Streator council unofficially taps AMR for ambulance service

AMR’s bid was higher by $9,282, but council was encouraged by letters of recommendation

An Advanced Medical Transport ambulance parked in front of Streator City Hall on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, as its personnel attended a City Council Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss the future of emergency ambulance service in the community.

The Streator City Council will have to wait for another special City Council meeting to announce American Medical Response Solutions as the city’s new official ambulance provider, but the council came to a consensus in favor of it Monday during a special meeting.

American Medical Response’s was $9,282 higher than Paramedic Services of Illinois, bidding $3,399,534 for a three-year contract compared to $3,390,252, but City Councilmen Jacob Darby said it isn’t just about saving a buck.

“My big thing with them was their letters of recommendations were more personal,” Darby said. “When I read the proposal, as opposed to PSI which I thought was generic. I like that they pay their employees better and their benefits package is a lot better. I’m not just looking at ‘hey, how can we save a buck.’ I want to be able to give good jobs to the people of Streator.”

The contract with American Medical Response is for the term of three years and can run for up to five years with options, and the ambulance service would operate out of the Streator fire station at the corner of Wasson and Main streets.

Mayor Tara Bedei said the fire station was built with an ambulance service in mind several years ago, although the overall cost of adding an ambulance service to the fire station prevented the City Council from exploring that option any further. Streator Fire Chief Gary Bird’s proposal came in at $4,487,061, including an additional six firefighters.

The change does bring more costs than just what’s in the bid: Bedei said the city will now have to purchase ambulance equipment but AMR can help the city save in that realm since they sell equipment nationally. The city has set aside its COVID-19 relief funds for these purchases.

Advanced Medical Transport, the city’s current emergency ambulance provider, didn’t submit a bid after taking issue with how the city negotiated. In March, AMT requested the city begin paying for ambulances services for the first time since it came to Streator in 2004, starting with $400,000 for the first year, $500,000 for the second year, $600,000 for the third year and $700,000 for the fourth year. This proposed set up with AMT would not have included the city taking over the billing process. The city intends to take control of billing to generate the revenue to pay for the emergency ambulance service.