North Shore-LIJ, Rockville Centre Ambulance Partnership Saves Time, Money, Lives

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y., Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over the past 2 1/2 years, the North Shore-LIJ Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) has responded to more than 2,300 911 emergency calls from residents of Rockville Centre and transported over 1,800 ill or injured patients to area hospitals.

The 911 response service is part of a highly acclaimed, groundbreaking approach to emergency ambulance services that the Village of Rockville Centre implemented in December 2008.

Initiated by Rockville Centre's Fire Department and approved by the Village Board, this first-ever private-public EMS partnership on Long Island offers unparalleled ambulance coverage to community residents, with an average response time under 3 1/2 minutes.

From a financial standpoint, the agreement has resulted in cost savings to the village estimated at $100,000 per year and has strengthened the core of its emergency response services, according to village officials.

Under the terms of the agreement, North Shore-LIJ provides ambulance and emergency medical services for the Village weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., when local volunteers are in short supply because of day-time job responsibilities. North Shore-LIJ's ambulance is staffed by highly trained, certified paramedics and experienced emergency medical technicians. In addition, North Shore-LIJ has a nearby second ambulance should the need arise.

"We have completely assimilated into the structure of the Rockville Centre Fire Department," said Alan Schwalberg, North Shore-LIJ's vice president for emergency services. "We are always simultaneously notified, as are the local police and the fire department. It's a seamless operation."

The shortage of volunteer fire, emergency and medical personnel, especially during daytime hours, has become a statewide problem. And, the ever-increasing cost to local governments everywhere has made the problem a national concern. State, city and other local governments throughout the country have turned to hospitals, medical centers and private companies to partner with them to provide life-savings services.

Rockville Centre's agreement with North Shore-LIJ came after more than two years of study, research and public hearings by the village board. The village board's partnership with North Shore-LIJ has enjoyed the support of the village's highly respected volunteer fire department.

"It's been a win-win for all of us. We are very happy with the arrangement," said Fire Chief John Bushing. "This is a true partnership that could serve as the model for other local communities wrestling with these problems."

The amount that the village pays North Shore-LIJ is based on the volume of calls it answers. The more calls, the lower the cost. And to protect its taxpayers, Rockville Centre's bottom-line costs are capped, regardless of the amount of calls.

In recent months, North Shore-LIJ has been approached by a number of local governments and fire districts, asking for more information about the many ways the North Shore-LIJ's Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) can be of help to support their local ambulance emergency services.

For more information about North Shore-LIJ's Center for EMS 911 response services, call 516/719-5036.

About North Shore-LIJ Center for EMS

Founded in 1993, the North Shore-LIJ Health System's Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) is the largest hospital-based ambulance service in the New York Metropolitan area and one of the largest in the United States. It affords the best in emergency ambulance and routine transfer services throughout its entire health system. It also offers important critical care transport. The Center utilizes the very latest cutting-edge technology, including a global positioning satellite (GPS) system that instantly directs its ambulances to the right resource in the shortest time. The center was awarded a certificate of full accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS), making it the first and only ambulance service in the New York metropolitan area to receive this distinction and one of six in the entire state of New York. The emergency numbers to reach the North Shore-LIJ CEMS are 516/719-5000 on Long Island and 718/747-4911 or 212/434-4911 in New York City.