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CHAMPAIGN – Beware of coughing friends and relatives next week, especially if you'll be having Thanksgiving dinner in some areas of northern Illinois.
Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, has been on the rise this year in Lake County and Chicago. And clusters of pertussis have turned up among school-age children in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties, state public health officials say.
Vermilion County has had one reported case this year, but the patient was an Indiana resident, and there haven't been any cases reported in Champaign County this year, local public health officials said.
URBANA – Whether it's your aching knee or your tonsils about to go under the knife, you may not see the surgeon these days unless your wallet appears first.
Carle Clinic has joined a growing number of physician groups now requiring patients to pay a deposit in advance of all non-emergency surgeries.
The policy, which excludes obstetrics and gynecology procedures, went into effect earlier this month, and so far, a clinic official said, most patients haven't complained.
URBANA – A mountain of unpaid Medicaid claims is piling more financial stress on Illinois hospitals at a time they can least afford it.
As the nation's economy has worsened, hospitals have seen their supply costs rise, borrowing options narrow and a growing number of patients unable to pay their bills.
And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's been months – since August, in fact – that these hospitals were paid for the care they provided for patients on Medicaid, a state-administered health plan for the poor, Illinois Hospital Association spokesman Danny Chun said.
CHAMPAIGN – Betty Shaw smoked her first cigarette about 30 years ago because it made her feel cool.
Problem is, she didn't stop at one.
"One cigarette led to another, and I just kept on going," she recalls.
Now a retired Kraft employee, Shaw eventually smoked her way to high blood pressure and a shortness of breath so severe she had to sit down in the middle of her housecleaning.
But it was the economy that finally forced her to quit. Prices on everything were going up, and she figured all that money she was spending on cigarettes would be better spent on other things.
One year and two months ago, Shaw enrolled herself in a Champaign-Urbana Public Health District quit-smoking program, and she's been happily smoke-free ever since.
CHAMPAIGN – A veteran public health worker was the unanimous choice Monday night to head the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.
Julie Pryde, a 14-year veteran who started as an intern, has been acting interim administrator since August 2007, when her predecessor, Vito Palazzolo, was fired for dubious spending.
URBANA – The city council thinks it has worked out compromise language about what should be done if Carle Foundation Hospital expands its north Urbana campus and existing residences are removed.
Council members, meeting in committee, voted unanimously to approve revised language for dealing with replacement housing in the proposed Crystal Lake Neighborhood Plan. Final passage will be considered Monday.
CHAMPAIGN – Dr. John Stokes reaches into a pile of magazines in a Christie Clinic exam room and grabs one with a luscious-looking dessert on the cover.
So much of our society centers around eating, he says. Is it any wonder his patients have such a tough time controlling their weight, even when their lives depend on it?
"Everywhere you go, you're bombarded by food," he says.
Worried about coping with the holiday season because you're mourning the death of a loved one?
The Provena Hospice Center for Grief, Loss and Hope says it can help.
The organization is offering two free workshops in Champaign and Westville to help provide holiday coping skills for those feeling overwhelmed and saddened by a loss.
DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Health Department's A-OK Network will sponsor an event from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the New Life Christian Center, 2105 N. Bowman Ave. Danville, to mark the beginning of its Parent Cafes program.
The event will provide information about three upcoming Parent Cafes, the first of which will be in January. It also will allow parents to get to know each other and help them identify issues affecting young families.
DANVILLE – For 70 years, Hubert Doan, 91, has lived on Bryan Avenue across the street from what was once St. Elizabeth Hospital, later became Provena United Samaritan Medical Center's Sager Campus and is now a grassy, empty lot.
Like other Rabbittown residents, Doan is happy to hear that Mercy Housing, a nonprofit organization sponsored by Catholic Sisters, is considering the former hospital property as the site for a new senior-citizen housing complex.