Cook County Health Program Focuses on ‘Whole Person Care’

  • Published On  Jun 18, 2019
  • Publication  WTTW
  • Author  Kristen Thometz


Ensuring a person’s health needs are met is a complicated task. There are annual physicals and screenings, treatment for unexpected illnesses and chronic conditions, therapy, follow-ups and tests.

But there are factors that are harder to access using traditional measures – an MRI can’t determine a patient’s access to food and housing. These are social determinants of health, and they have a hefty impact – particularly on the most vulnerable patients, such as those who rely on Medicaid or Medicare. According to Cheryl Lulias, president and executive director of Medical Home Network (MHN), which provides care for roughly a third of Cook County’s CountyCare Medicaid managed care program, about 20% of a person’s health is a result of medical care, while the other 80% is a result of social factors and other non-clinical factors like barriers to care.

“It’s important to focus on whole person care,” Lulias says.

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