July 16, 2012

Media Advisory -- Medical Transportation Forum

The Rural Medical Transportation Network, a project from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Center for Rural Health and Social Services Development, is hosting a Medical Transportation Advocacy Forum on Thursday, July 19.  It will take place at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale.  The forum, which is not a public event, will bring together representatives of the network with public officials, emergency medical service (EMS) providers, transit agencies and health care providers as they study the deficiencies in the state’s transportation system and ways they can work together for positive change.

The forum begins with presentations at 6 p.m. followed by a panel discussion and a question/answer time at 7:15 p.m.  Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend.

Organizers note that there are many people who miss health care appointments or treatments because they can’t obtain reliable non-emergency medical transportation or don’t know how to obtain transportation.  The result is suffering and declining heath, which can subsequently lead to higher costs for health care providers, Medicaid and Medicare. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is funding this forum. Other issues at the forefront include the inappropriate use of ambulances by some patients, low reimbursement rates for emergency medical services, the diminishing pool of EMS personnel and the vulnerability of the state’s EMS/ambulance providers.  All of these factors threaten the health and quality of life of residents and adversely affect EMS agencies and local communities.

For more information about the Medical Transportation Advocacy Forum, contact Dennis Presley at 618/453-3314 or by email at dpresley@rural.siu.edu