The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the department of the Illinois state government sanctioned to help prevent disease and injury and regulate medical practitioners, has given its official approval for the OSF HealthCare Freestanding Emergency Center to handle increased Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance traffic. As of 9 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, OSF HealthCare Center for Health – Streator will greatly expand the acceptance of ALS transfers.
“OSF HealthCare Center for Health – Streator is operating the state’s first rural Freestanding Emergency Center,” said Ken Beutke, President of OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center. “We’re staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians and experienced emergency nursing staff, making us an essential resource for Streator and its surrounding areas.”
This revision to the regulatory rules is expected to greatly benefit patients, as it will expedite care and provide convenient access to the community’s fully-functional freestanding emergency center. It will also allow local ambulances to remain local more frequently and ensures patients are able to receive care closer to home.
While the facility is capable of handling most any medical emergency, OSF has identified certain patients that would benefit from immediate transfer to an appropriate hospital. These include:
- Severe trauma patients determined to need advanced care at a trauma center. (EMS may intercept a helicopter at the freestanding emergency center.)
- Patients with a very specific type of heart attack identified on an EKG. (These patients benefit from going directly to a hospital with heart cath lab.)
- Patients with severe thermal, electric, or chemical burns. (These patients should go to trauma/burn centers.)
- OB Patients in active labor and greater than 20 weeks gestation. (These patients should go to a hospital with a labor and delivery floor.)
If patients with these conditions would walk into the Freestanding Emergency Center, its physicians and staff are capable of initial treatment and immediate transfer of these patients. Because these patients can be identified by paramedics, OSF asks the community to rely on EMS and 9-1-1 when they have an emergency.
OSF HealthCare has been working to amend the regulatory rules since last year, and was recently able to make progress through increased public interest and the assistance of state and local lawmakers.
“I am thankful this has been rectified so people who need lifesaving medical attention in Streator don’t have to worry about a longer drive to another hospital,” said State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris). Representative Jerry Long (R-Streator) noted he was “very happy” as well, and expressed his appreciation for the Streator Fire Department for “stepping up and protecting our community while this issue was being addressed."
“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Rezin and Representative Long in helping make this happen for the Streator community,” said Beutke. “We serve patients and families during their most vulnerable times and this is one more step toward reshaping and positively transforming health care for this community.”