I’ve been following the shifting incentives for the health care system in Chicago. The main thrust is that the hospital system is becoming slowly segregated, to put it in the bluntest terms.
My angle tends to focus on the University of Chicago Medical Center because I’m based in Hyde Park. My recent interview with the main actors follows.
Urban Health Initiative marking slow progress
The University of Chicago’s Urban Health Initiative is making incremental progress in convincing patients to find a primary care physician and not use the emergency room as a first option for health care.
The Urban Health Initiative started in 2005 as a program to set up appointments at local clinics for patients who seek treatment in emergency room for minor health concerns. Appointments are now being kept by more than a third of patients referred by the medical center, a modest rise over previous years.
“We’re trying to change social norms and that’s hard,” said Dr. Eric Whitaker, the lead on the initiative and associate dean of community-based research.
Whitaker said the no-show rates for appointments are approaching the levels at the university’s primary care and specialty clinics.
Patients referred to clinics by the university after being treated in the emergency room are still missing appointments about twice as often as those who go straight to one of partner community clinics.
Less than a third of patients are missing appointments at the Chicago Family Health Center, 9119 S. Exchange Ave., according to Warren Brodine, CEO of the clinic.
Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t understand this ordinance that’s being debated by City Council. I think TIFs are largely way to make sure rich neighborhoods get to keep the tax revenue they generate, while poor neighborhoods are stuck with whatever they can scrape together.
I wrote a story about the newest idea for TIFs. This ran July 21, 2010, in the Hyde Park Herald as a news analysis
Alds. support TIF cash for affordable housing
Local aldermen have joined over half of their colleagues in supporting an ordinance that would mandate more tax increment financing (TIF) money get funneled into affordable housing development.
“Once every decade there’s another idea about affordable housing and how we can bring more resources to the table,” said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who co-sponsored the City Council’s 1993 and 1999 ordinances that increased city spending on low- and moderate-income housing.
The current idea, the Sweet Home Chicago ordinance drafted by Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, would pump more TIF funding into affordable housing developments.
“This ordinance is quite simple in how it would work,” Julie Dworkin, director of policy for the Coalition for the Homeless, told a joint meeting of the Housing and Finance committees on July 7. Dworkin said the coalition is pursuing TIF funding to fill the gap left by dwindling state and federal funding for affordable housing.
The ordinance would require the city find affordable housing projects to fund that add up to 20 percent of the total revenue generated by the city’s TIFs the previous year.
Read the rest of this entry »