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Health center would need to serve more than Evanston

County Commissioner Larry Suffredin says plans by Evanston city officials to set up a Federally Qualified Health Center in Evanston have hit a bit of a roadblock: There aren’t enough needy people in Evanston to meet rules for establishing such a facility.

County Commissioner Larry Suffredin says plans by Evanston city officials to set up a Federally Qualified Health Center in Evanston have hit a bit of a roadblock: There aren’t enough needy people in Evanston to meet rules for establishing such a facility.

But Suffredin, in an interview this week with Evanston Now, said he hopes that by expanding the area served by the proposed center to include Skokie, the funding standards can be met.

He says he’s collaborating with Evanston and Skokie officials to try to work out arrangements for such a plan.

The health centers are designed to provide primary care to persons without health insurance and the underinsured, and by reducing the need for expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations, they reduce overall health care costs, Suffredin says.

Among other advantages, he says, the centers can save money because their doctors are covered under federal tort immunity rules, which means they don’t have to buy malpractice insurance. And the centers can buy pharmaceutical products at Veterans Administration rates lower than those available elsewhere.

He says three such centers already operate in the Rogers Park portion of his County Commission district.

He says Cook County now runs 16 health clinics, mostly on the south side and south suburbs, and that he hopes they can be converted to FQHC status. That he says would save the county health system money that could instead be spent on improving operations at the county’s level one trauma center, Stroger Hospital.

Evanston residents now could go to the existing centers in Rogers Park, but Suffredin and city officials hope to provide more convenient access by establishing such a center here.

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Related links

Federally Qualified Health Center (Wikipedia)

What is a health center (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

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