At its regular meeting this coming Thursday July 17, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to vote on a proposal to develop an additional shared services EMS (Emergency Medical Service) for the western parts of Union County. The proposal has been developed in collaboration with JFK Medical Center along with other surrounding medical facilities.
“This new addition to our existing Countywide EMS shared service, with the participation of JFK Medical Center, will help ensure that County residents facing medical emergencies receive a timely response,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak.
The proposal would make an additional ambulance available through the existing Countywide EMS shared service program. The ambulance would be staffed around the clock by two emergency medical technicians.
The ambulance would be stationed at the Plainfield Rescue Squad building, where it would be available for emergency response in western parts of Union County.
“Many municipalities have been straining to keep up with increased EMS demands,” said Freeholder Linda Carter. “This will be an important step forward for Union County.”
“This is an exemplary collaboration between Union County, the city of Plainfield and JFK Medical Center. It will provide much needed relief to the western parts of the County,” said New Jersey State Assemblyman Jerry Green, who represents the 22nd District, which includes western parts of Union County.
The additional ambulance will dispatched through the Union County Regional Dispatch Center, which currently handles EMS, fire, and/or police calls for several municipalities, and for two paramedic units operated by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.
JFK Medical Center of Edison currently operates a Mobile Intensive Care Unit in Plainfield. As part of the overall plan for improving timely access to emergency medical care and transportation in western Union County, JFK will increase its presence to supplement its Satellite Emergency Department and outpatient services at the former Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center. JFK EMS received the “Outstanding Private EMS Agency” award from the NJ Department of Health in 2013.
“JFK is pleased to respond to the request for EMS services in partnership with Union County, to improve the availability of pre-hospital healthcare in Plainfield and the surrounding communities,” said Ray Fredericks, president and chief executive officer of JFK Health. “Together, JFK and Union County will ensure that great emergency medical care starts from the moment 911 is called.”
The Freeholder Board began Countywide EMS as a pilot program in 2011, to help municipalities throughout the county to improve their emergency services and keep up with growing demands on first responders while facing budget constraints.
The pilot program consisted of one additional ambulance, available for dispatch on a Countywide basis during peak demand periods. Based on the success of the pilot, Countywide EMS was made a permanent County service in 2012.
Countywide EMS has grown progressively through the years. When it started, calls averaged 80 per month. In June 2014, the last month for which statistics are available, there were 294 calls.
In 2013 Countywide EMS responded to just over 1,900 calls. So far this year there have been 1,384 calls.