An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Firehouse Forum

Firehouse Forum

Firehouse Forums

On March 6, 2003 a post was made on line by an anonymous writer that seemed to know the Peoria area EMS system quite well. This person worked as a paramedic in the Peoria system for 15 years. He or she made the following comments:

“I found in the early stages of AMT that management at AMT wasn’t interested in working with other departments within the Peoria EMS system. They were mainly interested in monopolizing every aspect of EMS. Their only competition was small private services and the Fire Departments. AMT purchased all the smaller ambulance companies, but the Fire Departments would be a thorn in their side causing a threat to always be there. They are currently trying to keep all the fire departments at the basic level and getting in the way of advancing their care.

“Three years ago (2000) AMT paid out over 3 million dollars to our state and federal governments, because of a settlement, over a charge against them of Medicare/Medicaid fraud. Talk about screwing the public. Hardly anything was said about this and it was kept quiet. The hospitals and private sector did a good job keeping the lid on that whole mess by taking care of the fine. They are currently on probation. Another misconception is the fact that AMT received a perfect score on a national accreditation, which was advertised a great deal in the media. The truth is that they had to pay approximately $20,0000 to receive that accreditation ….”

“Another problem with AMT is that the workforce doesn’t retain experienced paramedics. The average medic works about one year, gets experience and leaves for other services or fire department jobs. This inexperience causes the EMS system and ultimately the patient to suffer. The Project medical director doesn’teven trust his medics on the street, making the Peoria area system behind the times as far as advancement. I found it interesting how fast the system catered to AMT and when the local fire departments wanted to upgrade their services from BLS to intermediate life support or paramedic level. The fire department ran into many obstacles because of AMT. It was said that the Fire Department was trying to put AMT out of business…AMT threatened a huge negative smear campaign against Fire Based EMS and Firefighters. “I really find it a shame. AMT does have the potential to be one of the best EMS providers in the system; the management of that company could work with the fire department, treat their employees better with higher pay and incentives for retention. AMT management made a choice early on to compete with the providers and not work with the. I wish that it was a different situation but unless there is a big change in management and changes throughout the resource hospital (OSF), I feel it is going to get much worse before it gets better. There is no reason the Firefighters should roll over on this issue and keep quiet while the system suffers. They have tried on numerous occasions to work with AMT management and OSF St. Francis to improve this situation and ultimately improve overall patient care.”

I think this person really knew what they were writing. They obviously had inside knowledge of the Peoria EMS system. A fire chief in a very large city in Illinois told me, “You have a very unfortunate situation in Peoria.” He was referring to OSF’s control of the paramedic and transport situation in Peoria (through AMT) and “OSF’s level of control at the State level—Illinois Department of Public Health”.

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