No more appeals for Rescue 33, new operational plan coming

Marianne Gillespie TimesNewspapers

Ambulance Rescue 33 will not be appealing the permanent suspension of its license any longer and is focusing on its next move.

While Rescue 33 officials said they think "they had a good chance of prevailing on appeal concerning both the process and allegations provided throughout this process," according to a press release issued Friday by their attorney Chris Cassidy.

The squad asked for a review board hearing, which was held Oct. 1, but later that week the board upheld Medical Director of the Peoria Area Emergency Medical Services System Dr. Cheryl Colbenson's call of placing the squad's license on permanent suspension Sept. 4.

Rescue 33 officials said the main issues facing the squad were response times and a requirement of scheduling emergency medical technicians for an entire month's shifts. They said it was difficult for both the volunteers and part-time paid EMTs to know their schedules that far ahead due to work schedules and other activities.

Rescue 33 officials could take its appeal to the state level, but citing the expensive and time-consuming nature of the appeal, officials are choosing to focus on a new operational plan to get the squad back to answering calls.

"Winning" an appeal is not the focus of Rescue 33 officials.

"They are much more concerned about the community winning and that will only happen if they get the ambulance service up and running again as soon as possible," according to the press release. "By directing their resources towards resubmitting an operational plan and getting relicensed, Rescue 33 believes that it will save both time and money in getting the ambulance service fully operational again as soon as possible."

To that end, squad members have created "a new operating plan and business structure that should meet all necessary requirements to become operational again. It is hoped that once the final steps in finishing and presenting this plan are completed, they will be licensed to start providing reliable, affordable service to the community once again," according to the press release.

Few details are being released, but Cassidy said the time frame is in weeks, not months, for residents to know more.

"Rescue 33 is submitting a plan that they will be a private, non-profit corporation," said Cassidy Friday.

Residents may be wondering how the city's referendum asking to levy an ambulance service tax relates to the squad's plan.

Cassidy said more details should be available before the Nov. 6 general election.

"The taxpayer money would be used to help Rescue 33 to be viable, however, the city would not have any say in operations," said Cassidy.