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Brick Council Probes Police EMS Service

Committee examining whether to switch to private providers

As a committee of the township council examines the proposed 2012 operating budget, focus has been placed on the township's police EMS service.

"Every department has been coming under scrutiny," Councilman Dan Toth said Tuesday.

But the existence of the Police EMS service, created several years ago after concerns were raised about a lack of volunteers available to answer emergency calls, has been called into question.

"One of the main reasons this is coming up for discussion amongst the committee is because it was hemorrhaging about $200,000 per year," Toth said.

The EMS service, which comes under the purview of the police department, is staffed by paid employees. They provide basic life support, or BLS, service, officials said.

Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis has said some members of the council's Budget and Finance Committee have questioned whether a private ambulance service should respond to BLS calls in Brick rather than township employees.

The administration has budgeted $845,100 for EMS salaries and wages this year with another $124,800 set aside for expenses, making the total cost of EMS services $969,900. Revenue is generating by charging fees to health insurance companies, however.

Eliminating EMS service from the township budget could have an impact on residents in terms of both cost as well as response times, Acropolis said, indicating that he would like to retain the service.

Unlike private EMS services, the township bills insurance providers for service but does not charge residents extra. Those who do not have health insurance are not sent a bill.

"With a lot of people being out of work, some people don't have insurance, so some of those billings have gone down," Acropolis said.

Councilman Bob Moore said his main concern is response times. He said volunteer EMS services in town are actively recruiting new members and hope to become more active in the near future. A successful recruiting effort could help reduce the need for police EMS services, he added.

"Of course, time is crucial when somebody's life is on the line," Moore said.

Acropolis suggested the township might pursue getting involved in advanced life support, or ALS, services in the future. Those advanced services are currently performed by licensed paramedics who work for MONOC. Paramedics are able to administer drugs and perform procedures BLS responders cannot. Their fees are also higher.

As for the future of township-provided EMS services, the answer may come next week when the council hopes to introduce its 2012 operating budget.

"Everything's on the table," said Toth. "It comes down to dollars and cents."

veritas March 26, 2012 at 08:36 PM
If only we had someone on cou cil that works for toms river. Maybe then we could get some insight.
Josh P March 26, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Hey doesn't Steve have ties to t.r lol
BBW March 28, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Get back to the investigation. Your losing your perspective regarding the problems facing the Paid and Volunteer EMT's. The bickering is the heart of all the biggest problems faced by the EMT. The corruption regarding the running of the Paid service and politics regarding the Volunteers is the problem.
NJ EMT April 06, 2012 at 07:52 PM
The lies and untruths are amazing on this forum. If anyone is interested, how is it that Jackson Township is operating with a paid private EMS AT NO COST TO THE TOWN! They've done it over the years originally with MONOC and now with QMT. I don't hear anyone complaining about the response time there. We simply have union government workers in Brick who want to protect their pay and benefits, but there comes a time where you have to admit what you can afford and what you can't. Go ahead, hit me with another lie! What next? Private EMS companies only hire employees with one eye, so they can't drive safely?
Surveys Ems May 08, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Not all private bls agency bill residents, Lourdes ems a hospital base service ambulance service bills insurance and does it bill patients insurance. Lourdes also zero bids the township so not to cost any tax payers money. I think they cover a few towns in Burlington county and Camden county. May expand to brick. Not far from Deborah heart and lung were Lourdes operates and er and emt service. I.m sure they would consider putting cooup,e of ambulances 24 -7 in brick. Call Lourdes ems

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