Paid EMTs To Eventually Cover Senior Communities At Night

Age, illness, sour economy takes toll on First Aid Squads in Holiday City area


Township officials are working on a plan to supplement first aid coverage in the senior communities at night, as squad memberships continue to drop. 

"We have a very serious problem," Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said at the Aug. 14 Township Council meeting. "Response times in the senior communities at night are longer and longer. As the years go by, it becomes more difficult to get volunteers."

Township Councilman Thomas Grosse said members of the public safety committee met recently with first aid squad representatives to discuss the "dwindling numbers" in squads in the senior communities.

Age, illness, seniors who have to work, and an increase in required training hours from 140 hours to 195 hours have contributed to the problem, Grosse said.

"It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there was going to be a problem," he said. "It appears we are going to try and get the program up and running."

The first aid squads in the senior communities will continue to work. The township plans to hire two paid EMTs to supplement the night shifts, Grosse said.

Amato said after the meeting that he and Township Council members are committed to supporting the first aid squads.

"do an exceptional job responding to the needs of the senior communities during the day," he said.

Currently MONOC paramedics frequently answer calls in the senior communities, then bill residents for their services.

That won't happen if the township hires paid EMTs, because the township will take only what a resident's insurance pays, Grosse said.

"There will be no extra money coming out of your pocket," he said.

Some residents actually put off calling for help because they are afraid of the cost, Amato said after the meeting.

"Residents should not be afraid to call 911 for help for fear they will be getting a large bill for the service," the mayor said. "We have an obligation to make sure when residents call 911 for a medical emergency at night in the senior community, the response is there."

Since the idea is still in the "infancy" stages, the details still have to be worked out.

"We are looking into this program very seriously," Grosse said. "We in no way intend to the first aid squads out. It's the squads who are coming to us and saying 'We need help.' "

The paid EMT program will pay for itself, as it has in neighboring comunities, he said.

"This is something we need to do," Amato said. "So that when people dial 911 they know an ambulance will be there. This is not a money maker. It's making sure our residents will be protected."

