In the ambulance business
Town agrees to switch to Meadowlands Hospital’s emergency fleet
by Adriana Rambay Fernández
Reporter Staff Writer
Aug 26, 2012 | 9257 views | 35 35 comments | 77 77 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW EMS FLEET – Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center has launched its own 911 dispatch center and emergency medical services.
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Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (MHMC) has expanded its revenue-generating sources by launching its own emergency medical services (EMS) with a fleet of six ambulances and three support vehicles. Beginning on Sept. 4, people who call 911 because they need an ambulance in Secaucus will be sent one that is managed by MHMC instead of McCabe Ambulance.

“The ambulance service is a revenue source we need to capture,” said Lynn McVey, president and CEO last week. “Admissions are critical.” She said that the average admission can generate $11,000 for the hospital and that the hospital stands to lose $500,000 if just one patient is shuttled to another location.

But the hospital agreed with a stipulation made by the municipality that its EMS can take a patient to the hospital of their choice within a 25-mile radius barring any state mandate that requires a certain type of trauma to be handled at a specific hospital.

MHMC was sold to MHA LLC – a for-profit private investment firm – in December 2010. MHA purchased the hospital for $15 million from nonprofit owners LibertyHealth, which runs Jersey City Medical Center.
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“The ambulance service is a revenue source we need to capture.” – Lynn McVey
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Since March 2011, under an agreement with the town, the hospital has paid McCabe Ambulance nearly $760,000 to perform the municipality’s emergency medical services. During a special caucus meeting Aug. 20, the hospital sought approval from the municipality to change that agreement.

Prior to that agreement, the municipality paid the previous hospital owner, Jersey City Medical Center, over $400,000 a year for EMS.

After an hour of debate in a closed session on Aug. 20, the mayor and Town Council unanimously voted to approve the agreement with the hospital to provide dispatch and emergency medical services for five years at no cost to the town.

Hospital’s finances under scrutiny

The hospital’s financial practices recently came under scrutiny after a draft of an annual financial audit revealed that they allegedly defaulted on a loan and overdrew a bank account by $1 million in 2011, despite posting a 10 percent profit and paying investors $8.4 million, according to a published report in The Record.

Employees also said paychecks have bounced at least three times since December, which prompted an investigation by the state Department of Labor, according to the article.

The story also said the hospital recorded an unprecedented turnaround of $9 million profit in 2011 – which is four times the state average – after a reported $10.4 million loss in 2010.

McVey would only describe the audit The Record’s story was based on as a “draft” in response to questions about the financial findings.

The original agreement between the municipality and MHMC signed in March 2011 stipulated that if MHMC were to switch EMS providers, the new company had to have at least five years experience in the business. Since the hospital has no experience directly handling EMS services, the stipulation was changed to require that an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) professional with at least five years of experience always ride in the ambulance.

“The general consensus of everyone here is that we want you to succeed. By us partnering in this endeavor it’s not only saving us money from the town’s end, but hopefully this helps you succeed as a locally-based hospital around town,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli during the council caucus meeting.

McVey said another reason MHMC decided to launch its own EMS was because they suspected emergency room patients were going to hospitals outside the area and that MHMC wants to “keep our own.”

Eight-minute response time

Almost a year ago, the municipality awarded Mickey McCabe, EMS coordinator for Hudson County OEM and his team, with the “Above and Beyond Award” for their efforts during Hurricane Irene. Gonnelli said because he has a close relationship with McCabe, he was “taken aback by the whole [EMS] issue.”

“We’ve had our reservations,” said Gonnelli.

McCabe was required to respond to 911 calls within seven minutes and 59 seconds, barring any extraordinary circumstances. The mayor said that the response time of the second McCabe ambulance has exceeded eight minutes many times over the past couple of months.

The original contract with McCabe also required that two ambulances be stationed in town, but Gonnelli said that this was not always followed.

“We’ve never had two EMS units,” said Gonnelli. “The second came from Jersey City, which created usually a response time of well over 8 minutes. I really wasn’t happy over the last few months of what was going on and we had several calls over eight minutes.

The state standard for ambulance response time is 7:48.

MHMC has agreed to pay the municipality $300 each time the response of any ambulance exceeds eight minutes. MHMC also agreed to maintain two ambulances in Secaucus, at all times, and to provide a third ambulance to stand by at community and sporting events if requested. One ambulance will be stationed at the local Office of Emergency Management lot in the center of town, and one will be stationed at the hospital.

“The eight minute response time has to be adhered to,” said Gonnelli.

Life-saving minutes

“Time really does make a difference,” said Dr. Howard Felderman, medical director of the Meadowlands EMS. He said that the Emergency Room sees 50 to 70 patients a day and 12,000 to 18,000 per year. He said the ailments range from a baby with an infection to car accident victims to strokes.

Felderman noted that in the past, for any patients that needed an angiogram – a special X-ray for patients suffering from an acute heart attack – they had to wait 20 to 30 minutes to be transported to a hospital that could perform the procedure. However, starting in September, with the availability of MHMC’s transport unit, patients will no longer have to wait.

Frank Travisano, who worked for McCabe for 27 years, was hired to serve as the director of the EMS by MHMC. The EMS and dispatch center employs 35 people and MHMC plans to hire 10 additional people in September.

“It was an exciting move,” said Travisano. He noted that he was happy about the opportunity to build the ambulance service from the ground up. “It is great to be given that ability.”

He said that the success of the EMS will depend on patient care.

“The whole idea of the EMT is treating the patient,” said Travisano.

All local 911 calls are handled by the Police Department, which dispatches any medical calls to the medical emergency services provider. The department also dispatches fire and police calls accordingly.

