Decatur, IL, to Charge Senior Facilities for Lift Assists

Feb. 22, 2024
A $500 fee will be assessed for each lift-assist Decatur firefighters respond to at care facilities with the intent that it reduces non-emergency calls.

Decatur's City Council paved the way for the fire department to charge senior living facilities that have been relying on firefighters to assist their residents from falls.

At the Tuesday night council meeting, the city passed an ordinance that allows the fire department to charge a minimum of $500 for each lift assist call that firefighters or other city services respond to that does not require transportation to the hospital. 

“It may not even make that big of an impact on what the call volume is, but hopefully it does start to incentivize those types of commercial facilities,” Deputy City Manager told John Kindseth told WCIA.com. “It was not an easy decision for the City Council to make at the end of the day. As Chief Abbot had stated, basically our desire is never to leave somebody on the ground.”

City officials do not want to discourage the facilites - including nursing homes, independent-living facilities and commercial facilities - for calling in emergencies, but said they want to discourage them from calling for non-emergent scenarios, citing over 1,000 lift assist calls last year, compared to 430 just 10 years ago.

Officials will evaluate the fee in a year to determine its effectiveness.