Israel Rocha Jr. - City Club of Chicago
Israel Rocha Jr.

Israel Rocha Jr.

Cook County Health
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, Mar 23, 2022
Doors Open at 12:30 pm / Event Begins at 1:00 pm

Location

Maggiano's Banquets
111 W. Grand Avenue
ChicagoIL 60654

Map and directions

Speaker

Israel Rocha Jr.

Israel Rocha Jr. joined Cook County Health (CCH) as Chief Executive Officer in December of 2020. CCH has a storied 185 year legacy of caring for all patients, regardless of income, insurance or immigration status. Today it includes two hospitals, including the Midwest’s largest trauma center, more than a dozen community health centers, Cermak Health Services - the medical provider at the Cook County jail and Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, the Cook County Department of Public Health and CountyCare, the largest Medicaid managed care plan in Cook County. Through the health system and the health plan, Cook County Health serves more than 500,000 individuals each year and has a $3.8 billion budget.  

Mr. Rocha came to CCH after serving as Vice President for the New York City Health + Hospitals (NYC Health + Hospitals) system and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals Elmhurst and Queens hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health system in the U.S. with a combined annual budget of more than $8 billion. 

Having served on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, Mr. Rocha brought significant lessons learned with him to Cook County. He quickly established himself as a hands-on, visionary leader who can motivate his team in the middle of the world’s biggest public health crisis in a century. Managing COVID patients would have been enough for many healthcare leaders but Mr. Rocha challenged the CCH team to think beyond its own walls to build what would be one of the largest community mass vaccination programs in the nation. Breathing new life into shuttered big box stores, repurposing convention centers and community colleges, and integrating vaccination initiatives at all CCH facilities and with partners across the County, CCH is well on its way to achieving Mr. Rocha’s goal of administering 1 million doses of vaccine. The health system has administered more than 910,000 doses as of November 21, 2021.  

Committed throughout his career to social justice and health equity, Mr. Rocha launched the Office of Equity & Inclusion at CCH in early 2021 to bring together disparate parts of the health system in a collaborative way to affect real change. This effort, coupled with a commitment to increase services and improve facilities at the system’s Provident Hospital; build centers of excellence in areas that disproportionately impact people of color like heart disease and diabetes; and continue to improve the quality of care delivered by Cook County Health, has been his main focus since arriving in Chicago less than a year ago. 

During his time at Elmhurst Hospital in New York, he successfully implemented an operational and clinical improvement plan that turned around financial performance from a $100M deficit to a breakeven point in less than three years. He increased patient revenue by more than $50M in 24 months through the implementation of a clinical services plan that expanded Elmhurst’s market share in several key service lines. Mr. Rocha established a patient throughput and quality assurance team that reduced patient length of stay by 1.3 days, reduced ER wait times by almost 30 percent, and improved physician engagement scores by 20 percent in the first year of enactment. Working with the team at Queens, Mr. Rocha launched the development of a Sickle Cell Center of Excellence, started a Hip and Knee Joint Replacement Program and launched the development of a new Primary Stroke Center.  

Mr. Rocha also served as Chairman, CEO and President for OneCity Health, a subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals. A public-private partnership of hundreds of organizations that helped secure more than $1.9 Billion in innovation funds from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, OneCity Health works to identify and engage patients in care before acute events by focusing on access, education, prevention, and disruption 

Mr. Rocha’s early experience includes serving as the CEO of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System in Edinburg, Texas and working on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science & Environmental Science from Columbia University, NY. 

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Upcoming events

Dr. Helene Gayle

President and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, in conversation with WTTW's Brandis Friedman
Wednesday, Jun 1, 2022
Doors Open at 11:30 am / Event Begins at 12:00 pm

Dr. Allison Arwady

Chicago Department of Public Health
Commissioner
Monday, Jun 6, 2022
Doors Open at 11:30 am / Event Begins at 12:00 pm

All guests must provide proof of full vaccination at check-in. 

City Club of Chicago event tickets are non-refundable. Tickets are transferrable.