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Cook County hospitals' CEO up for task

Chicago Tribune, August 1, 2011

The Cook County Health and Hospital System faces a $96 million deficit and a troubled billing system, but its new CEO said he's eager to delve into the job. "This is an iconic public hospital system; there are not many public hospital systems like Cook County in this country," Ramanathan Raju, MD, the system's incoming CEO, said at a news conference in Chicago. "It's got a huge tradition; it's served a lot of people for many, many years (and) continues to serve the most wonderful community in Chicago." Raju, an executive vice president at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, begins his post leading the county's independent health system Oct. 3. He almost assuredly will be met with inquisitorial county commissioners, including Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle, who released a grim preliminary budget estimate this week forecasting a $315 million county deficit for next year, has blamed the hospital system's money woes for being a drag on county finances.