Category: Healthcare

Loyola Records Record Spike In Flu Cases, Implements Flu Visitor Restrictions

Friday, January 5, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Last month, Loyola University Medical Center tested more than 1,200 patients experiencing flu-like symptoms such as coughing, headaches and fever — 357 of whom had a lab-confirmed case of influenza, according to Dr. Jorge Parada, the medical director of Loyola’s infection prevention and control program.

Continue reading “Loyola Records Record Spike In Flu Cases, Implements Flu Visitor Restrictions”

Open Enrollment Ends Friday, Dec. 15

Monday, December 11, 2017 || By State of Illinois || @maywoodnews 

[PRESS RELEASE] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) is reminding consumers that the 2018 Open Enrollment period ends Friday, Dec. 15. All Illinoisans needing health insurance coverage for 2018 must enroll by 11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.

Continue reading “Open Enrollment Ends Friday, Dec. 15”

Loyola to Acquire Berwyn Hospital as Part of Expansion Effort

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: The Center for Translational Research and Education located on Loyola’s Health Sciences Campus. | 

Maywood-based Loyola Medicine has agreed to acquire MacNeal Hospital — a century-old, 368-bed community medical center based in Berwyn — along with its affiliate operations, from Tenet Healthcare Corporation, which is an international for-profit healthcare services company based in Dallas, Texas.

Continue reading “Loyola to Acquire Berwyn Hospital as Part of Expansion Effort”

Gottlieb Gets $12.8M Gift for Emergency Department Renovation

Friday, October 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: The exterior of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 701 W. North Ave. in Melrose Park. | Gottlieb Memorial Hospital 

The Gottlieb Memorial Foundation announced on Oct. 5 that it has pledged $12.8 million to help pay for the renovation of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital’s emergency department.

Continue reading “Gottlieb Gets $12.8M Gift for Emergency Department Renovation”

How Loyola’s Medical School in Maywood Became a Sanctuary for DACA Recipients

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Dr. Mark Kuczewski, a Stritch medical professor, in his office. | Alexa Rogals/ Wednesday Journal 

A local professor has put a medical school located in Maywood on the front lines of the national controversy surrounding President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.

Continue reading “How Loyola’s Medical School in Maywood Became a Sanctuary for DACA Recipients”

Congressman Blasts GOP Health Plan, Calling It ‘Nothingcare’


Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressman Danny K. Davis, state Rep. Camille Lilly and other lawmakers and community leaders during a press conference last Friday at Loretto Hospital in Austin. | Michael Romain/VFP

Monday, May 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Several years ago, a sudden, “catastrophic” diagnosis of end-stage renal disease forced Monica Fox to stop working.

“I spent three years on dialysis — three days, four hours at a time,” said Fox, who received a kidney transplant five months ago, a gift she attributed to the Affordable Care Act.

Fox spoke at a May 5 press conference convened at Loretto Hospital in Austin by U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th), Rev. Jesse Jackson and other lawmakers, healthcare providers and union officials one day after the House Republicans narrowly passed a bill designed to repeal and replace the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare.

Fox and others who spoke at the press conference variously called the Republican plan “Trump-care,” “Trump-don’t-care” and “Nothing-care.”

“The ACA made it possible for me to have the proper insurance I need,” said Fox, who lives in the south suburbs.

“While I have been unable to work, I’m getting to the point of going back to work. If [the Republican plan] goes into effect, I will be faced with devastating news that i have a pre-existing condition that may not be covered by my employer’s insurance,” she said. “That’s disgusting and whoever thinks that’s a good idea is sick.”

The Republican plan, which passed 217 to 213 on a party-line vote, now makes its way to the Senate, where many Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including Davis, believe it’s likely to either die from lack of support or be completely overhauled.

The House bill that passed Thursday is the Republican Party’s second attempt to repeal and replace the ACA since President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Both attempts have generated considerable popular backlash.

According to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released in March, voters in the U.S. opposed the first GOP health plan by a 3 to 1 margin.

“Disapproval of the Republican plan is 56 – 22 percent among men, 56 – 13 percent among women, 54 – 20 percent among white voters, 64 – 10 percent among non-white voters, 80 – 3 percent among Democrats, 58 – 14 percent among independent voters and by margins of 2-1 or more in every age group,” reads a statement released by Quinnipiac in March.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the first version of the Republican bill, which failed to come to a vote, would take away health insurance from 24 million Americans within 10 years, cut federal funding of Planned Parenthood and it could spell the end of Medicaid expansion, a provision of the ACA which allowed millions of low-income Americans to receive health coverage, among other possible consequences.

During last Friday’s press conference, Jackson and others didn’t mince words when talking about the Republican plan’s potential effects on the lives of poor, elderly, disabled and minority Americans.

“In Illinois, 37 percent of the children receive coverage through Medicaid. There are 649,000 Illinoisans enrolled under ACA and this bill is designed … cut that out and replace it with Trumpcare, Nothingcare,” Davis said.

“Implementation of the Republican bill will lead to loss of coverage for 24 million people nationwide. Overall, 44,269 Illinois residents covered under the ACA and [more than 252,000] are covered under expanded Medicaid, which will be in danger in Illinois.”

“This is a shame, an international disgrace,” said Jackson, who also said that the attempt to repeal the ACA marked “the unraveling of our democracy.”

State Rep. Camille Lilly (78th), who is also Loretto’s vice president for external affairs and development, said that the repeal of the ACA will “harm our local community here in Austin and on the West Side. It will devastate us.”

