Sunday, November 30, 2008

OSF and Peoria Catholic Diocese View Humanae Vitae and Haitians the Same

OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria are hypocritical.

Their actions do not seem to respect life at conception or the lives of Haitian children.

Both OSF Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione and the former Catholic Diocese Vicar-General Monsignor Steven Rohlfs helped design the OSF contraceptive policy and both men helped destroy Haitian Hearts in Peoria.

Does not sound Catholic to me.

Below is a Peoria Journal Star Forum article written by my brother Tom and me regarding OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria's describing OSF's way of getting around Humanae Vitae.

Forum: OSF Contraceptives Policy is at Odds with Catholic Doctrine

Journal Star
Posted Nov 07, 2008

Re. Oct. 18 story by Gary Panetta, "Catholics & Contraception":

Panetta correctly points out that the Catholic Church's policy regarding artificial contraception is "maligned and misunderstood." Sadly, much of that is due to inconsistent teachings and actions from Catholic leaders.

In the mid 1990s, OSF and Bishop John Myers implemented a policy that allowed OSF physicians to write prescriptions for oral contraceptives on OSF property. This policy, still in place today, was created so OSF could stay competitive in the medical marketplace.

This flies in the face of the church's consistent position that it is a serious sin to prescribe or use contraceptives.

The loopholes used by OSF to justify this policy are known as "Limited Private Practice" and "Third-Party Payer." The idea that OSF physician employees are suddenly transformed into "non-employees" for the few seconds it takes to prescribe an oral contraceptive would be laughable if it were not so obviously wrong. And sorry, but using a "third party payer" to administer payouts for contraceptives doesn't change the fact that OSF HealthPlans covered them. Long before HealthPlans was sold to Humana, contraceptives were listed by brand name on the plan's Web site of preferred drugs.

Perception is very important. What are people to believe about the Catholic doctrine of Humane Vitae when they can go to an OSF office and come out with a prescription for birth control pills?

OSF Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione stated that the "policies were approved by our local bishops." Therefore, we ask Catholics in the Peoria Diocese to petition Bishop Daniel Jenky to change a policy that is so obviously against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Tom Carroll

John Carroll, M.D.
West Peoria

Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We Hope Pekin Does Not Make Peoria's Mistake

Pekin Times

November 19, 2008

Letters to the editor

Exclusive Provider

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

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.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Heureuse Survives

A very well-meaning missionary with tired eyes brought her to me.

When I first met Heureuse in Haiti in the early 2000’s she was the same petite and polite woman that she is today.

With my stethoscope placed over Heureuse’s heart, I could hear a loud gushing noise coming from her diseased aortic valve. A hole in her heart was nestled just below the bad valve.

Heurese needed heart surgery to stay alive.

Heureuse’s sister Eva had kept her alive while Heureuse’s body was all bloated with fluid. Eva had even made tapes for her. When Eva was in the capital, and Heureuse was lying on her mat in her home in the coastal village of Bainet, Eva’s recorded voice would tell Heureuse to stay alive.

Heureuse did stay alive, got out of Haiti, and survived major heart surgery performed by a large medical center in the United States.

But this year Heureuse has become real sick again and now the large medical center does not want Heureuse back for repeat surgery. It seems they are comfortable letting Heureuse the survivor silently slip away in Haiti.

Incredibly, last week, Heureuse was accepted by another excellent medical center in the United States for surgery.

So what exactly has Heureuse survived?

She survived dark lonely breathless nights in a slum of Port-au-Prince. Her family was far away.

She survived the powerful macrostructures far from Haiti which control her world and influence her misery.

She survived the rich and powerful of her own government and business community that don’t view her as human, let alone a human with dignity.

She survived the kidnapping business in Haiti and the haphazard bullets of the Blue Helmets.

She survived four tropical storms--- Ike, Gustav, Hannah, and Fay. She survived the subsequent brown mud and sewage that ripped down the mountain into her slum and shanty.

She survived the loss of her children’s father as he vomited blood and moaned as he died.

She survived giving away her children this year as she prepared to die.

She survived the disappearance of Eva in the Dominican Republic.

She survived heart failure this year as the operative repair she had done at the big medical center fell apart.

She survived the painful memory of the United States and all of its rich food and clean water. She survived the memory of the blan that cared for her then…

She survived the silence and abandonment of people at the large medical center that should have said something, should have done something, as she was being led to the gallows.

