Monday, June 23, 2008


Dear Bishop Jenky and OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center,

"We are guilty of many errors and faults,
but out worst crime is abandoning the children,
neglecting the fountain of youth.

Many things we need can wait.
The child cannot.

Right now his bones are being formed,
His blood is being made and his senses are being developed.

To him we cannot answer "Tomorrow".
His name is "Today".

---Gabriela Mistres,
Chilean Nobel Prizewinner

Friday, June 13, 2008

ER's Reflect Health Care System

I think that Mr. Steffen should have listened more closely in 2001 regarding overcrowding in the ER at OSF. When I wrote him the letter, the system at OSF was dysfunctional and old people were waiting in the ER much too long. I thought that it was a very dangerous situation for patients at OSF.

See JAMA article from June 11, 2008 describing what has been going on for years.

"One does not have to be guilty of a crime to be ethically challenged." (Commenter on Tribune John Kass article.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

OSF Doesn't Care

See Peoria Heights post on this blog from last year.

OSF Acquires "High Profile" Practices

OSF Expansion (06/09/08)
Journal Star
Posted Jun 09, 2008 @ 10:53 PM
Last update Jun 09, 2008 @ 11:41 PM

PEORIA — Citing stiffer competition and a desire to make itself a household name, OSF Healthcare System is looking to increase its market share by expanding its reach throughout a wide swath of the state.

The not-for-profit organization that operates six Illinois hospitals, including flagship facility OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, announced last week it would add three high-profile private medical practices to its fold in an effort to boost its regional presence.

The three doctor groups, specializing in heart care, children's health and neuroscience, were chosen for their high volume of patients and the fact that hospital officials see the need for those specialties growing in the future.

Keith Steffen, St. Francis CEO, said in the last 12 to 14 months more health care facilities have popped up - ranging from hospitals to private clinics - especially around Chicago and its suburbs, eroding sections of OSF Healthcare System's reach. By adding the specialist groups, the health care company hopes to flesh out and cement its status as an area player in the medical field.

"If you look at what Chicago's doing, they're moving west and south. There's no question about it. They're building new hospitals, they're putting up physician clinics," Steffen said. "So for us and for the city of Peoria, it's defending our peripheries. If we're not out there, somebody else is going to be out there."

Hospital officials said their objective is not to compete with local facilities but instead eventually vie for customers who usually seek treatment in larger cities such as Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Indianapolis. The goal is to turn the health system into a regional draw for patients who will know it for its highly specialized and unequaled care, they said.

Since the early 1990s, St. Francis has served 34 Illinois counties and currently sees more than 30 percent of its patients coming from outside the Tri-County Area. Steffen hopes to increase that number.

Observers of the health care industry said the move likely will bolster OSF Healthcare System's bottom line as well. Doctors who specialize in certain fields typically rake in more money for health care facilities than general or family practitioners.

"They are one of the highest revenue-producing services," said Bettina French, a spokeswoman with the Illinois Hospital Association. "They offset losses."

French said the strategy of shoring up specialists is not unusual and is turning into a nationwide trend as hospital try to set themselves apart from each other. Though in the future, she said, the rankings given by patients on a Web site may one day serve as the litmus test for a facility's level of care.

Jim Farrell, director for marketing and communications for OSF Healthcare System, said the move also will help the organization enlist more specialists by offering prospective recruits a high number of patients and strong infrastructure from the hospital. Costs also are expected to decline since consolidation will keep services under one roof.

George Geagea, chief operating officer for Associated University Neurosurgeons, one of the groups bought by OSF Healthcare System, said the group sees the deal as a chance to create a destination for health care in the Midwest.

"We want to build an institution reputation," he said.

Comments (11)

1. Why do you need to compete, spread your range and attract new business if you are non-profit? People will continue to buy into this until we have no choice but OSF. Charities don't vie for customers to take their services. People don't buy stock in a corporation unless they plan on making money. Private clinics should not be a problem if you aren't trying to attract their customers who are willing to pay extra dollars for health care.

2. It has been rumored for many months that Heart Care Midwest was in financial problems. This may be their only way of staying afloat.

3. Heart Care Midwest has always been tied with OSF. Their doctors practice there. They have an OSF lab in their basement. I would imagine their "financial problems" is the same as OSF, the desire to make more money. They are about as non-profit as the OSF corporation.

