Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he will look into a claim that Oak Forest Hospital's uninsured patients stopped getting bills four to six months ago, possibly contributing to a loss of revenue for the cash-strapped county. Bills for self-pay patients at the facility have been piling up since Dr. Robert Simon, the interim chief of the Cook County Health Bureau, ordered the finance department to stop sending them, according to a billing clerk at the hospital. "Six months now - not one bill has gone out," said Marianne Morang at a public hearing on the proposed county budget. "No bills going out, no revenue coming in." Jamie McPeek Johnson, director of billing and patient accounting services at Oak Forest Hospital, said the department stopped billing uninsured patients in June or July as part of an effort to restructure the bureau's charity care program.
She said the self-pay bills stopped going out as county officials worked to make the language on the bills consistent among the three county hospitals. She also said the department still was billing Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield.