Making municipalities responsible for emergency medical services Making municipalities responsible for emergency medical services -- just as they are for police and fire protection -- along with standardizing 911 service and declaring one set of training and certification rules for all EMS personnel, including volunteers, is an agenda that New Jersey should have attended to long ago.

Legislation drafted last month by a state EMS advisory committee lays out a good blueprint for reforming the state's disjointed EMS system. Now someone must provide the blueprint for paying for it all.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, has promised to hold hearings on the EMS legislation early next year and says it could cost $10 million to $14 million to implement comprehensive change. The data make it clear, however, that the human cost will be dear if New Jersey delays a much-needed EMS restructuring.

According to a study commissioned by the Legislature and released last year, nearly 14,000 people a year in this state never get the paramedic care their conditions require on the way to the hospital. There are too few paramedic units, and 911 systems, which vary from one municipal or regional operation to another, often affect whether the best unit is dispatched to a call and how quickly.

Moreover, the volunteer squads on which many areas depend are increasingly hard-pressed to recruit and retain personnel and secure enough money to operate.

Although many volunteers stay current with training and equipment, they are not regulated by the state, so there is wide variation in quality among squads. That problem must be addressed.New Jersey must find a way to organize services for the maximum recovery of federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars as well as private insurance funding for EMS and find ways to subsidize the rest.

Rather than try to operate their own unique municipal EMS systems, towns may have to join county or regional programs to meet a new EMS mandate. Those configurations, if properly coordinated, are the most efficient and effective. The positive experience in other states provides the evidence. Regionalization of EMS could point the way to a more logical configuration for other public safety systems.


Anonymous said...

Oh stop - this stuff. Nothing is going to happen until the NJ State First Aid Council gets put up against the wall with a firing squad for charges against humanities.

These stuff has been going on for 30 yrs. In short when Paramedic training were 1st developed, NJ was going to go like North/South Carolina -County Based EMS Agency. But the NJSFAC oppossed it so we ended up with the present insane system. Even the proliferation of volunteer first aid squads only happened in the early '70s after a lot of money was thrown at it from Pres. Johnson great society program. There was a famous white paper written around '68 about morbidity & mortality because of lack of proper prehospital car, while the communist bloc had physician staffed ambulances.

So you know, I was a life member of corps. I wrote the paper for the mayor at that time to go fully career & later on fully billing - once Mcare allowed insurance only billing for tax supported services.

Is not that I hated the volunteer concept, in fact it was the opposite. But the arrogance of "wacker" & blue lights under trained & unaccountable dipshits gets to you.. But it had outlived is usefulness. As a volunteer service we handled 6000 calls a yrs at most with one ambulance in service. Career is over 12000 and 2-3 rigs at a time.

This shows you the amount of discrepancy that a volunteer system could not meet.

You want to see the future -Chk out www.caems.com pay attention to Sunstar/Nova Scotia EHS.
& Chk out the video

Remember. This is NJ. There are always better ways of doing thing. But the amount of vested interest in place will make sure it does not happens. In fact the problem with the country right now is that it has the NJ disease.

Anonymous said...

Part 2

So what people fail to understand is that the problem is the volunteer squads themselves. They can get the job done, when they do it -they provide service at a lower level (BLS) rather than ALS which is the standard of care for EMS delivery for NJ population density & they won't let anybody else do the job either. So the residents are stuck with delayed&bad care.

Vollies can be integrated into a proper system. Take a look at Sarasota County Fire Dept. - they force merged multiple career/vollies into a single accountable system.


RevMedic said...

I just got my own domain, so can you please change your link?
EMS Haiku is now at www.emshaiku.com