Posts Tagged Illinois Department of Public Health

Antioch First Fire District not renewing with Antioch Rescue Squad

The Daily Herald has an article about a decision by the First Fire District not to renew a contract for EMS with the Antioch Rescue Squad.

The Antioch Rescue Squad (ARS) faces an uncertain future after the First Fire Protection District of Antioch announced it will not renew its emergency management service contract with the volunteer organization in May, cutting ties with the squad after 75 years. The decision announced Tuesday night by the three-member fire district governing board means the troubled rescue squad will no longer provide assistance in Antioch Township on emergency rescue calls or in transporting patients to area hospitals.

In its letter to the ARS governing board, officials from the First Fire Protection District of Antioch said “the time has come for the district to look at options to provide EMS service other than our longtime partnership with ARS.” It said the district will utilize the Antioch Fire Department, the emergency service provider for the village of Antioch, when the current contract expires May 9.

“I’m personally disappointed,” ARS Chief Brian DeKind said Wednesday. “It means, after 75 years of service, the squad will not be providing emergency ambulance care in Antioch.”

The ARS now faces the prospect of having to shift its focus away from emergency medical services or go out of business.

Antioch Rescue Squad members are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss ways it can continue to serve the community “through programs such as home health care and wellness checks,” DeKind said in a news release. DeKind added that, until last year, the volunteer-based ARS was the sole emergency service provider in Antioch and Antioch Township since 1940.

He stressed that ARS operated without placing a tax burden on the public, instead raising operating funds from donations and memorials. It purchased its own equipment, vehicles and supplies at no cost to taxpayers, he said.

However, trouble started for the ARS in 2012 when a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by three former members against several rescue squad colleagues and high-ranking rescue squad officials.

That lawsuit led to an Illinois Department of Public Health investigation that revealed some rescue squad members were mistreating patients, allowing employees to begin shifts within hours of excessively drinking alcohol, and slipping medications into the food and drinks of fellow squad members. The state later fined ARS and asked for operational changes.

Also, former Antioch Rescue Squad treasurer John Edgell was charged with theft of more than $10,000 after it was determined he had been taking cash from the squad. He pleaded guilty in November to a misdemeanor count of theft and was forced to pay back $25,000.

The mounting problems pushed former chief Wayne Sobczak to retire and led to former rescue squad President Steve Smouse to step down. DeKind replaced Sobczak and was tasked with rebuilding the squad’s tarnished image.

Village officials and the ARS cut ties in May 2013, resulting in the Antioch Fire Department handling emergency medical calls in the village, and the ARS handling emergency calls in the township.

In Tuesday’s letter announcing the split, the fire district board said its decision to change EMS service to the Antioch Fire Department will put financial, operational and personnel command for emergency services in Antioch and Antioch Township under one unified command. Antioch Fire Department Chief John Nixon said township residents will see no disruption in service when the change takes place May 9.

The letter from the First Fire District to the Antioch Rescue Squad;


thanks FFPM71

And from the Lake County News Sun:

The First Fire Protection District, serving Antioch Township, is terminating its contract May 1 with Antioch Rescue Squad to provide emergency medical services in the township. This follows action taken a year ago by the village of Antioch to terminate its contract with ARS, a not-for-profit organization of volunteers that had provided 911 ambulance service for all Antioch-area residents since it was created in 1940.

In a letter from the First Fire Protection District’s board of directors, the squad was lauded for its service to the community but informed the squad that on May 1 it would be providing EMS services through the Antioch Fire Department.

Ambulance service for village residents is provided using contract personnel and part-time paramedics and EMTs on the fire department staff using village-owned ALS (advanced life support) ambulances.

Fire Chief John Nixon said ambulance service will be provided in both the village and unincorporated area with fire department staff and ambulances. “All of our ambulances will serve both the village and unincorporated areas out of three stations, including two in the village and one on Grass Lake Road in the unincorporated area that is being staffed now by ARS.” He said unincorporated Antioch will continue to see quality EMS care and there will be no lapse in services.

ARS Chief Brian DeKind said the membership will meet later this week to discuss their options. “We could serve other municipalities, but the more realistic approach is to either dissolve the squad or serve the community in a different way, such as privately contracting with residents for medical transportation service. We want to continue to serve the community.”

