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County Touts New Care Plan For Low-Income Residents

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dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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New Program Gives Poor More Access To Health Facilities

%name County Touts New Care Plan For Low Income Residents
WBBM 780/105.9FM

CHICAGO (CBS) – Cook County officials said they’ve found new and better ways to provide low-income residents with health care, and the efforts are bearing fruit.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports Dr. John Jay Shannon, interim CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System said the county’s not just running hospitals and clinics, it now has its own Medicaid-managed care plan, called CountyCare.

“The big change here is that, in addition to being a provider of care, we are also now running a healthcare plan for lower-income individuals in the county,” he said.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more low-income people now have health care coverage through CountyCare, and they can use facilities closer to home – and not just county-run facilities.

“Ninety-seven thousand people who previously didn’t have insurance now have it through CountyCare, and we have 130 primary care access points; so lots of neighborhood-based community health facilities [and] 38 hospitals,” Preckwinkle said.

Shannon said CountyCare gives low-income residents access to more health care facilities, not just those owned by the county.

“The second part of the opportunity, aside from getting people care closer to their home is the ability really to reach out to populations that have heretofore kind of floated in and out of care only when they’ve had an emergency,” he said.

County health care is the topic of this week’s edition of “At Issue,” airing Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.