In February of 2010, New Jersey State Senator Joseph Vitale and Assemblyman Herb Conaway introduced identical bills in their respective legislative houses (Senate S818 & Assembly A2095) to address the collapsing EMS system in the state. Both bills propose significant changes in New Jersey’s EMS system, substantially in accordance with consensus recommendations made last year by the state’s EMS Council following release of a study called for by the legislature. MONOC is part of a broad coalition representing virtually the entire EMS community in the state that strongly supports both bills and calls for their immediate passage.

 

The study, conducted by TriData, which called the status of our emergency medical services system “in near crisis”, was released late in 2007. The Department of Health & Senior Services then urgently directed the state EMS Council to review the report and provide implementation recommendations. That work was completed at the end of last year.

 

Unfortunately, it has become far too easy to ignore this crisis. Response times for BLS ambulances and ALS paramedic units have increased beyond levels considered reasonable around the country:  In many areas of the state, an unconscionable number requests do not receive the appropriate level of care. A lack of regulation for a segment of our BLS providers has allowed for a frighteningly sub-standard level of care for some, while out-dated over regulation of ALS providers has unnecessarily increased the cost of paramedic care making it unaffordable for the most vulnerable and impairing the ability for its sufficient provision. Funding for essential training of personnel has vanished and the economic recession has over-burdened towns with an impossible task to ensure EMS services to their residents.

 

Now, in 2010, the alarming fact is the failure of New Jersey’s EMS system is not about to happen, but has already begun, quietly worsening as time goes by. There is a clear and compelling need to address this collapse of our emergency medical services system as a public health crisis, immediately.

 

We encourage everyone to visit www.supportnjems.com , a web site established by the New Jersey EMS industry coalition, to voice your endorsement for both bills pending in the state legislature.