Originally Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013, 9:16 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 18, 2013, 10:55 pm
New ambulance service starts this weekend
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ROCK ISLAND -- A new level of emergency care transportation will debut this weekend through a partnership between Trinity Regional Health System and Advanced Medical Transport.
Starting today, a different fleet of ambulances able to provide a higher level of service and care for residents of the Blackhawk, Orion and Sherrard fire protection districts formerly served by Trinity Ambulance service will begin responding to 911 calls, according to a Trinity news release.
Advanced Medical Transport is a nationally recognized company that specializes in providing ambulance services for emergency and nonemergency patient transport, the release said. AMT will begin answering911 calls today and add nonemergency transport by early February.
The new service means transported patients will have access to better technology and up-to-date equipment staffed by providers with the most advanced clinical skills, the release stated.
It also will mean higher rates, but those rates are comparable to other ambulance services in the area, said Jay Willsher, Trinity's chief operating officer.
"We discovered we had been undercharging patients when a market analysis was done," said Trinity spokeswoman Erin Lounsberry. "The rates will be $590 for a basic life support transport and $700 for an advanced life support transport, which is in line with what other ambulance and transport services in this area charge.
"They do accept Medicare assignment and third-party insurance," she continued. "AMT also has a financial assistance program to help those without insurance."
Exact numbers weren't available Friday afternoon, but the rate increase is expected to be about
15 percent, she said.
The partnership provides coverage for areas Trinity Ambulance used to cover, Ms. Lounsberry said. Italso enables AMT to provide better back-up coverage for transport or 9-1-1 needs if patient volume dictates.
AMT has additional resources in Peoria, Pekin, Streator, Aledo and Iowa City.
About 50 EMTs, billers and others were involved in Trinity's in-house service, Mr. Willsher said. Of those, about 40 will remain to work with AMT. The rest will transfer to other sections of Trinity or have left for other opportunities.
AMT will use six vehicles to cover the fire protection districts, AMT head Andrew Rand said. The four Trinity ambulances they are replacing also will be held in reserve andused for special events, Mr. Willsher said.