Lilly referenced a bill she introduced that allows felons returning home from prison to get signed up with the ACA 45 days before their scheduled release.

Loretto’s CEO and chief medical officer, Dr. Sonia Mehta, said that a possible repeal of ACA would “negatively impact our ability to take care of our communities.” Mehta said that 85 percent of Loretto’s patients are enrolled in either Medicare or Medicaid.

Oak Park resident Melanie McQueen said that the bill will put children with preexisting conditions in danger.

“This is literally a life and death situation,” she said. “There’s no reason in today’s age we have children who will die because of something preventative. When we say it affects all of us, it affects even our unborn children.” VFP

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Dominican Launches New Health Sciences College With Goal to Train More Minorities in the Field


Dr. Richard “Sal” Salcido, the founding director of Dominican University’s new master’s degree program in physician assistant studies, operates on a 3-D cadaver inside of Palmer Hall, where the university’s new College of Health Sciences in housed. | Below, Debra Gurney, the executive director of the college’s undergraduate nursing program, sits with a medical manikin. | William Camargo/Wednesday Journal

dominicannewcollege_wj_120716_3Tuesday, December 6, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Dominican University in River Forest launched their College of Health Sciences this year, which includes undergraduate degree programs in nutrition and dietetics, medical studies, and nursing, plus a new master’s degree program in physician assistant studies. The latter, university officials said, will begin enrolling students in early January.

In a statement, officials said the new college is “part of an ongoing effort to meet critical shortages of health care workers in Illinois and across the nation.”

“We are committed to preparing many historically underrepresented practitioners in the health sciences, including women and minorities, to become exceptional, compassionate health care professionals in their communities,” said Dr. Dan Beach, the interim dean of the College of Health Sciences.

“In addition, we are focused on helping first-generation college students pursue their dreams in the medical field,” he said.

In an interview last week, administrators in the new college explained there has been increased demand among incoming students to study health sciences.

“The nursing major for undergraduates has been the [most popular program among incoming freshmen] for two or three years,” said Debra Gurney, executive director of nursing and chief nursing officer at Dominican.

“We just admitted our third cohort of students,” Gurney said. “We started out three years ago in the fall with 18 students and now we have a total, between the juniors and seniors, of 102 students in the pipeline.”

Dr. Richard “Sal” Salcido, founding director of physician assistant studies, said the demand for physician assistants (PA’s) — who are similar to general practice doctors and qualified to examine, diagnose and treat patients while being supervised by physicians — is rising, in part because of the program’s return on investment.

“I think probably about 98 percent of [PA’s] get jobs before they graduate and the average salary is over $90,000 a year,” said Salcido, adding that the two-year PA program, which costs about $88,000, is much less expensive and less time-consuming than becoming a full-blown doctor — which can take up to 14 years after medical school, internships and residencies are completed.


According to the Association of Medical Colleges, the median four-year cost of medical school in the United States was nearly $280,000 for private schools and more than $200,000 for public schools.

“There’s not enough health care professionals to care for patients in the hospital and, of course, baby boomers are being admitted to the hospital in force,” said Gurney. “When we started, our mission was to provide the community with nurses because there’s a nursing shortage; then we extended [that mission] to the graduate level with the physician assistant program.”

Dominican officials said that the College of Health Sciences launch required a multiphase buildout of the university’s Palmer Hall, which now features simulation hospital rooms stocked with state-of-the-art 3-D anatomy tables and medical manikins that can replicate numerous functions of the human body — from breathing and bleeding to giving birth.

In addition, Gurney and Salcido said, the new college experienced an infusion of personnel this year, with the nursing program going from two full-time faculty members when it began to six full-time faculty members and 15 part-time members. The new PA program has around five full-time and two part-time faculty members.

Beach estimated that the additional capital and personnel costs for expanding, and launching, the nursing and PA programs were around $3 million to $4 million, with much of that paid for by private funding from donors.


It’s an investment, university officials said, that will pay off in spades, considering the growth of the health care industry. By 2024, according to recent data published in Health Affairs, spending on health care could account for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. GDP.

Salcido, who was recruited by Dominican from the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked on trying to attract more underrepresented minorities into health care fields.

According to a study published last year in JAMA Internal Medicine, only 15 percent of the nearly 17,000 medical school graduates in 2012 were members of minority groups, including 7 percent black and 7 percent Hispanic.

“The medical profession in itself doesn’t really match the pluralistic society we live in,” Salcido said. “Only about 3 percent of Hispanics are able to get into PA schools. So, we made it a mission to recruit students who are minority, who are first to go to college and who are military veterans. We just filled our first class [of 30 students] and we have about 11 Mexican-American students who sailed right through the admissions process. We got about 14 who are the first to go to college.”

Among those students is 27-year-old Gabriela Velazquez, a graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts and a native of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Velazquez, who is the first in her family to go to college, said she worked for several years before enrolling in Dominican’s PA program.

“As a PA, you have more time with patients and more patient interaction,” Velazquez said. “You can also move between different specialties pretty easily. That caught my attention. But the main reason I wanted to [pursue this field] was to give back to Pilsen, which is really under-served in the area of health care.”

“We work so hard in building a program,” said Beach. “The culmination of that is actually seeing the faces of students when they get on campus. It wasn’t just the students; they brought family, too. They all remarked what a warm, accepting, supportive atmosphere they found here. There’s a lot of competition to get into these programs, but the competition is over now. The important thing is to get everybody across the goal line.” VFP

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