She survived the silence of the Bishops and Monsignors and Sisters and medical center chaplains who should control and influence the true philosophy of the medical center.

Heureuse has survived total despair.

She needs to survive a few more days.

E-Mail to Pekin City Council Member and OSF Foundation Director

Sue Ann Kortkamp is Executive Director of Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation.

She seemed to be an able leader but I think she was caught in a tough spot at OSF.

For example, Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children's Hospital of Illinois, asked one of Sue Ann's employees at Foundation to divert money from Rotary Club North to Children's Hospital of Illinois. The money that Rotary collected was to go to Haitian Hearts directly---not Children's Hospital.

Sue Ann must have been cringing.

Also, Mr. Kramer did all he could to get his hands on $180,000 dollars raised by Haitian Hearts volunteers when we built and sold a new home in East Peoria in 2002. Mr. Kramer told the the Haitian Hearts people that constructed the house that "there is no such thing as Haitian Hearts". (Mr. Kramer also asked Jim Sullivan, who was holding the house money for Haitian Hearts, to release the money to Children's Hospital. Mr. Sullivan refused. Haitian Hearts donated the entire sum to Children's at the end of 2002, right before Mr. Kramer called the American Consulate in Haiti.)

Again, Sue Ann must have felt bad to see this happen.

And a physician at OSF made very generous contributions to Haitian Hearts that never made it to Foundation (according to Sue Ann and her secretary) and Haitian Hearts was never credited with the physican's gift.

Haitian Hearts received no evidence from Foundation that people had donated significant monies to Haitian Hearts in late 2003. We pressed the issue and asked Foundation many questions...finally, after multiple attempts on our part, at the end of 2003, Keith Steffen signed a check over to Haitian Hearts of donations that had come in for Haitian Hearts patients in 2003. Haitian Hearts doubted that we would have ever received that check from OSF if we had not pressed Foundation to pressure OSF Administration to give us money that was donated to Haitian Hearts.

Sue Ann may have wondered where Caterpillar, Inc. donation to Haitian Hearts went in 2001. Caterpillar Inc. was donating $10,000 dollars a year for Haitian Hearts to go directly to Children's Hospital of Illinois. (Paul Kramer told me in his office that Haitian Hearts was becoming too much competition for Children's Hospital.) However in 2001, the computer printout revealed that Caterpillar Inc. had donated only $500 dollars to Haitian Hearts. In other words, Haitian Hearts would only have been credited with a $500 dollar donation to Children's Hospital of Illinois. I wonder where the other $9,500 dollars of Caterpillar money went?

And during the late 90's and early 2000's Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 MILLION dollars to Children's Hospital of Illinois. We were honest amidst the dishonesty that was surrounding us at OSF.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan told me that OSF had "done Haitian Hearts wrong."

Sadly, Sue Ann had to watch as OSF turned their back on dying Haitian Hearts patients in Haiti that had been operated at OSF. She watched as Paul Kramer told the pediatric cardiology group to cancel an important test on one of the Haitian children in Peoria. She watched as Paul Kramer notified the American Consulate in Haiti to stop the kids from attaining non-immigrant visas to come to Peoria for heart surgery.

Sue Ann could not have been happy with OSF at that point. But what could she do? OSF is her boss.

Sue Ann sits on the Pekin City Council. She will vote regarding AMT becoming the exclusive provider of ambulance care in Pekin.

I sent her the following e mail the other day:

Dear Sue,

As a council person in Pekin, you have the most first hand information how OSF "works" in Peoria. You have also seen how OSF has worked against Haitian Hearts patients that needed repeat heart surgery and did not survive. You were obviously unable to change OSF's policy abandoning Haitian kids.

I hope you can use your position in Pekin to protect the people of Pekin.

I read in the Peoria Journal Star that AMT would like to have an exclusive contract with Pekin.

My hope is that the earliest-arriving-best-trained-person is able to provide immediate care for the person that calls 911 in Pekin.

Please see these two links regarding Peoria's EMS situation. They provide a background regarding EMS, the Peoria Fire Department, AMT, and the way the policy regarding EMS care has evolved in Peoria.

Thank you.

John A. Carroll, M.D.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pekin and Advanced Medical Transport...Here We Go Again

Pekin in talks with AMT for ambulance service
Deal would make AMT the only service in town

of the Journal Star
Posted Oct 31, 2008 @ 08:29 PM

PEKIN — Advanced Medical Transport and city administrators are working out a deal to make AMT the only ambulance service in town, and the company will pay the city for the privilege.

