In some parts of Illinois, a 9-1-1 call for an ambulance can bring almost an hour’s wait. That’s unacceptable, say the co-chairmen of a legislative task force about to issue a final report. A statewide series of hearings led to the report. In some places, there is a weak supply of volunteer help. In some, there’s only one person in town to respond.
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State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson), a co-chairman of the task force, heard information which surprised him. “For me, I think it was the magnitude of the problem,” he said, citing “the financial condition that some resource hospitals currently are talking about ceasing to be a resource hospital; that we have some 9-1-1 call centers that are on the verge of locking their doors or turning it over to the State Police.”
“I did not realize the vast – not differences, but the vast similarities – of what we were hearing all the way up in Chicago to all the way in Southern Illinois,” said the other co-chairman, State Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Bradley). “EMS is not something that’s needed based on a certain part of Illinois. EMS and services to the residents of this state (are) needed everywhere.”
How to pay for it? Suggestions include an increase in the fee to get a license plate; a tire surcharge; and gambling revenue.