How Far is Richmond from Jersey City?

Okay, so one answer to the question is 330 miles along I-95. However, I am not referring to their physical distance apart, but rather the enormous distance in their thinking about EMS. Both cities have invested in building impressive systems, they just seem to disagree on the value of their creations.

It has not even been two years since JEMS magazine was lauding Jersey Center Medical Center EMS (JCMCEMS) for achieving an unprecedented five national accreditations after a stunning turnaround that began only back in 2005. By all accounts, JCMCEMS has become a leading EMS service in the last few years that has shown an impressive attention to detail and creativity. Innovations such as accurately positioning units in anticipation of calls have seen a corresponding reduction in response time that has directly contributed to saving lives. Yet in the last few months, JCMCEMS has again begun a fight for its life in keeping a contract it has held for 130 years. The Jersey City mayor, Steve Fulop, has actively campaigned to replace the Jersey City Medical Center as EMS provider with CarePoint Health/McCabe Ambulance Services. What appears to be the issue is that JCMCEMS had charged the city for providing the service in order to upgrade the overall system while McCabe now offers to pay the city $2.6M for the privilege of operating the service. The end of this story hasn’t been written yet, but the mere fact it is still an open question should send shudders down the spines of any EMS managers that are planning and building toward a new health care future.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), on the other hand, is a relative newcomer as a municipal EMS provider with a charter that dates only to 1991. But in a very short time, they have become recognized not only nationally by being one of less than a dozen services (along with Jersey City) to achieve accreditation from both the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) but garnered international recognition as well. By leveraging this investment, Richmond has chosen to promote its EMS and medical institutions as an engine of health care practice and innovation in a 2013 plan “The Future of Health Care in the Richmond Region” that seeks to drive innovation throughout the region in collaboration with the state to influence the creation of new models in health care delivery around the world. Already, the idea of EMS as Competitive Economic Advantage is inspiring hope.

The basic question in disagreement between these cities who have both built similar successful systems, is whether EMS is fundamentally a “service” simply to be provided as cost effectively as possible, or is it an “asset” that could be nurtured not only for the health of its people but for the very health of its future economy as well. It appears that these two cities may choose different paths and only some future hindsight will give us vision as to which made the better choice.

1 Comment

  • Skip Kirkwood says:

    Or is it a commodity to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

    Why do cities do things like this? Because they can! Nobody outsources police or fire, because it is built in to city charters and such. A few years back, an NJ town wanted to outsource its PD to a private security firm. Guess what – the attorney general said “not legal.”

    We need to spend some time assuring that EMS has legal status, and is not just a political object for bargaining. For that we have to work together.

    Well….I guess that possibility is dead….

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Comments
JMatt
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
This is so over dramatic.They Give EMS workers super powers and give them a Medical degree.They are not even nurses. They perform a hard job with some skill but cardiac message and opening up chests and make shift surgery ,inflating the lungs!! Come on!!! The comments by the EMS workers are very AWKWARD. " WE…
2015-01-27 02:23:13
Rob Lawrence
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
i hope someone got patient consents. Did the GSW victim sign the forms? Hate to wake and anger the HIPPO monster!
2015-01-24 22:19:38
Sean Cerny
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
We run lights and sirens mandatory to most calls. There's a lot of non emergent calls as well and ALOT of etoh calls. Also on every shift almost there is a GSW somewhere if not multiple. It's a high volume service. The tv aspect Is certainly there but I think they did a good job.
2015-01-24 13:02:54
Steven
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
As a brother to one of the medics in the show, and also a fellow paramedic in new orleans, I can't stress enough that the fact that they only displayed one ETOH call is perfect to me. As you said, "this is the big easy" we run a cast majority of drunk calls, so many…
2015-01-23 15:54:29
keeley
Did You Watch ‘Nightwatch’ Last Night?
My last 12hr shift i worked 2 codes and a gsw so it happens at NOEMS more often then people realize and again every city is different unfortunately we see GSWs almost on a daily basis. ..enjoy the season NIGHTWATCH 🚑🚑🚑
2015-01-23 15:07:39

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