March 24th, 2020 9:52 AM
By Maria Maxham
After at least 20 years using Paramedic Services of Illinois (PSI), Forest Park voted to switch to Metro Paramedic Services at the March 23 village council meeting at which Mayor Rory Hoskins and Commissioners Joe Byrnes, Dan Novak, Ryan Nero and Jessica Voogd unanimously decided to approve the contract.
The contract with Metro is for $439,666 for one year, with increases for the following two years not to exceed a three percent annual bump. PSI's contract was terminated in October 2019.
This rate with Metro is lower than the village has seen in at least eight years with PSA. In March 2019, the village signed a contract with PSI for $450,000. In May 2015 the contract was for $501,581. And in May 2012 it was in the amount of $472,779.
According to Village Administrator Tim Gillian, when an unsolicited proposal came from Metro in 2019, the village took a hard look. The price was much lower, and even though PSI offered to drop their pricing to match, Gillian said the village thought, "If you can do it for less, why weren't you already offering us a better rate?"
Mayor Rory Hoskins said he's always encouraging department heads to find ways to lower costs and encouraging them to do their jobs, including seeking out better and more cost-efficient ways to get things done.
"It's something our first responders have been looking at for a long time," said Hoskins. "They provided a great business case for this change." He went on to say that other nearby towns are using Metro as their paramedic service as well.
"Our department heads have a lot of faith in this company," said Hoskins about Metro.
According to Gillian, Forest Park's Fire Chief Bob McDermott spent a long time looking at different paramedic services and finally recommended Metro's contract, both for cost saving measures and because Metro is a larger organization.
"They're a bigger corporation," said Gillian. "They have a big billing department, so billing and collections will go better. They have a larger pool of resources for services and more paramedics." In general, Gillian said that Metro has "broader reach and expanded capabilities."
"There really aren't that many players in the field," said Gillian. "And this vendor brought a proposal that matches others in terms of service but with significant savings to the village."
One option with Metro is the possibility of the company purchasing the village owned ambulance, which would mean no monthly payments or maintenance expense.
At the meeting, Novak thanked staff for the hard work that had gone into researching and working out the agreement which, he said, would "ultimately save the village some money."
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