4. there is not an osf lab in the basement of hcm alot of healthcare providers are losing money due to change in insurance, medicare is not paying for alot of the procedures that these patients need and the physicians do what is best for the patient,whether they get paid or not. besides that with our economy so screwed right now who doesn't have "financial problems"?

5. oh yeah the HCM physicians go to all of the hospitals in our area this includes osf, methodist,pekin,bromenn,cCanton-Graham Hospital
cottage,st. josephs,st mary's. they also go to satelite clinics which include
Carthage-Memorial Hospital
Kewanee-Kewanee Hospital
Macomb-McDonough District Hospital
Monmouth-OSF Holy Family Hospital
Ottawa-Community Hospital of Ottawa
Pontiac-OSF Saint James - John W. Albrecht Medical Center
Peru-Illinois Valley Community Hospital
Princeton-Perry Memorial Hospital
Spring Valley-St. Margaret's Hospital
so there is no favortism here. Osf is grgowing so HCM is going to grow with them.

6. saint francis makes a lot of money tangentially by having all the foundations that everyone contributes into that feed right back into the hospital. what a racket.
every time you give in this town it goes back into the same system

7. They can afford it
$80,000.00 for 3 days

8. John A. Carroll, M.D.

Will Peoria’s population be better off with OSF’s acquisition of three high yield specialties? Were OSF's motives to improve the health of people or to improve OSF's bottom line?

Why didn’t OSF direct its attention to promote primary care, preventative medicine, and psychiatric care for the people of Peoria? Quite simply, these areas don’t make enough money for OSF.

The OSF Health Care System CEO’s annual salary exceeds 1 million dollars in large part due to "not-for-profit" OSF-Saint Francis Medical Center. Something seems wrong here...

And what do Mr. Steffen’s comments about “defending the peripheries” have to do with the OSF founding Sisters philosophy of serving the needy with the “greatest care and love”?

Peorians are being duped again by OSF.

9. Agree
That Dr Carroll knows what happens when you are on the wrong end of this christian organization.
I am not sure who this neurosurgeon is he sure is not any one I hav ever heard of and I have been in the medical community for 22 years here in town.
I do know that Dr Carroll has always spoke the truth.
when they take away your choice what do you have to gain.
By state statute they can not restrict the physicians that come to the hospital but they will strangle them by dictating the referral patterns of the physicians they own.
What a sell out for heart care and for the neurosurgeons.
if they could run their businesses well they would not be joining but cojmpeting
they are weakly managed

10. Reply to agree
The person who made a comment from the neurosurgery office is the chief operating officer, not a neurosurgeon. That is probably why you have not heard of him.

Also it is true Dr Carroll has always spoken what he perceives to be the truth, but many would say his perceptions are not accurate.

11. The people who disagree with Dr. Carroll are tied with OSF. If something is non-profit they don't compete, they don't advertise except for contributions. If you are really non-profit you don't go out looking for people to give your service to, you let them come to you. Here is a novel idea, operate our medical system on totally a break even basis. The people who take home a salary should be those who directly provide, or oversee, patient care. No more corporate hospitals, no more big profit insurance companies. Instead of getting a 50% return on your health care dollar how about 75 to 80 percent going directly into patient care. That 50% going into the pockets of speculators could pay every physician, and cover the shortfall on hospital bills. Our emergency services, schools, libraries, highways etc work like this. Suggest this and Insurance companies, and corporate hospitals, wave the awful "socialism" flag. How long are we going to be stupid enough to fall for their scare tactics. My neighbor was an OSF employee, I was amazed at the lies her employer filled her head with in the 90's attempt for public operated health care. Best one was the aides would be doing surgery. What a hoot.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rezko Thoughts

See Rezko Thoughts on the Capitol Fax Blog.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rezko Guilty

Well, Tony Rezko was found guilty last week on 16 of 24 counts. Not real surprising although I think he had a good lawyer (Joe Duffy).

The Peoria Journal Star had an editorial on June 5 which is copied below. The editors wonder how far Rezko's ring of corruption travelled in Illinois. I think they are holding their collective breath that it does not involve Peoria.

