Lakewood Seniors Question EMS Plan

Scott carter EMS_wmThe head of the Emergency Medical Services joined seniors Friday in attacking the township’s logic for dissolving the department, questioning whether a private company would have the background and local savvy to be effective in such a diverse community. EMS Supervisor Scott Carter charged that the $700,000 deficit the township attributed to the department for 2008 is misleading. “The Township Committee is not telling anyone publicly (that) the money shortfall also includes costs┬ábeing shared by every employee of Lakewood (police, public works, building inspections . . .),” Carter said in an e-mail, referring to pensions, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, fuel and overhead building costs. “There is a small loss in the EMS department budget of about $200,000, which is minimal in the big budget of Lakewood Township.”

Asked if the $200,000 estimate was accurate, Township Manager Frank Edwards said, “If you only look at EMS salaries and operating budget, then yes,” but added that the other costs must be taken into account as well.

Renee Simons, a senior resident, said she feared a contracted company would provide diminished service .

“I think it’s very unfair,” Simons said.

The committee, predicting an ever-increasing debt, voted Dec. 3 to solicit outside companies to take over the department. The privatization would save the town at least $800,000 a year, officials have said, but at the price of laying off up to 28 workers. The change could occur in late February or early March.

“We will lose services. We will lose control of the quality of the individual responding,” said Charles Cunliffe, a former committeeman. “At the end of the day, I think the seniors will suffer most.”

The town commonly has first responder vehicles dedicated to the southern part of town where many seniors live, Cunliffe said.

Carter referred in his e-mail to “great changes” in the department over the past two years to reduce the shortfall. He said township officials did not share with him their concerns about the EMS and their plan to privatize.

Carter blamed the loss of revenue on the large number of uninsured residents who are unable to pay the fee for an emergency response.

“I am not sure if other providers that have been questioned or solicited can do all of this with the background and training already in Lakewood,” Carter said. Zach Patberg/APP

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 15,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.

Check out the latest on TLS instagram

2 COMMENTS

  1. If the EMS deficit is truly approximately $200000 then the average cost per resident according to the 2000 Census of 60,352 residents would be less than $3.30 per resident. If a privatized ambulance service came to your residence and didn’t even transport you to the hospital it would cost you approximately $100 dollars which medicare and Medicaid don’t cover all. you personally would be held responsible for the balance and if you don’t pay it would be sent to a collection agency. This is a small price to pay to have these services raedily available to you. If the EMS charged all of its residents for these services they wouldn’t be in the red at all but it is a service provided to the residents of Lakewood.And these numbers are based on the 2000 census it is now 2009 going on 2010 and were probably closer to 90,000 residents which lowers the cost per resident even lower to approximately $2.22 per resident per year. Even a household of ten residents would only cost $22.20 per year. Still less than it would cost for a privatized EMS to respond to your house once. I would gladly pay that in a year to know that the best EMS department in the state is available for me and has some of the best response times in the state. Response time with professional EMS is the key to saving lives as the first minutes are the most critical. Again I ask the township committee to think of all the residents of Lakewood and the families, no matter where they live, that have family residing in Lakewood, especially the senior community.

Comments are closed.