Cook County Health chair to step down
Cook County Health Chairman Hill Hammock is planning to step down at the end of his term, Crain’s has learned.
Hammock, who serves a senior adviser for local banking advisory firm Verit, will not seek another term once his current one expires at the end of June, sources familiar with the situation say. He was appointed to the Cook County Health board in July 2013, according to his bio.
He did not immediately respond to Crain’s request for comment.
The two-hospital network’s 12-member board has five standing committees that oversee its finances, personnel issues, quality and patient safety, as well as its Medicaid managed care plan which serves over 380,000 people in Cook County. Board members elect one of their own to serve as Chair and Vice Chair each year annually. The current Vice Chair is David Ernesto Munar, the President and CEO of Howard Brown Health.
Hammock’s term is set to expire in June. He previously spent 31 years at LaSalle Bank, retiring in December 2006 after the organization was acquired by Bank of America. He went on to serve as chief administrative officer for Chicago Public Schools, and continues to serve on a number of civic boards.
Two other members’ terms – Mary Driscoll and Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter – are also expiring around the same time as Hammock’s. Driscoll, a retired administrator with the Illinois Department of Public Health who was appointed to CCH in 2016, did not immediately return a request for comment. Reiter, appointed in 2017, told Crain’s he plans to apply again.
The board late last year tapped Israel Rocha Jr., previously an executive at NYC Health + Hospitals, to lead the Cook County’s public health system, after voting to remove Dr. John Jay Shannon from the role he’d held for roughly five years.
Following Shannon’s exit, the Cook County Board of Commissioners regained more control over hospital system decisions, granting Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle a direct appointment to the independent board and the power to approve all future CEOs.
The rising cost of uncompensated care is among the most pressing matters addressed by the board in recent years. In 2019, CCH’s flagship hospital spent $309 million – or 51 percent of its revenue – on charity care, according to the latest state data. As a percentage of revenue, the public health system spends far more on free care for low-income patients than other large hospitals in the county. While CCH gets a tax allocation from the county for public health and correctional health operations, it doesn’t get taxpayer money for traditional medical services.