MHMC plans to monitor police and fire calls to anticipate any medical needs and have an ambulance ready at the scene should that be required.

“We always monitor Secaucus police and Secaucus fire,” said Travisano. “Especially on the fire calls [if] all of a sudden you hear ‘working fire,’ that ambulance has gotta be rolling, because the [dispatcher] might not have the ability to pick the phone up and call us right away.”

Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at afernandez@hudsonreporter.com.

Comments
(35)
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EMSBandit
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February 04, 2013
28 minute response for cardiac arrest next to the hospital? wow, wtg Meadowlands EMS Mr. Mayor hows this service working out for you?
caucusroom
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September 05, 2012
Joe Morano was the one behind this deal. Mayor Gonelli listens to him when it comes to EMS.
TheElms
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August 27, 2012
I really don’t know much about Mccabe Ambulance but I would think they would act in a more professional manner. Our mayor and council have always made the right choices for our town.
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
time will tell
SuperDouche
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August 27, 2012
Frank Travasino- aka....

The Little Creature Behind the Desk
cantfigure
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September 12, 2012
Bayonne has been getting ripped off for decades by the mouse. It only to Secaucus a few years to figure that out.

Congrats
emslol
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August 27, 2012
http://oi46.tinypic.com/2vs55b9.jpg
Carol&Pitri4ever
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August 27, 2012
Somebody change my diaper
GeneralAkbar
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August 27, 2012
P.S.

IT'S A TRAP!!!
GeneralAkbar
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August 27, 2012
You're all forgetting one thing.

If the glove does not fit, you must aquit.
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
trank hated it so much he only stayed 27 years
07094
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August 27, 2012
and I see he was such a "failure", you decided to keep him for 27 years
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
thats because it never actually failed
mikemccabe
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August 27, 2012
This is a family business, my family and the Smith family!
emslol
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August 27, 2012
McCabe EMS is the most corrupt EMS in the entire state of NJ.

They treat their employees like dogs and have a tiered employee system for treating normal employees and then "friends of the family". Don't even get me started on how little people of color they hire.
TrankFravisanoMHMCCommandant
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August 27, 2012
People of color got treated better then I did! And I was El Capitan De Emergencio de McCabe!
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
wow probably the most untrue comment yet on both parts bravo
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
they hire little people?
TrankFravisanoMHMCCommandant
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August 27, 2012
Wwwweeeeeelllllllllllllll this is interesting. Glenn, stop trying to make our company out as something we are not! We are a cop out for me to drive a car with lights and sirens and not do any real work! You know this! And yes we monitor the police and FD, but that's because if anything serious happens we need to know to call for mutual aid, EMTs that actually know how to do their job can handle the real calls.

*places hands in pants belt and stares at Title On Wall*

Mickey never let me be Commandant General of EMS.....
BenGlerchtold
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August 27, 2012
On an unrelated note, where's the best place in Secaucus to get pizza? I need a place that delivers because I cannot step away from the computer for even a moment!
BenGlerchtold
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August 27, 2012
I ALSO just received a phone call that people are commenting about me on this site. Let’s set the record straight-ER. I usually don’t comment on these sites and if I do, I use my maiden name, Finkelstein. Anyone can say anything while hiding behind a fake screen name until someone slips on a banana peel. First off, I’m not a supervisor at Meadowlands Hospital because I don’t have the required experience. Second, any EMT with less than 5 minutes of experience is required to be partnered with a more experienced EMT. As for me being hired at Meadowlands Hospital, I went thru the same hiring process as every other Hospital employee with the exception that I SKIPPED THE ENTIRE HIRING PROCESS. With that said if you want to man up, there is a great Chippendales I know of in NYC. If you have something else to say to me stop by you know where I work. Thank you.
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
glad im not a resident of Secaucus
GlennB
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August 27, 2012
.I just received a phone call that people are commenting about me on this site. Let’s set the record straight. I usually don’t comment on the sites and if I do, I use my name. Anyone can say anything while hiding behind a fake screen name until someone gets sued. First off, I’m not a supervisor at Meadowlands Hospital because I don’t have the required experience. Second, any EMT with less than 5 years experience is required to be partnered with a more experienced EMT. As for me being hired at Meadowlands Hospital, I went thru the same hiring procedures as every other Hospital employee. With that said if you want to man up, use your real name or better yet, if you have something to say to me stop by you know where I work. Thank you and have a nice day.
BenGlerchtold
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August 27, 2012
You're a joke. Happy New Year!
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
i would recommend "supervisor Glen" take McCabe up on the skill remediation he was offered before he runs a scene. scary scary stuff
JimmyDean
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August 27, 2012
Ok people, let’s stick to the article. Grow up!!!
BenGlerchtold
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August 27, 2012
Little known fact: What makes us here at MHMC EMS able to respond in lighting fast time isn't that we are stationed at the hospital, it is that we do lines of cocaine and then rape a goat to really get our adrenaline going. Those two things have been used for ages to keep one's energy levels up and able to accomplish tasks much more efficiently. I don't think that McCabe was ever more than 20 minutes late to a job, I think the underlying issue is that mose of us in Secaucus cannot count or use a clock properly so we get a little confused at times. Speaking of which, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
OnlyInHC
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August 27, 2012
I heard the way you become a supervisor at McCabe is to go out and drink for 10hrs, then get in your car and drive straight into a building. 6 months later you’re a supervisor. Cant make this stuff up.
EMSBandit
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August 27, 2012
similiar to getting a job because you're the mayor's friend, and then being given a supervisors job because youre the mayors friend
cantfigure
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September 12, 2012
Wait. Um a.

Ok that's actually true