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Based upon general travel conditions, proximity to the village, and the ability to quickly return ambulances to the community, Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights and Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview have been chosen as the department’s designated receiving hospitals. Both of these hospitals are classified as Level II trauma centers and are capable of handling a wide variety of medical situations 24/7. While patients and their families may often be given a choice between these hospitals in which to be transported to, the ultimate decision as to where a patient will be transported to is up to the attending paramedic on the call, based upon the specific medical needs of the patient and/or available appropriate medical services at a particular hospital.
In cases of severe trauma and upon approval of the emergency room physician, patients are taken to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge or Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, since they are Level I trauma centers. These hospitals are set up to handle the most severe trauma patients 24/7
Transportation to any other area hospital is performed by private ambulance service and at the sole expense of the patient.
Yes, the current fee is based upon an average of regional ambulance service rates and varies based upon the overall complexity of the medical services provided. Patients who refuse service and are not transported to a local hospital are not charged for service. However, fees are charged for individuals who utilize the Fire Department's services for invalid assists (ex. lifting off of the floor) and have no medical basis for their call for emergency service.
A third party billing company, hired by the Village of Wheeling, handles billing for ambulance service. Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Part B, and/or private medical insurance payments are accepted as payment in full for all charges and collection of individual deductibles are waived. Ambulance fees cannot be waived for those individuals who choose to not have medical insurance or who choose to purchase medical insurance policies with high deductibles These are personal choices and therefore, the individual is solely responsible for their ambulance bill.. Ambulance bills are charged to patients receiving medical care by the Fire Department regardless of who specifically calls for ambulance service.
For questions regarding medical billing, contact the telephone number that appears on your bill or call the Fire Department at 847-459-2662 (M-F; 08:00 am - 04:30 pm).
All shift personnel are cross-trained as firefighter/paramedics. On those calls that may be life-threatening (for example, chest pains, car accidents, stroke, unconscious patients, etc.), a fire engine is dispatched to provide additional manpower needed to initiate advanced life support treatment. If they are not needed, the fire engine is released from the call.
In addition, fire engines carry the same paramedic equipment as an ambulance, but cannot transport patients. In those rare cases where an ambulance is not immediately available, the personnel from the fire engine can still initiate paramedic services, prior to the arrival of an ambulance on the scene.
Each fire department in the country is evaluated by an independent agency known as the "Insurance Services Organization (ISO)." This evaluation takes into consideration the department’s equipment, staffing levels, communications network, training, and water supply system. Based upon points obtained in all areas of the evaluation, the fire department is then placed in one of 10 categories with a "Class 1" being the best. Based upon the category assigned, fire insurance rates are then determined.
The Wheeling Fire Department's Class 2 rating places the department in the top 3 1/2% of all fire departments nationwide. Wheeling’s Class 2 rating is extremely good and homeowners, as well as local businesses, resulting in relatively low fire insurance rates. Residents and businesses are encouraged to discuss the fire department's ISO rating with their property insurance company to make sure they are getting all the premium discounts they deserve. The Fire Department was last evaluated and classified by ISO in 2017.