Scott K. August 15, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Currently MONOC paramedics frequently answer calls in the senior communities, then bill residents for their services. That won't happen if the township hires paid EMTs, because the township will take only what a resident's insurance pays, Grosse said. Mr Grosse - Please get your facts straight. Even if the EMTs respond, there will be plenty of times where they require a paramedic level response from MONOC as well. The charges will still be there.
Will August 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM
He is obviously talking about MONOC's BLS coverage not the medics. I'm sure he has his facts straight just wasn't worded correctly. Of course if ALS is called anyone would be charged. But at night MONOC provided the BLS coverage due to the squads unable to run night calls and was also able to charge the resident for that too. Now with the town providing the BLS coverage again the resident will no longer be charged directly for BLS type calls by.
Steven Baeli August 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM
The senior citizen developments in Berkeley have historically been taken care of way beyond the rest of the township, and yet they constantly complain about taxes and having to pay for schools and those government services that they so love. I would like to remind everyone that many of those who retire to those communities didn't live here before retiring and have no connection to Ocean County or Berkeley Township, which makes their greediness all the more insulting. Those who live in those senior developments want to be considered a private community but with all the benefits of township tax dollars. That has to stop and stop now. Because they have been catered to so much over the last 40 years or so other areas of the township are now in dire need of rebuilding and fixing. The main corridor running through Bayville is a prime example of that. That area, which is the true "town center," not the Beachwood Plaza area that is on the outskirts of town, is laden with heavy traffic and dangerous to drive through, and you take your life in your hands trying to cross the street, yet nothing is being disucssed about what to do about that situation. No, let's cater to the seniors some more. Why? Well, because they vote. EMS and fire services are necessary to every community, but where is it written that we have to pay for all of it? If the seniors have to pay out some money then so be it. They might also want to consider donating to those services to keep them alive.
Will August 15, 2012 at 01:13 PM
That is one of the most asinine comments I have ever read. They should have to pay taxes which goes towards the Volunteer BLS squads who only run from 7a-7p then have to pay MONOC BLS out their pocket if they need assistance from 7p-7a because it will make you feel better personally that they are paying more money than you and not the same amount? Fortunately Bayville First Aid squad is able to attract younger members due to their location and they are very good at making their responses and night calls are not a problem for them. However in Holiday City there is not many people able to volunteer to do that job night in night out anymore due age, health and various other reasons. This paid service is not costing the township any money and will be supported by charging the patients insurance just as Toms Rivers and Bricks has.
Bob Hockenfrocken August 15, 2012 at 07:00 PM
You cant compare the Township hiring two EMTs for Holiday City to problems with antiquated highway infrastructure owned by the State...
Steven Baeli August 15, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Firstly, as to taxes, it is my understanding that the retirement villages were spared recent the massive property tax hike that took place in Berkeley Township, so they are effectively paying less in taxes than the average homeowner for a higher rate of public services. Second, my point was that we are already paying for a volunteer system of which I have no problem and fully support. If that system cannot provide 24-7 service to the affected senior developments, what you are asking for is the citizens of Berkeley Township to pony up even more money to cover the cost of private EMS service for just that area of the township. That might be considered pandering since they are the majority of the vote in town. Last I heard we were broke and that there is still a recession on despite what the federal government tells us. How then would we pay for such an extra service to people who are already reaping tax benefits and who are singled out to receive the bulk of attention from the township offials? Yes, they are senior citizens living on fixed incomes, but so are we all right now. We must start to draw the line somewhere because we, the citizens of Berkeley Township, cannot be expected to double down on the retirement communities. I would love to see the mean worth of the people who live in the senior developments. I'd venture to say that they are for the most part doing quite well in their elderly years.
Steven Baeli August 15, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Second Part: The same can't be said of the other seniors in Berkeley who cannot afford to live in the private senior communities. They have to pay higher property taxes in return for lesser township services. The time has come to say no to Holiday City and the other affected communities. I don't wish anyone harm in their health, and I understand that it is a potential problem for them, but they should look to purchasing supplemental insurance if they expect to have to pay EMS bills at some point down the line. That's what everyone else does and so should they. I don't know how long you have lived here, Will, but I am a lifelong resident of Berkeley Township who was also robbed of public services when that same voting bloc continuously voted down school after school, forcing us to remain on split sessions for something like 10 years. How is giving us a lesser education helping the community-at-large? I have seen first hand what has been going on between township officials and the retirement communities. hell, they even moved Town Hall and the police department out closer to them in the 1970s. I'm sorry to have to say, but they need to pay for what we cannot afford to supply them right now. Time for them to tighten their own belts for once and stop living on the backs of the rest of the township.