ARS had updated its policies and procedures, changed leadership and reorganized its board of directors since it was cited and fined in 2012 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for violations of EMS protocols, including patient mistreatment, unprofessional conduct, breaches of confidentiality, improper use of medications and IV fluids and ARS paramedics working while under the influence of alcohol. Other issues have plagued the organization, including the arrest and conviction of ARS Treasurer John Edgell for stealing ARS funds, suspension of the licenses of several paramedics and the settlement of a sexual harassment suit made by female paramedics.

DeKind said with the loss last year of the village contract the organization, funded by community support and fundraisers, was facing financial difficulties. “We lost 50 percent of our revenue when we lost the village contract and we were asking for financial support from the First Fire District to make up that shortfall between insurance reimbursement and our costs.”

Both the village and township are moving toward a consolidated services model under the direction of the fire department that would be funded through a separate EMS tax levy.

“It is apparent that the time has come for the district to look at options to provide EMS services other than our long-time partnering with ARS. The district, along with the village of Antioch, is working to establish an EMS tax levy to be decided by the voters in November 2014.”


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Antioch buys 2nd used ambulance

The Lake County News Sun has an article about the Antioch Fire Department’s purchase of a used ambulance from the Town of Paris.

The purchase of a used ambulance may allow the village to save significant funds as village officials consider renewing a contract to provide emergency medical services with Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Services. Village officials contracted with the private ambulance service company when they terminated a contract with Antioch Rescue Squad on May 31. The contract expires Nov. 30.

Superior’s contract with the village is for a turn-key operation, providing two fully-equipped ambulances, each staffed by two state-certified paramedics 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the two village fire stations.

As the village considers how it will provide future EMS service, the $20,000 purchase of a 2000 International Ambulance with 22,000 miles on the odometer is an excellent buy, said Fire Chief John Nixon, who oversees the village’s fire and rescue services. “This puts us closer to the goal of moving away from leasing ambulances and will save us a lot of money as we look toward renewing a contract for EMS services.”

used ambulance bought by the Antioch FD

The Antioch FD purchased this used ambulance from the Town of Paris, WI. Paris FD photo

He said the current lease costs the village $53,000 annually per each equipped ambulance. Equipping the used ambulance from the Town of Paris in Wisconsin would bring the total up to about $35,000, but it would be a one-time cost that could result in big savings over the next few years, Nixon said. The village already has one used ambulance and would like to own a total of three to allow for one back-up vehicle in the fleet. “I already know of another used ambulance that may soon become available, and by the time we would need to replace any of the used equipment, we would know our cash flow and be prepared to look at purchasing new equipment.”

The village already has one ambulance donated in June by the state Foreign Fire Insurance Tax Board, purchased from the village of Winnetka with 55,000 miles. By law, the funds paid by out-of-state fire insurance companies that sell fire insurance in Illinois must be used to benefit Illinois fire departments.

“Both of the ambulances are in excellent shape and will allow us to deliver service for several years. We are looking to acquire a third ambulance in early 2014,” said Nixon, explaining as other fire departments acquire new equipment, they often sell their used equipment to departments just starting up. “We jump on these deals when they become available.”

The department also acquired two donated portable Lifepak monitors/defibrillators donated by the local Antioch Firefighters Association to be used in the ambulances.

Nixon said a new fully-equipped ambulance costs about $220,000. Funds to purchase and equip the used ambulance will come from the village’s capital funds earmarked for the fire department. “There is a very limited market for used equipment. I think this is an excellent buy and puts us in a good position to eventually eliminate the need to lease equipment.”

Nixon said the goal is to eliminate the lease for one ambulance for the next contract year with Superior and the following year eliminate the lease for a second ambulance. Before the ambulances are put into service they have to pass an inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health. “I am trying to move the contract from labor and equipment to labor only,” said Nixon. “We are not yet ready to go into hiring full-blown firefighter/paramedics for our department that could allow us to eliminate an outside contractor entirely.”

Right now Superior responds to emergency medical calls only within the village because ARS has a one-year contract with the First Fire District to serve unincorporated Antioch Township. While the fire department is overseen and funded jointly by the village and first fire district which represents the township, each entity is responsible for contracting for ambulance services for their respective geographic areas. The final decision on how the fire department and paramedic services are integrated may not be decided until the First Fire District, serving the township, and the village resolve a proposed consolidation.

thanks Ron

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