Provident’s history includes service to community
by Wendell Hutson problem gets worse.
DEFENDER STAFF WRITER In fact, most Provident patients originate from
the emergency room, according to Dr. Aaron
The once Black-owned and managed Hamb, chief medical officer for Provident.
Provident Hospital of Cook County has been “Many patients treat the ER as if it's their pri-
providing community service to the poor and mary care doctor,” Hamb added, who has
uninsured for over 100 years. worked at Provident since 1993.
But its future is now in limbo after the Cook In 2008 Provident opened a new and bigger
County board recently voted to rollback the pharmacy to meet the growing demand for pre-
county’s portion of the state sales tax to 1.25 scription medications. It fills over a 1,000 pre-
percent from 1.75 percent effective July 1. scriptions a day mostly for free.
By doing so, Cook County Board President And because Provident has a track record for
Todd Stroger said the county stands to lose treating poor and uninsured patients who are
$200 million a year and has suggested closing often Black, Dr. Gayle Kates, chair of Pediatrics
Provident, 500 E. 51st St., and other county at Provident and an employee since 1980, said
health facilities as a way to make up the differ-
Doctors at Provident Hospital of Cook County are concerned about South Side com-
Provident is an easy target when it comes to
munities suffering if Provident should be closed in the near future. Defender/Wendell Hutson
Not everyone agrees with Stroger or William “The tragedy in American medicine today is
Foley, chief executive officer for the Cook
to handle the infusion of patients that more patients to make absolutely sure nothing was
that health care providers treat people different
County Health and Hospitals System, who last
than likely would flock there. missed,” he said. “Usually other hospitals will
based on gender, perception and income status,”
week said, “it’s highly likely we will have to
“I am not saying these places would not treat refer the poor and uninsured to Provident any-
close Provident Hospital.”
them. I am just saying they would not treat way for any follow up care.”
If Provident is closed by the county it won’t
Doctors, patients and the community are
them like we do, regardless if they cannot pay,” Only about three to five percent of the patients
be the first time the historic hospital has closed.
now speaking out about the important role
Crawford told the Defender. at Provident have insurance, said Dr. Carmen
Faced with mounting debt in the 1970s the
Provident plays to Chicagoans, especially
One example Crawford gave was a man who Hudson-White, a gynecologist at the hospital.
federal government extended a loan to
those living on the South Side.
came to Provident with a headache years ago But unlike most for-profit hospitals Provident
Provident, which enabled it to be constructed at
Dr. Clifford Crawford, a general surgeon at
after first going to another hospital for treat- is unique when it comes to serving the needs of
its current location.
Provident, has worked there since 1980.
ment. The other hospital gave him an aspirin the community.
However, Provident was unable to repay the
“This place used to be the only Chicago hos-
and sent him home. But because the man con- “There are very few community-based hospi-
loan and filed bankruptcy in July 1987. The hos-
pital where you could find a Black doctor,”
tinued to have headaches he came to Provident tals,” asserts Dr. Crystal Cash, chair of Family
pital would close two months later. In 1991
recalls Crawford. “So the mere thought of it
(through the emergency room). Once there Medicine at Provident. “Yes there are a lot of
Cook County purchased Provident from the fed-
closing is of great concern to me.”
doctors performed a series of tests, including a good hospitals in Chicago but none like
eral government for $1 and then spent millions
He worries that if Provident were to close
CAT scan, which revealed he had a blood clot Provident, which caters its treatment to the com-
to renovate it. And in August 1993 the hospital
the poor and uninsured would fall by the way-
in his head. munity.”
reopened under its new name.
side because local hospitals, such as the
“This man would have died had he not came She added that Provident has patients who
It has been a pillar in the Bronzeville commu-
University of Chicago, Mercy, Jackson Park,
to us. This is what I mean when I say doctors have not seen a doctor in 10 years or more and
nity since its inception in the 1800s when it was
South Shore and Roseland, would not be able
at Provident go a step further when examining often will not seek medical care until an ongoing
founded by the late Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
Family prepares to bury 12-year-old found
CHA receives award
in alley, $10K reward offered in her death
Defender Staff Report the community to help solve the pre- The next day they reported her missing.
teen’s “mysterious strangulation” murder Officer John Mirabelli of the Chicago
As the investigation continues into the case. Police Department's News Affairs office
death of 12-year-old Jahmeshia Conner, “Someone out there knows who killed said the body was found on that
The Chicago Housing Authority is being honored for
her family prepares to lay her to rest. Jahmeshia and they must muster the November morning behind the 6400
its work on the site of what was once among the most
Funeral services for the O’Toole moral fortitude and courage to come for- block of South Marshfield Avenue, a
notorious public housing complexes in the United States.
Elementary School fifth grader will be ward with what they know,” Rush said in block away from her home.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given
held Saturday at New Covenant Baptist a written statement. “Ten thousand dol- Dec. 1 the medical examiner’s office
the CHA and FitzGerald Associates Architects and
Church, 740 E. 77th Street. lars should be a large enough incentive to confirmed the body was Conner’s, and
Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation one of
On Nov. 30, her body was discovered loosen lips and open some mouths. We that she had been strangled to death.
four 2009 National Smart Growth Achievement Awards.
in a South Side alley, near her home in the want justice for Jahmeshia so this family Before the tragic discovery, some
The award was given for the way the CHA and the two
6500 block of South Marshfield Avenue, and our community can move toward clo- media reports had classified her as a run-
companies took the site of the former Cabrini-Green pub-
weeks after her family had reported her sure. None of us should rest until the per- away.
lic housing complexes and created a mixed community
missing. son who took her life is prosecuted to the But Conner’s family was adamant that
of public housing and middle income homes.
Friday, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-1st, fullest extent of the law.” she was a “good girl” and would not run
The site that’s called Parkside of Old Town was rede-
issued a $10,000 reward for “anyone who Conner was leaving church heading away.
veloped to include pedestrian paths and a street grid that
helps bring the killer to justice.” home on a Chicago Transit Authority bus Police officials said that from the
reconnects the development to the surrounding commu-
The congressman expressed outrage at Nov. 15, and her family never saw her
the slaying, and made a rallying plea for again. See JAHMESHIA, page 7
Chicago Defender • ChicagoDefender.com
• December 9-15, 2009
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