Residents voice concerns with ambulance privatization - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Residents voice concerns with ambulance privatization

McDonough District Hospital in Macomb McDonough District Hospital in Macomb

A possible change to ambulance service has residents wanting to hear more. Hospital officials said they have no other choice but to privatize the ambulance service because the state is behind more than $23 million in payments.

Residents met with McDonough District Hospital officials Thursday night to voice those concerns and hear more information. Many said they just want more details about how this change will affect them.

"The community would like to see more investigation into what will be the future of our ambulance service," resident Larry Butcher said. "We've been told that they are going to contract it out. We are not satisfied that is the answer."

Hospital CEO Kenny Boyd said the state owes the hospital more than 23 million dollars...since the state isn't paying, he says they need to cut spending and this could save them 200 thousand dollars a year.

"That's really the driver behind looking at the possible privatization," Boyd said. "Can we provide the same or better level of service and reduce the level of negative cash impact on the organization?"

Butcher, a McDonough County farmer, is concerned about what the privatization could mean for rural areas. Resident Gary Johnson said he's also concerned about maintaining good service to students and staff at Western Illinois University.

"A rapid, good ambulance service is critical to the University to make sure that students are taken care of," Johnson said.

Boyd said they are listening to those concerns.  He said they have met with three companies that are interested in taking over the ambulance service, but the hospital has a list of requirement companies must meet.

"They have to assume our current staff, that the service is based in McDonough County, and so really working with them to make sure that the change is as seamless as possible," Boyd added.

The board is expected to make a final decision at the end of the month.

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