Thursday, February 19, 2009

Looking Back...Life Support Call Unacceptable

I found two mind blowing articles today in the Journal Star Archives which I have printed below and in the next post.

In 2001, while OSF, Dr. Hevesy, and Keith Steffen were preparing to fire me, I learned from multiple different people at OSF and EMS agencies in the Peoria area that Dr. Hevesy, OSF-Emergency Department Director, was also on the payroll at Advanced Medical Transport. Everyone, including an OSF-ER physician were screaming "conflict of interest" regarding Dr. Hevesy.

EMS providers everywhere seemed to be upset but did not know what to do since Dr. Hevesy held their EMT licenses in his hand. Dr. Hevesy also works for the IDPH and has some power and friends at the State level (which might not be a position of prestige right now...)

One day, after being warned by others, I waited for Andrew Rand, Executive Director of AMT, to leave Dr. Hevesy's office at OSF. I was having yet another meeting with Dr. Hevesy regarding my limited future at OSF. And remember, AMT was paying Dr. Hevesy, the Peoria Fire Department was not.

I was being educated by many people in the area regarding how EMS in Peoria worked.

A good friend of mine told me in detail how she lost her husband to a heart attack at OSF while waiting for Advanced Medical Transport to arrive at her home and transport her husband. Dr. Hevesy spent a fair amount of time in her home with her to try and stop a lawsuit against OSF and AMT. And over the next few years, I became aware of other people in the area that waited excessive times for AMT's arrival with subsequent bad consequences for their loved ones.

In 2002, I wrote an OP-ED which the Journal Star printed in November, 2002. The article was about my concerns that OSF and AMT were dangerously monopolizing ambulance paramedic and transport care in Peoria. (I had to submit it twice over two months since the Journal told me they never received it.) Today, I looked for my article on the Journal Star Archives and cannot find it. Maybe it is there, but I sure can't find it.

Anyway, today after my search in the Journal Archives the article below showed me that I was NOT the first to complain or document Peoria's dangerous EMS. In fact, I was ten years late.

What is not mentioned in these articles is the fact that Dr. Hevesy was being paid by AMT and, because it hadn't happened yet, AMT with Mr. Rand at the helm, was found guilty of Medicare fraud and fined over $2,000,000 dollars by the Federal government. (Peoria's three hospitals paid the fine.)

Here is the article and Pam Adams article is in the next post.

And if I can find my missing OP-ED, I will post it. Many forum articles followed it in the years to come...some supportive of AMT and some not supportive of the AMT ambulance paramedic monopoly.

Interestingly, OSF leaders defended their EMS policy to the max.... until they changed the policy in 2008. The new policy allowed the Peoria Fire Department to advance to paramedic providers for the first time in their history. More on that later.

And kudos to Peoria firefighter Terry Carter for being the first to document Peoria's dangerous EMS. I wonder how many lives in Peoria have been lost in the intervening 16 years?


Life Support Call—Response Time Unacceptable
April 1, 1992

Journal Star (Peoria, IL)
April 1, 1992


The citizens of Peoria need to be informed of the fact that Firefighters Local 544's warning to the City Council has come true.

A basic life support call was received by Engine 12 at the Lutheran Home on Galena Road (across from the now vacant Fire Station 17) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on March 19. Engine 12 just happened to be at the Fire Academy on Galena attending a CPR refresher course and responded to the nursing home, providing initial care in less than three minutes.

It took the ambulance, the one specially assigned at the foot of War Drive to cover the area lost by the 17's, 10 minutes and six seconds to arrive on the scene. This proves that response times to this area are unacceptable even under ideal conditions. Had it not been for fire units training across Galena Road, the ambulance would have been first on the scene.

A heart attack or stroke victim doesn't have 10 minutes and six seconds to spare. The public needs that initial Emergency Medical Services crew on Engine 17 that has been snatched away from them by their elected officials.

In addition, City Manager Peter Korn stated on local television that the ambulance used at War Memorial Drive and Galena Road to cover the loss of Engine 17 is a rescue team. It is not. They carry no extrication tools of any type. This crew can't even aid the fire department in extrication of accident victims for they carry no personal protective equipment such as leather gloves, helmets or eye protection.

Finally, I would like to bring attention to two people for their work.

First is Andrew Rand, manager of Advanced Medical Transportation, for aiding our city officials in not only reducing EMS personnel, but also lengthening response times through ambulance relocation. He exaggerated AMT's ability to quickly respond to Engine 17's area, rather than aiding in the fight to keep Engine 17 in service.

Second is Mayor James Maloof, who begged and pleaded to join the United Auto Workers at their recent rally in order to appear to be on the union's side. Does the mayor need to be reminded that the United Auto Workers and the International Association of Firefighters are both AFL-CIO unions?

Terry S. Carter
Peoria Firefighters
Local 544 Peoria

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