New ambulance service could mean quicker response - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

New ambulance service could mean quicker response

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The current ambulance run by the hospital The current ambulance run by the hospital
McDonough District Hospital main entrance sign McDonough District Hospital main entrance sign
Kenny Boyd, CEO of McDonough District Hospital Kenny Boyd, CEO of McDonough District Hospital
Lights on the ambulance Lights on the ambulance
The new ambulances will be housed in the city's fire stations The new ambulances will be housed in the city's fire stations
MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -

If you get in a crash or your family needs medical attention next year, help could be there quicker in McDonough County.

McDonough District Hospital in Macomb made the final approval for ambulance privatization, meaning relocation of the county ambulances.

Right now, all of the McDonough County ambulances are housed at the hospital, but once Lifeguard takes over, emergency vehicles will be put in the Macomb fire stations, with the goal of increasing response times.

Residents like Stephanie Spencer hope it's not an empty promise.

"It'd be a good thing," Spencer said. "It would make it better on people."

McDonough District Hospital approved Lifeguard to take over the ambulance service and 911 calls in the county. Hospital CEO Kenny Boyd said they have more manpower, experience and equipment to better serve the county.

"As we're moving forward, we'll have two 24 hour trucks, plus the addition of a 12 hour truck per day," Boyd added. "On top of that, they will add a chief paramedic, who will also have access to a quick response vehicle."

The city will house the ambulances in both fire stations, which Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson said is a win-win for the city.

"It's a money producer for the city," Torreson said. "We'll get rent from the fire stations. We also get paid on an hourly basis for drivers on probably a third to half of their calls."

The new agreement will also save the hospital around $100,000 a year.

"That's going to help us continue to reign in cost, while still maintaining and improving services for the community," Boyd said. "So that money will be used wherever it best fits the needs of the organization."

Joe O'Donnell works in Macomb and hopes the privatizing the ambulance doesn't mean a higher bill for patients. But he said a faster service is needed.

"Funds being what they are, the hospital being strapped as it is," O'Donnell added. "I believe something has to be done in order to make sure that the citizens of this community have reasonably quick medical attention."

Hospital officials said while they don't discuss exact pricing, they anticipate patients to pay a similar price as they do now. Lifeguard is expected to be up and running by Feb. 5.

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