Hospital, will provide significant convenience for our patients and a more integrated approach to patient care. 

Cook County Tackles Mental Illness in Community and Jail 
Cook County Health & Hospitals System held a two-day workshop in March with key agencies including the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, the Circuit Court and other agencies to create a SIM for Cook County to develop a detailed map of where the gaps are in providing behavioral health services in Cook County.

CCHHS CEO Dr. Jay Shannon addresses workshop participants.
The goal of the workshop was to identify potential opportunities for redirecting people with behavioral health issues to proper treatment, so that the unnecessary use of jails and prisons can be reduced.  More than 70 individuals attended the two day event.

Behavioral health and criminal justice systems often collide, creating significant barriers to treatment and support services. Studies have shown that 6 percent of men and 12 percent of women entering U.S. jails have a severe and persistent mental illness, compared to less than 2 percent of the general population. Of these individuals, 72 percent have a co-occurring substance use disorder, the National GAINS Center reported in 2002.
Creating what's known as a "sequential intercept mapping," or SIM, helps identify gaps in services and then ultimately, allow communities to develop with an action plan to close those gaps. Such a map focuses on five so-called "intercepts," like when law enforcement is called to respond in cases where mental health or substance abuse might be a factor.

The three major gaps identified were the lack of housing across several of the intercepts, behavioral health screenings not aligning between various facilities and  an overall need for more behavioral health services to help prevent engagement in the justice system altogether.
The MacArthur Safety Justice Steering Committee and other agencies are reviewing the results from the meeting to develop with action plans that will ultimately help reduce the jail population in Cook County.

Meet CCHHS' Doctor of the Year  
CCHHS is pleased to introduce our Doctor of the Year, Dr. Connie Mennella. Dr. Mennella is Chairperson of the Department of Correctional Health which provides health care services to more than 50,000 detainees at the Cook County Jail and residents of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center every year. 
Dr. Mennella (center) pictured with Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Claudia Fegan and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jay Shannon.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Dr. Mennella's drive to care for the underserved led her to take a job at CCHHS' Cermak Health Services in 1991 after she received her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School. 
In her 26 years at Cermak, Dr. Mennella has been a tireless advocate for additional funding for mental health patients as a way to reduce crime.

Dr. Shannon Keynotes National Healthcare Meeting in Chicago   
On April 17th, Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System, provided a keynote address to Becker's Healthcare Annual Meeting in Chicago. More than 1,000 attendees listened to his speech titled "Let's Keep the Safety Net Safe" where Dr. Shannon described the critical role of safety net hospitals and providers in the healthcare ecosystem.

Cook County Medical Examiner's Office is Hosting a Missing Persons Day
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office is hosting a Missing Persons Day on May 20, 2017 to help families reconnect with their missing loved ones.

The event will be held at Robert J. Stein Institute of Forensic Medicine, 2121 W. Harrison Street in Chicago, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, please visit missing person day event.

CCHHS In The News

Upcoming Events

Friday May 19 
8:30 AM - CCHHS Finance Committee Meeting

10:00 AM - CCHHS Quality & Patient Safety Committee

Saturday May 20 
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Cook County Medical Examiner's Office Missing Persons Day
Click here for details.

Friday, May 26
9:00 AM - CCHHS Board of Directors Meeting