Council delays vote on Spotswood EMS service

Staff Writer

The future of Spotswood EMS remains foggy going into the New Year. According to borough Business Administrator Dawn McDonald, council members have made no decision regarding the borough’s medical transportation service, despite coming to the end of its initial 60-day bidding period.

“[The] mayor and council have not made a decision yet, simple as that,” McDonald said.

According to McDonald, there were two bidders, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and the Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corporation (MONOC), agreed to extend the process by another 60 days.

According to Council President Curtis Stollen, the move is not one that members on the dais take lightly.

“The council knows and realizes this is a very serious decision and that is why we are looking at all avenues and ways to improve what we have. We don’t take it lightly,” he said, adding that a final decision could be made in January. Stollen also said that the council would be making its decision based on three main criteria –– response time, professionalism and resources available.

During the Dec. 21 Borough Council meeting, Kelly Laudien spoke of her mother, a Spotswood resident who was recently treated by Spotswood EMS. She praised the Spotswood EMS, hoping that the council will see fit to keep the service.

“She had a major heart attack in the main artery. They said if it wasn’t for the response time [and] the expertise of the services that she got, she would have never have made it,” Laudien said about the incident that happened the beginning of this month.

According to Laudien, her mother had flat-lined twice before arriving at the hospital, on both occasions being resuscitated by a Spotswood EMT and once again at Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick.

“[They’ve] given me my mother back, so I have my special Christmas gift,” she concluded.

According to McDonald, the reason why the borough is looking into an alternative medical transport service is due to the rising cost. She estimates that it costs upward of $500,000 to support the service. She estimates that amount will increase in the future due to staffing, vehicle, building and capital expenses would increase the amount going forward.

Currently Spotswood EMS is housed in a warehouse on American Way. The borough is still “moving forward” with rehabilitating the old emergency services building on Devoe Avenue, which suffered structural damaged during Hurricane Irene in 2011, McDonald said.

Spotswood EMS employs 18 EMTs along with four supervisors and one director.

The council voted to seek bids at the Sept. 21 borough council meeting. With the extension, the council will have until February to make its decision.

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