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August 3, 1994

Improving Health Care for the Poor

Author Affiliations

Cook County Hospital Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1994;272(5):351-352. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520050029012

To the Editor.  —In his article on improving health care for the poor, Dr Ginzberg1 includes Chicago, Ill, among four cities studied. He states that "Cook County Hospital, notorious for its steadily declining capacity and quality of care... [is] grossly inadequate to meet the needs of the poor." What capacity does he mean? The bed capacity at Cook County Hospital, 3000 before Medicare and Medicaid became law (1965), is now around 800 because many former patients are able to go to private hospitals as a result of those laws. No patient of any type is turned away from Cook County Hospital for lack of bed capacity. Does he mean medical capacity of the staff? We are actively affiliated in teaching programs with five of the six medical schools in the Chicago area, and the great majority of the staff have academic appointments. We have been extensively inspected by the

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