Cook County Commissioners Alma Anaya (7th District), Anthony Quezada (8th District), and Bridget Degnen (12th District), introduced a resolution requesting a joint hearing of the Health & Hospitals Committee and the Finance Committee for a report on staffing agencies.
CCH has been utilizing staffing agencies to fulfill vacancies in various fields throughout its system, resulting in an increase in costs associated with temporary staffing contracts from 2018 to 2022.
“Cook County Health is a lifeline for many residents throughout the County and beyond. It is critical for our health system to prioritize investing in its employees, who serve our patients’ best interests and needs. We hope this hearing will bring forward a collaborative discussion regarding the steps necessary to ensure the reduction of agency reliance and present permanent solutions to sustain the longevity of our health and hospital system,” said Commissioner Anaya.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a historic challenge that has placed an enormous strain on our communities, our Cook County Health System, and the well-being of our frontline healthcare workers. That is why we need to make historic investments in our public healthcare system and workers and drastically reduce private agency spending to address healthcare needs across Cook County adequately,” said Commissioner Quezada.
“Our greatest resource at the Cook County Health system are the employees who dedicate their best efforts to the care and treatment of patients. To ensure we’re supporting our overall workforce, it’s critical to understand how agency hiring plays a role in the administration of the system. The County Board resolution requiring a hearing on this matter will focus the discussion on resource allocation and keeping the County workforce strong,” said Commissioner Degnen.
“Our members work hard to give underserved communities the high-quality care they deserve. Cook County Health plays a vital role as a public health institution, and patients deserve care that isn’t patched together by temporary agency workers. As a labor partner, we look forward to working with Cook County Health to make it a provider and an employer of choice.” said SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer.
“Local 73 thanks Commissioners Anaya, Quezada, and Degnen for this resolution. We look forward to this hearing which we believe will reveal the need to reduce agency spending and ensure fiscal responsibility and improved health care for the communities our members serve.”
SEIU Local 73 represents more than 1,200 frontline workers at CCH.