ROCK ISLAND -- A new level of emergency care transportation will debut this weekend through a partnership between Trinity Regional Health System and Advanced Medical Transport.
Starting today, a different fleet of ambulances able to provide a higher level of service and care for residents of the Blackhawk, Orion and Sherrard fire protection districts formerly served by Trinity Ambulance service will begin responding to 911 calls, according to a Trinity news release.
Advanced Medical Transport is a nationally recognized company that specializes in providing ambulance services for emergency and nonemergency patient transport, the release said. AMT will begin answering911 calls today and add nonemergency transport by early February.
The new service means transported patients will have access to better technology and up-to-date equipment staffed by providers with the most advanced clinical skills, the release stated.
It also will mean higher rates, but those rates are comparable to other ambulance services in the area, said Jay Willsher, Trinity's chief operating officer.
"We discovered we had been undercharging patients when a market analysis was done," said Trinity spokeswoman Erin Lounsberry. "The rates will be $590 for a basic life support transport and $700 for an advanced life support transport, which is in line with what other ambulance and transport services in this area charge.
"They do accept Medicare assignment and third-party insurance," she continued. "AMT also has a financial assistance program to help those without insurance."
Exact numbers weren't available Friday afternoon, but the rate increase is expected to be about 15 percent, she said.
The partnership provides coverage for areas Trinity Ambulance used to cover, Ms. Lounsberry said. Italso enables AMT to provide better back-up coverage for transport or 9-1-1 needs if patient volume dictates.
AMT has additional resources in Peoria, Pekin, Streator, Aledo and Iowa City.
About 50 EMTs, billers and others were involved in Trinity's in-house service, Mr. Willsher said. Of those, about 40 will remain to work with AMT. The rest will transfer to other sections of Trinity or have left for other opportunities.
AMT will use six vehicles to cover the fire protection districts, AMT head Andrew Rand said. The four Trinity ambulances they are replacing also will be held in reserve andused for special events, Mr. Willsher said.
Today is Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.