Thursday, January 06, 2005

How Deeply Involved at Cook County?

Another story out of Cook County, Illinois...
There is an ongoing federal investigation into the award of a $49 million contract for radiology services for the new Stoger Hospital of the Cook County health system. The contract first went to DD Industries, a joint venture of Siemens Medical Systems and Faustech Industries. The President of Faustech was politically connected, having made contributions to various County Commisioners. After General Electric sued, claiming the county had violated its bidding procedures in the award to DD Industries, a federal magistrate ruled that Faustech was not a legitimite partner in the deal, but was in it merely to arrange "access to county officials." The story came out when the Cook County Board President, John Stoger, for whom the hospital was named, warned County Commissioners to watch what they say to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
This is the second story I have found about the Cook County health system in a month. (See the first story posted here.) This story, about the questionable awarding of a security services contract, seemed to be another reason Stoger did not want his Commisioners talking to federal investigators. He warned them that saying too much could make the FBI "think you're involved deeper than you are."
It makes one wonder how deeply they were involved.
It also makes one wonder what is happening to the morale of all the doctors and other health care professionals who must labor in this system..., and the effects of all this on patients, not to mention the academic mission at Cook County.
It's not that I mean to particularly pick on Cook County, by the way. These sorts of "true crime" reports about various health care organization seem to be appearing daily in the news media (and who knows how many other reports appear in the vast number of media outlets that I don't scan). The news media, however, almost never deal with the effects of these shenanigans and skullduggery on patient care (and teaching and research when applicable). Until physicians, and the larger health community start paying attention to the extent and outcomes of health care mismanagement, we will have little chance of fighting it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, but so lucrative that nothing nationwide will ever be revealed. When I looked through civil court cases that were primarily "mal-practice" suits against doctors, hospitals, and speciality docs, there was always a very strong "suggestion" of something "smelly" with the involvement of the "labs", especially X-Rays etc. I have my suspicions what was/is at play(scoping/bogus treatments-surgeries, etc.) so understand it won't ever be investigated.