Will August 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Are you actually reading what was said or just want to see what you think is whats happening. The paid ems service is gonna run at no cost to the residents of Berkeley Twp. Like I said in my previous post it pays for itself similar to Toms River's and Brick's system.
Taxpayer of toms river August 16, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Holiday city is gunna get two paid Emt''s think they are going to need mOre then that you expect 2 people to work 7 days a week from 7p-7a that's 84 hours a week
George August 16, 2012 at 06:53 AM
would need two more then team A would work 36 hours - team b works 48 they switch the following week.
Steven Baeli August 16, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Will, I don't write what I do for the response of the likes of you or anyone else. What I wrote was factual and respectful and it addresses a long-standing problem in our township. Yours not so much. Instead of attacking me annonymously, why don't you try explaining yourself. How exactly is it that the taxpayers won't be paying for two new town EMS hirees? Whenever the government hires people their salaries and benefits come from the coffers. If there is something else here that we haven't read, then please explain instead of throwing out a statement with no facts to back it up. I'm going to take a guess here and say that you are probably in line for one of these EMS jobs or know someone who is. What is your status here in all of this? My opinion comes from a taxpayer standpoint. Yours is suspicious. BTW, I think Taxpayer of TR and George are right. There is no way that 2 people can cover 7 nights a week, so it won't be long before they will want 2 more.
Tony pappagallo August 16, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Tony Papp Guess your heritage is of the Lenape Tribe or the 200 Native Americans that settled in NJ. Oh, no, then where did your ancestors migrate from? You are showing your hatred for the Senior Community. Why don't you go down to the Coucil and ask that Berkeley Township break loose the Senior Community. We can then have our own Municipality, and you wouldn't have to be concerned about the "greedy seniors. I'm sure your taxes will then go waaaay down since you won't have to be concerned about those greedy interlopers. Guess you have a "selected" reading disorder. The plan is to have a SELF sustaining squad which will operate in the senior community between the hours of 7:30 pm and 7:30 am with the use of the Senior Communities ambulances. If this plan works out as intended, volunteers will be included. No, I am not a paid EMS person, nor do I expect to be one, ever. I have been a volunteer for 15 years, have you?
Taylor August 16, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Really ???
Steven Baeli August 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Tony pappagallo - It is typical of people like you who do not actually read what I wrote who avoid the questions and facts that I posed if favor making it personal with name calling all the while address nothing that I said with facts. What my heritage has to do with any of this I don't know. I have lived in Berkeley Township since 1963 and have seen firsthand the pandering and catering that has gone on between the senior developments and the town government. That is not "hatred for the Senior Community." That is experience that has shown to me and many others who live here that those private communites get special favor. I fully intend to be at the next council meeting to argue against this proposal and you might be surprised to see many others there who feel the same. Based on what you have written, it appears that you are part of that senior community, so of course you will say and do anything to get more from the rest of the township's taxpayers, thus proving my point that you don't care about the rest of town, but only yourself. You might also want to remember that, as I mentioned, other seniors living in BT don't get nearly the services that you do, but that's easy to forget when you only think of yourself.
Steven Baeli August 16, 2012 at 04:36 PM
The "SELF sustaining squad" that you speak of. How exactly will that be paid for and when did any such services not cost the taxpayers money? Answer: Never. Even the volunteer system, which I clearly said that I support, is funded in part by tax dollars. Congratulations on being a volunteer for 15 years. As for me, I volunteer my services in other ways and work towards equality across the township, not special interest for people like you.
Taylor August 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Wow...amazing how misinformation and uninformed, narrow-minded people can cause such a stir....Number 1..They intend to have 2 emt's per ambulance...with 2 or 3 ambulances running per shift (the author ommitted this part)...Number 2 There will be NO EXPENSE to taxpayers...the council stated repeatedly that they will only bill what the insurance company pays and nothing more out of pocket...Number 3...Monoc will not disappear...they will still have to be utilized for all ALS calls...but all basic life support (a substantial percentage of the calls)...and transports will be handled...free of charge...by the township EMT's...For those who have something against the senior community...keep in mind the only reason this service is being offered to them is because they asked the town for help..the other township squads were asked if they needed assistance handling calls and they declined the help...Furthermore...this is a self sustaining program at no cost to taxpayers....No, this isnt curing cancer or feeding the world's hungry...but for Berkeley Township I think this is a great step in the right direction and commend those involved.
