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Chicago's Provident Hospital to halt ambulance runs

The Chicago Tribune, January 13, 2011

Ambulance runs to cash-strapped Provident Hospital's emergency room are about to be halted as part of an effort by Cook County officials to cut the facility's budget. Beginning Saturday, the hospital will no longer accept ambulance runs to the emergency room. Patients will now be taken to any of the six hospitals within a five-mile radius of Provident, county health system spokesman Lucio Guerrero said. The change would affect about 3,800 patients who are brought by ambulance each year and would save the county between $20 million and $25 million, Guerrero said. But the hospital will continue to treat people who walk into the emergency room, he said. The cash savings would be used to restore critical outpatient services such as mammograms and colonoscopies as soon as June, Guerrero said. But officials at the nearby University of Chicago Medical Center said they are bracing themselves to receive a number of the ambulance calls Provident will turn away. U. of C. officials believe they could see between eight to 10 more ambulance runs a day.

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