CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA) — Three cities in central Illinois are scrambling to find a new ambulance service following the announcement their current service is shutting down.
Decatur, Shelbyville and Pana were serviced by Decatur Ambulance, but that company is shutting down September 1. They’ve figured out a short-term solution, but it’s not going to last in the long term. City leaders and companies have been discussing new options to move forward.
“In the past, Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville have been very fortunate with the fact that they haven’t had to deal with this because someone’s always just stepped in and took over,” said Troy Agney with Shelby County Emergency Management.
That isn’t the case this time. Agney said his agency was notified in late June that Decatur Ambulance service was closing. The City of Decatur was also notified.
Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) has been operating DAS. They said they’re struggling to fill jobs and pay for equipment upgrades.
“HSHS continues to work with the city of Decatur on finding a replacement ambulance service that can fully meet the needs of the Decatur community,” they said in a statement.
So, what’s next?
“There will be a lot of information shared by the applicants that would come from a normal questioning process,” said Scot Wrighton, Decatur City Manager.” Of course, it’s a public hearing, so it’s open to the public.”
Wrighton said at that public hearing on Monday, officials will discuss potential new contracts. They’re not the only ones trying to help find a new service.
“Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville have had meetings with providers or vendors,” Agney said.
Agney said four vendors were interested, but that has since dropped to three. Wrighton developed an ambulance working group that will look at the options.
“That brought together service providers, major healthcare organizations here in town, and we were the convener of it because the city of Decatur is the one that issues the ambulance license,” Wrighton said.
While next week’s meeting might give the cities some answers, Wrighton said there likely won’t be a final decision. But officials are determined to find one before time runs out.
“We’re going to have an ambulance,” Agney said. “Shelbyville, Shelby County will not go without an ambulance service.”
Wrighton added that Monday’s meeting won’t be the last. The committee will meet again after hearing from the public to discuss the best service moving forward.