See this conversation between Thomas Beck and Stuart Levine in 2004 from the Tribune. They were both on the Illinois Health Facilities Board and rigging the voting for Rezko. It is very interesting and one can see that they are hiding quite a bit in this conversation that they did not know was taped by the FBI.

Interestingly, Rezko checked himself into jail after the guilty verdict. I bet he feels safer there after the feds shook him down for names many months ago.

Below is the Journal Star editorial:

Journal Star
Posted Jun 05, 2008 @ 08:32 PM
Last update Jun 06, 2008 @ 11:18 AM

Everybody in Illinois is asking the same questions following Wednesday's conviction of Tony Rezko, the governor's friend and former fundraiser, on corruption charges. Who's next? Will "Public Official A" get his turn?

Of course, "A" is Gov. Rod Blagojevich, outed as being under investigation a few months ago by a federal judge at the onset of Rezko's trial. The revelations coming out of that deliberation - in testimony from the likes of Stuart Levine, Ali Ata, others - have been very damaging to this governor's reputation, which was not so great to begin with.

There is no debate about how influential Rezko was in this Blagojevich administration. Now a jury has taken Rezko's crimes out of the realm of "alleged," saying he essentially put Illinois government, its jobs and its business, up for sale to the highest bidders, while extracting his own cut. Officially, it's called fraud, bribery, money laundering, etc., though the popular term is "pay to play."

Sadly, we've become conditioned in Illinois - it's practically Pavlovian - to think this means another governor is going down, though Blagojevich has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, federal prosecutors have more than hinted whom they're after. "This is a crime that involves the highest levels of power in Illinois," one said in his closing argument before the Rezko jury.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's team may have a ways to go before they reach such altitude. Illinois government is an onion. Not only can it produce a pungent and unpleasant odor, not only does it often make you cry, but there seems no end to its layers of corruption. Peel back one, and there's another, and then another.

That's why we were surprised to hear Fitzgerald call the Rezko conviction "an antidote to the poison of corruption." Well, isn't he the optimistic one? Indeed, we're not so confident. Nor is former Fitzgerald assistant Patrick Collins, who wrote in the Chicago Tribune that "Illinois' bipartisan corruption virus is a particularly resistant strain." He should know, as he helped put former Gov. George Ryan away.

So embedded is this crooked political culture that the FBI has provided Illinois an extra public corruption unit. Its members have their hands full. We trust Fitzgerald will make his way down their list, one by one, until he gets to the bottom of it. Looks like he'll get the opportunity, as both presidential contenders, Barack Obama and John McCain, have said they intend to keep him in Chicago.

Fitzgerald's pattern is now so familiar - circling at first in a wide arc, then tighter and tighter until he pounces on his primary target - that we have a pretty strong feel for what happens next. Rezko will get a choice of two potential prison sentences. The shorter one will be in exchange for any information he has about others now under investigation, and of course for his cooperation in truthfully testifying to what he heard and saw. Rezko will have to decide what he values more - his professional relationships and loyalties, or his freedom and family. If past is prologue, few of these felons fall on their swords.

You'd think that eventually, those on the take in Illinois would get the message that certain political behaviors have just become too risky.

For his part, "Public Official A" says he's saddened by the verdict, but that he has work to do "for the people" of Illinois. We'd suggest that work has already been compromised by this trial and the possibility of more to come. Arguably there is no capital bill in Illinois because too few legislators trust the money to be spent honestly. Talk has picked up of the Illinois House pursuing the governor's impeachment.

None of this was unpredictable, but voters did what they did anyway. For all the talk of Eliot Ness-like federal prosecutors and stronger ethics legislation, Illinois also needs its voters to wake up.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Think of Tonya Sneed

On Sun, Jun 1, 2008 at 10:56 AM, Tonya Sneed wrote:

a friend from haiti
writes me about being hungry
i imagine that he is
about not having school fees for his son
i imagine that he doesn't
about his wife
wanting to start a little charcoal selling business
i imagine that she does
i think what it must be like
to be poor in haiti
where the price of spaghetti and rice has doubled
and here i sit
with so much power
i get to choose
how will i decide
maybe we'll go with my mood today
a flip of the coin
whether or not i feel
his hunger pains are
in my hands
think of that

(Pictured above is a doll in the pediatric clinic in Cite Soleil, Haiti. To the right is a "human mule" pulling sacks of charcoal, the remnants of Haiti's forests.)