August 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM
RARITAN, NJ - Despite the recent merger between Somerset Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, there are no plans for ambulance services in Raritan to change.
Raritan is involved in SASSA (Somerset Ambulance Shared Service Agreement), which is between several towns in Somerset County, and they contract to Somerset Medical Center during the day hours, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday for ambulance services.
In the evening, the borough relies on the Somerville Rescue Squad.
That same contract will continue now that it is Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.
The Raritan Borough Council requested that representatives from the hospital speak at the Aug. 12 council meeting to answer questions about any possible changes.
For members of the council, they just wanted to make sure the services offered to residents would be the same as they have come to expect over the years.
Representatives from the hospital said there would be no changes in the agreement, there will just be different logos on the ambulances.
Councilman Andrew Sibilia asked what happens with seniors who are on restricted incomes and may not be able to afford the ambulance services.
Medicare will pay for that, representatives said.
The representatives said they will also transport to other hospitals besides Robert Wood Johnson if necessary, and there is a base fee and fee per mile, as there was before.
Borough administrator Dan Jaxel said that if there are certain services the borough would like in future SASSA contracts, they can include that in the bid specs before determining who will handle ambulance services for the towns included in the shared service agreement.
“And if we wanted to go to 24/7 services on a bid basis, we could explore that,” he said. “If you are concerned about other services, you can always go to bid.”
The borough is under contract with Robert Wood Johnson for another two years at this point.
With Robert Wood Johnson, through the SASSA contract, there are three paramedic units and nine ambulances available during the day.
“I don’t see where anything will change in the contract,” councilman Greg Lobell said.