"We'd like to get this accomplished by the end of the year," City Manager Dennis Kief said Friday about the pending franchise agreement giving AMT an exclusive contract to provide ambulance service in Pekin.

Kief said negotiations are in the earliest stages, and the franchise agreement would benefit both parties.

Pekin and others cities commonly enter into franchise agreements with telephone, cable, water and power companies, eliminating competition for those businesses.

In exchange, companies pay cities for the privilege of being the only provider of a particular service.

"It does in fact generate a fee for the municipality," Kief said of the pending agreement, but a specific amount is still being negotiated.

Currently, AMT provides ambulance service in Pekin and pays a portion of costs incurred by the city and county dispatch center.

Kief said an agreement would also bring better efficiency because the city and AMT would share reports and could better collaborate when emergency calls are received.

"I think it's a good thing for both sides," he said.

Administrators with AMT could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mayor Dave Tebben said the agreement would be modeled after the one between AMT and Peoria.

"We're in the early stages of discussion," Tebben said, adding that he and Kief have met with AMT only once.

Tebben said the agreement could also provide city firefighters with additional training.

Kief said the city is preparing an offer to give AMT, which will then make changes and recommendations to the proposal.

The Pekin City Council will have the final say on the agreement.

"It's not yet on the agenda," Tebben said.

Kevin Sampier can be reached at 346-5300 or

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Comments (1)
AMT wants to be the exclusive provider of ambulance service in Pekin. In Peoria for the past 15 years this has meant that Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) has been the only provider of paramedic service and transport. AMT did not want the Peoria Fire Department to be in the ambulance service.

I hope the Pekin City Council makes the right decision. Many lives depend on this.

The history of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Peoria is complex and has not been transparent. It is also shrouded in conflict of interest. And I hope that Pekin does not make the same mistakes that we have made in Peoria.

Quick history of EMS in Peoria:

An EMS region in the state of Illinois is controlled by a medical doctor. This medical doctor is called the Project Medical Director (PMD). He is the physician in charge of EMS units in municipal areas, rural areas, volunteer fire departments, and Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) based in Peoria.

This physician is employed by OSF in Peoria. This physician controls what goes on in Pekin too.

For many years the PMD in Peoria was Dr. George Hevesy. Dr. Hevesy is currently the Director of the Emergency Department at OSF and is Corporate Medical Director of AMT. He receives a salary from both OSF and AMT. AMT has been the only paramedic and transport agency in Peoria for many years.

The current Project Medical Director works for OSF and Dr. Hevesy is his boss.

The three hospitals in Peoria and Pekin Hospital all have a big interest in AMT. They all support AMT and have had hospital administrators on AMTs board.

If AMT gets the exclusive contract in Pekin, it would mean that AMT calls the shots and I believe that the Peoria based Project Medical Director is going to support AMT. I worry about what this may mean since the Peoria Fire Department has been mired at a basic level and the Peoria Fire Department doesnt even own an ambulance for transport. AMT has stated in the Journal Star that the Peoria Fire Department could not upgrade if AMT was the exclusive provider in Peoria. What kind of community service is this?

Many cities in Illinois and around the country have their EMS based out of their fire department. They often work in conjunction with transport agencies such as AMT.

Reviewing the Pekin Fire Department website reveals they have 49 firefighters and 21 of them have Intermediate or Paramedic skills to provide for Pekin when 911 is called for someone in distress. In other words, many Pekin firefighters can provide advanced skills for the patient.

People want to know that the best trained person that arrives at their home be able to help them immediately. When the Pekin Fire Department arrives at the scene of a medical emergency and they have paramedic/firefighters with them, these paramedic/firefighters should be able to provide emergent care right away. For many years in Peoria, the Peoria firefighter/paramedics have NOT been able to provide this service for Peorians. The patient had to wait until AMT arrived to receive advanced care. How many lives were lost with this policy?

This is a highly political issue. Physicians are afraid to speak out in support of the most appropriate care for the 911 patient because of all of the business and hospitals that support AMT.

The Pekin City Council will get inundated by people that support AMT. However, these same people may be looking at the business side of medicine and not the compasionate side. We can only hope that the Pekin City Council makes the right decision for the people of Pekin and that conflict of interest does not get in the way as it has in Peoria.

John A. Carroll, M.D.