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The Best Kept Secret in the Southland: Community Perspectives on Oak Forest Hospital


In June and July of 2010, Citizen Action/Illinois surveyed patients, family members, community health providers, nurses, physicians and other staff that utilized or worked with Oak Forest Hospital, part of the Cook County Health and Hospital System. Over 50 interviews were conducted with patients and family members of patients from the Ventilator and Long-Term Care units, E.R., Outpatient, Inpatient, and Rehab Services, and over 50 interviews with providers from the same services.  

This report summarizes the perspectives of current and former patients, relatives of patients, and employees of Oak Forest Hospital.  Several were videotaped and can be viewed at  Others are identified by their titles or by the services they utilized, per their request.

In late June, the CCHHS Board of Directors adopted a five-year “Strategic” Plan to transform County health services, a plan which includes the elimination of Emergency Room Services and Inpatient Care at Oak Forest.  Consequently, patients and providers were asked to answer two general questions: 1) What has your experience been as a patient/provider at Oak Forest Hospital? and 2) What consequences do you foresee for Oak Forest Hospital users if the Strategic Plan is approved?

The full Cook County Board of Commissioners must vote on whether to approve, modify or reject the CCHHS Strategic Plan this summer.