August 29, 2023

Duckworth Announces More Than $800,000 in Congressionally Directed Spending to Support At-Risk Newborns in Cook County


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that $863,000 she secured through a Fiscal Year 2023 Congressionally Directed Spending Request will be sent by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Cook County Health for its Caring for High-Risk Infants project. The funding Duckworth secured will help ensure families with newborns in John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) receive the high-quality care needed through the purchase of new, state-of-the-art incubators, infant warmers and other elements of critical care, replacing equipment that is nearly two decades old.

“Our state and our nation are stronger when we invest in our communities and families—and that’s one of the things Congressionally Directed Spending allows us to do,” said Duckworth. “I’m so proud I was able to secure this critical support for Cook County Health to help upgrade Stroger Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Every family deserves high quality care for their newborns, and making sure babies have what they need to be healthy and grow shouldn’t be dependent on your income level, the neighborhood you live in or the color of your skin.”

"We are deeply grateful for Senator Duckworth’s dedication to the well-being of our community's most vulnerable residents,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This investment in Cook County Health is a testament to the Senator’s commitment to equitable healthcare for all. Upgrading the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Stroger Hospital with modern equipment underscores our shared responsibility to ensure that every newborn, regardless of their circumstances, has access to the highest quality care. This funding reflects our collective belief that healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, and that every child deserves a strong start in life."

“Over the last few years, Cook County Health has cared for more than 1,000 tiny lives in our NICU, guided by amazing physicians and care teams,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha. “Being able to have access to new equipment, including state-of-the-art incubators, infant warmers and other elements of critical care, is essential for us to be able to carry out our mission of health equity for all.”

Earlier this year, Duckworth visited Stroger Hospital to discuss the impact of this critical funding.

Approximately one-quarter of babies delivered at Cook County Health’s Stroger Hospital require care in the NICU due to premature birth or other complicating factors. Cook County Health provides care to all, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status.

In FY22, Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) secured $211 million through Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) for Illinois and another $182 million for Illinois in FY23. The CDS process does not represent new spending, rather it enables Members of Congress to allocate existing funding for specific local projects by units of government, nonprofit organizations and other organizations that meet strict eligibility requirements.