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Emerson mulls ambulance service

Saturday, April 7, 2012

EMERSON — The borough attorney is drafting a temporary contract agreement that could have a private ambulance service respond to emergency calls in the borough as early as next month.

Under the proposal to be considered by the Borough Council, Fuchs EMS and Medical Transportation Services of Fair Lawn would fill a 12-hour gap in the town's ambulance coverage.

Borough Administrator Joseph Scarpa said the plan, first discussed at the council's meeting Tuesday, would address "an ongoing response issue with ambulance calls during the daytime."

Currently, members of the Emerson Volunteer Ambulance Corps do not respond to emergency calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, Scarpa said, because they are at work during those hours.

Scarpa said ambulance crews throughout the region face a shortage of volunteers. The gap in daytime coverage, he said, has been an issue for a number of years.

Borough Attorney Scott Mooney is expected to present the council with a temporary contract before its next meeting on May 1. The deal would expire at the end of the year.

Scarpa said the arrangement would not cost the borough because Fuchs bills the insurance provider of the person who needs a trip to the hospital; the ride is free for those without insurance.

The council first learned of the coverage lapse from Police Chief Donald Rossi, whose officers were trying to compensate for the deficiency. The borough largely relies on mutual aid from surrounding towns for emergency medical calls.

The contract proposal comes after recent controversy over the corps' finances and how money the organization receives from private donations is spent.

Corps members raised concerns during Tuesday's council meeting that contracting with a private service would compromise its agreement with the Pascack Valley Mutual Aid Group.

Scarpa said he did not expect any issues with the mutual aid agreement to be insurmountable.

NorthJersey.com -- April 7, 2012

Article | by Dr. Radut