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Decision on new Ill. city ambulance service looms

The search for Decatur’s new agency has been narrowed down to RuralMed EMS, Lakeside EMS, Echo Response EMS and Abbott/AMR EMS


Tony Reid
Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill.

DECATUR, Ill. — The race to find new ambulance services for the city of Decatur is in its final stage, with a decision expected within a week.

The search for new companies to provide emergency medical coverage has been narrowed down to four: RuralMed EMS, Lakeside EMS, Echo Response EMS and Abbott/AMR EMS.

Representatives from these companies took questions at a public hearing Monday about their ability to meet the needs of the Decatur area and far beyond: current provider Decatur Ambulance Service serves a sprawling range reaching into Shelby, Christian and Piatt counties as well as all over Macon County.

“We are pleased with the responses and information we received at Monday’s administrative hearing,” said City Manager Scot Wrighton. “Following some final discussions, the city will issue licenses and facilitate a smooth transition as soon as possible.”

Hospital Sisters Health System, which runs DAS, said it wants to pull the plug on the existing service by Sept. 1, after citing rising costs and staffing problems.

Deputy City Manager Jon Kindseth told the Herald & Review that the decision on the new providers should be known “within the next week or so.”

It’s likely to be more than one company getting the contract because the city, which gets to make the final decision, has said previously that it doesn’t want to be limited to one provider. And based on the proposals submitted by the companies bidding for contracts, Kindseth said it will take more than one of them to fulfill the requirements of Decatur and the wider service area.

“I think the city kind of suspected that none of the companies seemed to have the ability immediately to be able to serve the entire need we have, which is somewhere between six and eight ALS units (Advanced Life Support ambulances) around the clock,” added Kindseth.

Members of a working group advising the city will meet Tuesday to discuss the company finalists with the city administration. The working group has members drawn from the Decatur Fire Department, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital and Decatur Memorial Hospital, Crossing Healthcare and the Central Illinois Regional Dispatch Center.


(c)2022 the Herald & Review (Decatur, Ill.)

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