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City of Decatur selects new ambulance service


The transition to a new EMS provider for Decatur and Macon County is underway.

After careful consideration and a thorough review process, the City of Decatur has chosen to issue Abbott EMS/GMR with a license to operate ambulance services. The company has been notified of the decision and will begin the transition as soon as possible.

“This was a tough decision but we believe we made the right one for the EMS needs of Decatur and greater Macon County,” said Scot Wrighton, Decatur City Manager. “The company best matching, complying with, and exceeding the requirements of Chapter 53 of the City Code, bringing the greatest amount of experience and resources to the community, and best fitting the needs of the area is Abbott EMS/GMR.”

Among the applicants, Abbott EMS/GMR stood out, in part, due to their national recognition and level of experience. The company operates under different names in different markets, but the parent company, Global Medical Response (GMR), has been in operation since 1996 and provides service in 40 states. They presently provide 9-1-1 EMS services nearby in Evansville, Indiana; Owensboro, Kentucky; Macomb, Illinois; as well as portions of Chicago and St. Louis metro areas.

The fact that Abbott EMS/GMR has comparable operations in the region also means they would likely have more ready access to temporarily back-up, short-term staffing vacancies in Decatur, or to supply back-up vehicles in the event of unplanned breakdowns or accidents.

Abbott EMS has agreed to provide six Advanced Life Support (ALS) units and two Quick Response Vehicles (QRV) units. They do not rely on the addition of any other ambulance licensees to fully cover the needs of all of greater Macon County. The company has indicated they would seek to employ a majority of Decatur Ambulance Service (DAS) staff if they wish.

While the City had previously contemplated issuing multiple licenses, it was determined that one provider could still meet the community’s EMS needs, as it has for nearly half a century by DAS. To mitigate the risks of awarding only one license, the City and Abbott EMS agreed to several provisions that would be added to Chapter 53, such as a license term requiring that the licensed ambulance company give the City at least six- or nine-months’ notice of any future plans to leave the market, among other mitigations.

The City and its partners will work together to ensure a smooth transition as quickly as possible. We are confident that Abbott EMS/GMR will meet the needs of the entire service area as DAS closes down their operations.

For more information, you can reach out to the City Manager’s Office at 217-424-2801. Chapter 53 of the City Code regarding the ambulance license can be found here:

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