Steven Baeli August 16, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Thank you for presenting some facts, Taylor. I may not have had all the information, which I repeatedly asked for, but I am hardly narrow-minded. The things that I said about pandering are accurate, but now I have other questions. The article stated the following: "Currently MONOC paramedics frequently answer calls in the senior communities, then bill residents for their services. That won't happen if the township hires paid EMTs, because the township will take only what a resident's insurance pays, Grosse said. "There will be no extra money coming out of your pocket," he said. Why is the township getting involved if the resident's insurance pays out? If such ambulance calls are covered by insurance then what is the problem here? It seems to me that the town, by hiring EMTs, will be at some point be paid for by the township. That is always how things work out without fail. We can't afford that. Please explain to me why the township is playing middleman. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you mean by "the council stated repeatedly that they will only bill what the insurance company pays and nothing more out of pocket."
Steven Baeli August 16, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I would also like to point out that those same senior communities constantly ask for services and get them without fail while the rest of the township is falling apart. As I mentioned earlier, there have been many calls for the council to rebuild the town center where the Shop-Rite is, but nothing is ever done. Anyone on the fire or first aid squads in that area can attest to the constant accidents that take place every single day multiple times a day, some resulting in death. That puts a further burden on those services and presents a quality of life problem for those of us who live here. It is not that I have "something against the senior community." It is the constant attention being paid to those communities while the rest of us suffer. This is a fact that no one on the council wants to address because those same communites make up the largest voting bloc in the township.
George August 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Seems to be a lack of communication an the part of all involved. To make it clear to all commenting on this topic: When people hear "hire" they assume the person or persons will be paid for their services. If somenone is hired to take the 7pm to 7am shift that is 12 hours pay. The calls responded to will pay for the time spent on the call. Some might question who pays the worker or workers for time between calls and for the shift if no calls are received? A few answers would help those who have questiond the cost of this very needed service
Steven Baeli August 17, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Thank you, George. Thus far it really isn't clear who will be paying. I don't agree that the use of the word hire means anything but what it has always meant, and that is that compensation is involved for work given, especially since it involves government, which has a habit of making jobs for their friends. Other questions should include: 1. Will this be a Civil Service position? 2. Will the pay included health and retirement benefits? 3. Who will be eligible for these positions? 4. How exactly will they be paid for if the taxpayers aren't footing the bill? 5. Does Medicare pay for EMT services? If not, do supplemental insurances cover such costs? None of it makes any sense if insurance covers the cost of EMT services.
Steven Baeli August 17, 2012 at 12:48 AM
In answer to the Medicare question covering ambulance service: http://www.medicareinteractive.org/page2.php?topic=counselor&page=script&slide_id=1246
Steven Baeli August 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM
This being the case I don't understand why we need to hire EMTs to cover the night shift if the volunteers are unavailable.
foggyworld August 17, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I lived in Bayville and many of us are seniors who just don't seem to be included or invited to parktake in any senior community benefits at all. As a small example we used to get garbage collection twice a week during the summer only and that was cut back to once a week. During this whole time, senior communities were receiving twice a week year round pick ups. It's just time to level the playing field for all in Berkeley Township.
Steven Baeli August 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Finally the other side speaks. Thank you foggyworld. I find it interesting that once this was brought into the light and all the name calling subsided, all we hear are crickets. None of this makes sense, and I suspect that it is just another ploy to create more government jobs for the friends of the politicians, who will also reap the benefits of the voting bloc that is the private senior communities. I've been trying to figure out why the first aid volunteers are so down for this, but then I remembered that many of them want to go full-time and get paid and this is the foot in the door. Let's not let that happen because we cannot afford it, and besides the volunteer system that we have now is affordable and it works.
C. Peter Campbell September 08, 2012 at 06:27 PM
As a senior, why should I have to pay the outrageous school taxes since I don't have any rgrats in the system? I am only using your logic.
C. Peter Campbell September 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I don't think a huge goverment is in the plan during the Republican majority. Large government is usually a dream of the Democrats which are thankfully history currently.
C. Peter Campbell September 08, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Whoever is concerned with Rt 9 in Bayville needs to direct his/her concerns to Trenton since it's a state road and not the township's concern.
C. Peter Campbell September 08, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Steven: The time to say no to the Township to expect the senior communities to pay for all the necessary and more importantly the un necessary ( sports, and other extra curricular) activites when we have no children using the services provided. You see it seems to work both ways.


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