Friday, February 13, 2009

Eric Whitaker and the University of Chicago Emergency Department

See this article in the Chicago Tribune today.

Here are some points regarding this article:

1. It seems like the poor and underinsured are the people who will be moved around. These people on the South side of Chicago are not trusting that the system is geared to help them.

2. To have a system of community hospitals and clinics linked together to help non urgent cases and keep them out of the emergency room makes sense on paper. Will it work in real life?

3. Would Dr. Eric Whitaker, Director of Urban Health Initiative at U. of C., agree to take his child to John Stroger Hospital (Cook County Hospital) with the same injury that the child in this article had? Dr. Whitaker stated that the hospital does not take into account the insurance status of patients deciding who will be diverted to other hospitals. In this article, the child's mother stated the opposite. Who are we to believe?

4. The Tribune found that the U. of C. Medical Center was near the bottom among Cook County non-profit hospitals in the rate of free care it provides to indigent patients even as it reaps tens of millions in tax benefits based in part on its promise to treat the uninsured.

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