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Streator response times improve as city assesses health care

Streator firefighter Eric Hoffmeyer adds equipment to the fire department's newest pumper truck in January. The department reported Wednesday that response times have become quicker, partially due to the OSF Center for Health being approved to admit advanced life support ambulances.
Streator firefighter Eric Hoffmeyer adds equipment to the fire department's newest pumper truck in January. The department reported Wednesday that response times have become quicker, partially due to the OSF Center for Health being approved to admit advanced life support ambulances.

New information provided to the Streator City Council should make it easier to fine-tune health care in Streator.

The council reviewed information regarding fire department and ambulance response times to emergency calls while also identifying a need to cut back on hospital re-admissions and emergency calls themselves.

Fire Chief Gary Bird acknowledges that response times have become quicker, due in part to the OSF Center for Health being approved for advanced life support ambulances, but the number of calls themselves is large compared to Streator’s population.

“We’re currently touching 15 percent (of the population) every year,” Bird said. “That’s high. Nationally it’s 10 to 12 (percent) every year. I think there’s some room for improvement in some way to reduce the number of calls to 911 for emergency services.”

The department has tracked repeat customers for life assistance whether it’s from a chair to a bathroom or vice versa. Bird then visited the homes after the calls and gave them information on alternatives to emergency services for their needs.

“I told them I’d contact social service agencies and they did make visits,” Bird said. “Sometimes help was taken and other times not.”

The result was a reduction in calls for about a month before they returned to the same number.

OSF, AMT, Fire Department partnership

The department also is assessing a partnership between Advanced Medical Transport, OSF Center for Health and the fire department allowing a sharing of resources.

Tom Geraci, vice president of operations for AMT, spoke with the council and detailed a Mobile Integrated Healthcare system that has been successful in the Quad Cities. The model in the Quad Cities focused on addressing concerns in those with diseases such chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.

Geraci said a Quad Cities institution saw a drop in readmission rates from nearly 22 percent to 6 percent.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said councilman Ed Brozak in reference to the quad cities program working in Streator.

Geraci said the program could be designed for Streator but may need some slight revisions as every community’s need is different.

Logistics of the system are still being worked out, but would require resources from both AMT and OSF.

City Manager Scot Wrighton suggested Streator could work as a mediator of sorts between the two organizations to help kick-start the model.

Mayor Jimmie Lansford said progress has been made but it’s important to continue making progress.

“The numbers are very positive and that’s good,” Brozak added.

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