Lack of leadership takes toll on nurses
February 13, 2007
Last Wednesday a group of nurses and community supporters went looking for Cook County Board President Todd Stroger at the historic site of his and his father's political organization: the Democratic Party's 8th Ward headquarters. Braving subzero temperatures, we tried to deliver more than 3,000 cards and hundreds of letters from patients and elementary students targeted by Stroger's budget cuts. This was the fourth action in two weeks by county nurses seeking to elicit some sense of leadership from the president....
...What is remarkable, although rarely reported, is the fact that, despite working short-staffed and mismanaged, and now facing mass layoffs, county nurses continue to fight to create a county health care system that lives up to the ideals espoused by President Stroger's father, John H. Stroger. We will succeed in this struggle with or without the current president.
But, Stroger's callous disregard is taking its toll. Facing the threat of layoffs and a president who doesn't care, several of our Advanced Practice nurses have already resigned.
Ironically, under Medicaid, the care provided by these nurses can be reimbursed at 100 percent of the physician's rate. Instead of seeking constructive reforms that could capture such vital revenues, Stroger has targeted these nurses for layoffs!
Stroger has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't care about county patients, county caregivers or even, given his friends and families hiring policy, county taxpayers.
Having failed to find leadership in the president's office, we now look toward the county commissioners to help us find solutions in this time of deep crisis....