Keep County Open

A documentary about the efforts of staff and of community activists to keep Cook County Hospital from being shut down. Cook County Hospital workers rally on October 13, 1979 at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago.

00:22Copy video clip URL A large crowd of demonstrators holding signs chant “Keep county open! Keep county open!” A montage of footage from other protests.

00:56Copy video clip URL Speakers address the protestors. 

01:45Copy video clip URL Dr. Arthur Hoffman, attending physician, talks about the history of Cook County Hospital, reaching back to the mid-19th century. 

02:34Copy video clip URL Dr. Linda Murray, resident physician, talks about the recent policy changes that have harmed Cook County Hospital and its patients. 

03:41Copy video clip URL Interviews with people on the street outside of Cook County Hospital about how the closing might affect the city: “If you don’t keep it open I think there will be more people who will die in Chicago, needlessly.”

04:30Copy video clip URL Hoffman asserts that people will die from preventable reasons if the hospital closes or if they start to charge fees that their constituency cannot afford. 

05:30Copy video clip URL More interviews with people on the street about the potential effects of closing the hospital. 

07:15Copy video clip URL Hoffman discusses the effects on the quality of care that recent cuts and other changes have produced, including closing entire departments and massive staffing shortages. 

08:45Copy video clip URL Discussion on the street of the staff being horribly overworked and about the dangers of closing the hospital. Comparison to service at other hospitals. 

11:04Copy video clip URL Hoffman talks about County’s “most essential service,” which is providing health care to all patients regardless of whether they can pay for treatment. He contrasts health care for poor people with health care for rich people whose insurance pays for their treatment. “Working people at best have 80% coverage because all the major medical policies are 20% deductible – 20% self-pay. So it’s only the poor people at County who come here with no insurance and no Medicare and no Medicaid who are told they have to pay the whole thing, who are told they have to pay thousands of dollars in costs out of their own pocket. The rich people don’t pay a dime because they have health insurance that covers every cent. So it’s not just that poor people can less afford to pay it, it’s that poor people are the only ones who are being *asked* to pay it at this point in history.” 

12:00Copy video clip URL Discussions on the street about spending tax money on public health services and communicating the need for public support to government officials. 

15:11Copy video clip URL Murray emphasizes the need for hospital staff to tell their community about the situation at the hospital, and to convey the urgent need for action to save it. Speakers at the protest convey similar sentiments as supporters chant “Keep county open! Keep county open!”

16:35Copy video clip URL Protesters march, singing “The rich get richer and the poor get sicker, keep county open!” 

17:10Copy video clip URL End credits. Directed by Paul Perez. Video Crew: Edward Colon, Harry Hoch, Jacinto Perez, Paul Perez, Maria Piña. Editors: Harry Hoch, Jacinto Perez, Paul Perez. Technical Assistance: Annette Barbier. Special Thanks to those who continue to work for quality healthcare, especially at Cook County Hospital. Funded by: Department of Human Services, CETA VI,  Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, National Endowment for the Arts, Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center. Produced by: Ruiz Belvis Community TV, Community TV Network. Copyright 1980. Edited at The Chicago Editing Center. 



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