November 19, 2008
Letters to the editor
To the editor:
It appears that Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) wants to be the exclusive provider of ambulance emergency care in Pekin. The Pekin City Council will vote on this issue.
In Peoria during the last 15 years AMT was the exclusive provider of paramedic and transport care of emergency patients. Unfortunately, the Peoria Fire Department firefighters with paramedic skills were not able to use their skills unless AMT was on scene.
The Peoria patient frequently had to wait valuable minutes until AMT arrived before they received advanced life support.
The Pekin Fire Department Web site states they have 49 firefighters with 21 of them having Intermediate or Paramedic skills.
In other words, many Pekin firefighters have the ability to provide advanced skills for the patient.
My hope is that the Pekin Fire Department will not be restricted in the same way as was the Peoria Fire Department.
OSF in Peoria is the main supporter of AMT. OSF controls Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in this entire area. The physician in charge of EMS works for OSF and the Director of the Emergency Department at OSF is the Corporate Medical Director of AMT.
Sue Ann Kortkamp, a Pekin City Councilperson, is Executive Director of Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation in Peoria. Ms. Kortkamp should abstain and not cast a vote regarding AMT becoming the sole provider of ambulance care in Pekin due to her conflict of interest.
The people of Pekin deserve fast expert care that the people of Peoria have not been able to receive. Conflict of interest with businesses interests need to come after citizen safety.
Whether it be the Pekin Fire Department paramedics or AMT paramedics, the earliest-best-trained individual on the scene, should be able to provide emergent care for the people of Pekin.
Some background for this article is at www.pmmdaily.blogspot.com
John A. Carroll, M.D.
City, AMT Eye Deal for Services
By Ed McMenamin
Times staff writer
PEKIN - Pekin City manager Dennis Kief said he hopes a deal with Advanced Medical Transport that would formally establish the company as the only ambulance service in town can be finalized by May 1.
He said a potential contract with AMT would tighten communication between AMT and the city and require AMT to pay a fee for its exclusive medical transport privilege.
AMT pays about $80,000 annually to Peoria in a deal similar to the one Pekin is seeking, he said. He estimates a fee paid to Pekin could be around $38,000.
Currently AMT pays a fee to the Tazewell Pekin Consolidated Communications Center, as does the city of Pekin and other agencies that use the center's dispatching services.
He said a deal would “formalize a lot of loose ends.”
Language in the potential contract could require annual sit-down meetings between Pekin and AMT, the sharing of Geographic Information Services and other technology and communications equipment.
Kief said agreements of this type are common, similar to contracts with utility companies or cable television providers. A contract wouldn't significantly alter the services AMT provides in Pekin.
Typically, when an emergency call is placed, the Pekin Fire Department is the first responder to the call, followed by AMT, according to Pekin Fire Chief Chuck Lauss.
He said the department has firefighters certified at all three levels of emergency medical training, but the department is only licensed to perform EMT intermediate services. AMT staff are the only personnel licensed to provide EMT paramedic services - the highest level - in Pekin.
“The firefighters and the paramedics on the street work well together,” he said. “(Firefighters) know that when the ambulance gets there they turn over patient care and the patient will be transported to the hospital and taken care of.”
Firefighters with EMT Intermediate training can intubate and establish an IV to administer medications and fluids, among other services. He said EMT paramedics can provide some more advanced medications and services.
Peoria physician John Carroll said in a letter to the Pekin Daily Times (see page A13) that AMT's service in Peoria restricts firefighters from using their paramedic training, resulting in patients waiting for AMT to arrive before receiving care.
Lauss said that is not an issue in Pekin.
“The firefighters that are on scene are there working the patient continually until the transport agency gets there,” he said. “As far as just waiting around - they don't just wait around - they do work with that patient, give the patient care until the agency gets there.”
He said that a requirement mandates any firefighter hired on since 2000 has to attain the intermediate level of training at the first available class.
“What happens is when the 911 calls come in, because of the strategic location the fire stations are in, we generally arrive on scene first,” he said. “We're able to assess the situation and get things started prior to the transport agency getting there.”
AMT spokesperson Sharon Kennedy said the business uses three ambulances in Pekin, but that number fluctuates depending on the time of day. Each ambulance has a crew of two people.
She said a potential deal would be a “financial arrangement more than anything.”
“It allows us to more securely invest in the marketplace,” she said. “We feel much more secure Š in buying more ambulances and training people.”
She said a deal would provide job security to both AMT employees and security to Pekin residents knowing they have a locked in transport provider.
“It's kind of a win-win. I suppose, for everybody,” she said.
She said she was not aware of any other private ambulance businesses in the area, but that many communities provide their own, municipally owned ambulance services.
“Some of the cities around us have asked (AMT) for proposals at certain times and could have saved a lot of money by not getting into the transporting business,” she said. “But because of (individual politicians') political concerns, (they) have done that.”