Cook County at a Glance
Breaking New Ground for Resident Health Care
The Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) stands at a turning point. We have a historically high level of insured patients, due in large part to the successful implementation of CountyCare, our Medicaid health plan. Now the focus is on building a modern, integrated health system that is a provider of choice, not of last resort, for all our residents.
The Cook County Health & Hospitals System’s three-year strategic plan, Impact 2020, calls for a continued focus on improving the patient experience. With nearly one million outpatient visits annually, CCHHS is planning to renovate, rebuild or relocate all of its community health centers in the coming years. This starts with the redevelopment of our Central Campus Health Center, for which a groundbreaking took place in December of 2016. An investment of over $100 million, this new nine-story outpatient and administrative building will open in 2018 and replace Fantus Clinic, which was built in 1959. In 2017, we will also see significant improvements at our clinics in Palatine, Logan Square, Cicero and Oak Forest.
Expanding Behavioral Health Care
At the same time, we are investing in patient care and expanding and strengthening the care we do provide. The Cook County Health & Hospitals System serves as a major provider of substance abuse and mental health treatment in the region. CCHHS CEO Dr. Jay Shannon and his team are implementing an ambitious behavioral health plan that includes expanding substance abuse treatment, integrating behavioral health into primary care and working to better link our justice-involved population to health care both during detention and post-release.
In July 2016, CCHHS opened its pilot Community Triage Center (CTC) in the Roseland neighborhood to provide early intervention services for individuals who are at risk of detention or hospitalization due to behavioral health conditions. A first of its kind in Chicago, the CTC provides evaluation, crisis stabilization and treatment for patients presenting with psychiatric and/or substance-related crises, and works closely with the local hospitals and outpatient mental health services to best meet patient needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Cook County is working with the Chicago Police Department to enable police officers to drop off individuals and rapidly return to their patrol areas. By providing the CPD with an alternative to arrest, individuals get more appropriate care and we can expect further reductions in the jail population.
Did you know?
Greenhouse gases from county buildings have decreased by 22% as of 2016, doubling the target reduction of 10%.
Encouraging Reform and Equity in Public Safety
A sweeping reform of the law that had automatically transferred many children to adult court took effect in January of 2016. We have seen a 73% reduction in the number of youth automatically transferred as a result of this reform.
For the first time in more than two years our Automatic Transfer Population has dropped to less than 100 young people. In fact, overall our Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) population continues to decline. Over half of the difference in population can be directly attributed to transfer reform.
In 2016 we successfully ended 5-year mandatory probation sentences for juveniles. This reform, which goes into effect in 2017, will reduce juvenile probation caseloads, and allow probation officers to focus on youth who are both at highest risk and in highest need. We also reduced the practice of sending juvenile drug offenders to prison. We recognize that treatment works and prison does not.
Cook County has long had the largest single-site jail in the United States.
The jail’s primary function is pretrial detention. Some defendants must be held before trial when they are charged with committing violent crimes or if they are a threat to flee the jurisdiction. We have worked hard to improve decision making about pretrial release to make sure people are not held just because they are poor. Pretrial detention drives people deeper into the criminal justice system because they lose their jobs, their homes, and their connections to family and community. Fortunately, the number of people in pretrial detention is lower, reducing the chances of damaging people’s lives simply because they have been charged with a low-level, nonviolent crime.
The divisional population at our jail has declined to less than 7,500. We have historically tracked this population and its decline because it is the best indicator of whether reform efforts in bond court are actually reducing the number of pretrial detainees in the jail.
We have moved from reducing the population to closing and now tearing down divisions. Under Phase 1 of the project plan, Divisions 3 and 17 (a combined 135,000 square feet) will be completely demolished in 2017. The larger Division 1, with 344,000 square feet, will follow. The demolition will begin in 2018. Completion of the project will reduce the detainee capacity of the campus from 11,300 to about 9,600, a 15 percent decrease.
In addition to preventing the County from spending millions of dollars on deferred maintenance, demolition helps to keep the focus on reducing both the overall county real estate footprint and the jail campus footprint.
Did you know?
In 2016, The Department of Contract Compliance registered 733 Minority- and Women-Owned Firms.
The Department of Transportation and Highways patched 948.7 tons of potholes.
Economic Development Does Not Stop at County Borders
The movement of people across municipal and county lines to travel to and from jobs means that we need to think regionally. With this in mind, President Preckwinkle convened the first regional economic forum, the Chicago Regional Growth Initiative, in December 2013. This unprecedented gathering included executive, economic development and business leaders from Cook County as well as the City of Chicago and DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. Many successful initiatives have come from this collaboration, including assisting small- and medium-sized businesses with exporting their goods and entering new markets, streamlining the maze of permits and regulations impacting truck movement throughout the region, and strengthening the fabricated metal and machinery sector.
Based on the strength of this regional collaboration, the federal government designated the Chicago region as one of the select “Manufacturing Communities” in the U.S. Cook County led this effort to bring together more than 45 organizations and local units of government to form the Chicago Metro Metals Consortium (CMMC). CMMC represents an unprecedented partnership uniting all seven counties in northeastern Illinois, the City of Chicago, research institutions, workforce agencies, training colleges, businesses, universities, trade associations, and other member organizations.
This designation assigns preferential treatment when competing for federal funds. To date, Cook County has already secured $12.6 million in federal and private funding to support the region’s metal firms in areas such as energy efficiency, workforce development, trade and innovation. We can also offer metal manufacturers new resources to support and grow their businesses through collaboration and networking, market intelligence and promotion of the region as a leading center for manufacturing.
Through its Bureau of Economic Development, Cook County has a menu of programs to reduce operating costs and increase the competitiveness of manufacturers. For example, through the use of a tax incentive, a longtime metal stamping operation based in Schiller Park remained in Cook County. An industrial pump manufacturer utilized a county tax incentive to support the relocation and expansion of his business in Broadview. A tool manufacturer in Lyons has grown his business as a result of the assistance he received from Metro Chicago Exports.
Did you know?
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management conducted 221 trainings and exercises for more than 9,000 first responders in 2016.
The Department of Revenue received $1.2 million through the new Voluntary Disclosure Program.
Raising the Profile of the Forest Preserves
As residents of Cook County, we are the benefactors of nearly 70,000 acres of managed open space. Cook County is the most ecologically diverse county in the state. The Forest Preserves offer unlimited opportunity for people to connect with nature, improve their health and well-being, and bond with their families and loved ones. The Preserves also serve as an economic engine for many businesses in Cook County; they are a popular regional attraction and sustain the life of important eco-systems.
Under the tireless leadership of Superintendent Arnold Randall, we are continually working to find ways to make our operations more effective and efficient without losing sight of our mission and our commitment to our residents.
Guided by our Next Century Conservation Plan, an ambitious long-range vision for the Preserves, we are continuing to increase the awareness and use of our Forest Preserves with capital investments, stronger partnerships, community engagement and the implementation of an aggressive restoration plan. We are continuing to build a community of support around the value the Forest Preserves bring to each and every person who lives in Cook County.
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Watch the trailer for the Emmy-winning Forest Preserves Documentary.