Supporting Delran EMS
Delran Township absolutely supports the Delran EMS!
Emergency Medical Services or (EMS) play a vitally important role in public health and safety in our and every town. EMS is most easily recognized when emergency vehicles or helicopters are seen responding to emergency incidents, but EMS is SO much more than a ride to the hospital. It is a system of coordinated response and emergency medical care, involving multiple people and agencies. While every township is obligated to provide emergency response services; it would be disingenuous to imply that the township does not “support” EMS, without understanding the EMS system and how it operates, as well as the changes Delran EMS has gone through.
The organizational structure of EMS, as well as who provides and/or finances the services; varies significantly from community to community. Pre-hospital services can be based in a fire department, a hospital, an independent government agency (i.e. public health agency), a non-profit corporation, or even commercial for-profit companies. The old Delran/Riverside Emergency Squad was and the new Delran EMS is a non-profit corporation contracted with the township to provide these services.
Prior to 2008, Delran Township used to assist the previous Delran/Riverside Emergency Squad (the Old Company) by providing approximately $30,000 in unrestricted financial assistance, plus the township provided their workmen’s compensation insurance. In addition, because there were several towns contributing, the cooperating townships would also periodically purchase an ambulance for the emergency squad.
In 2008, after Gary was elected, he asked to see their financials before we continued to provide that funding. They refused, and it was decided not to continue providing that assistance due to a lack of transparency. As many people know, that old Delran Emergency Squad was shut down by the State of NJ in July of 2018 due to issues within their own organization.
After the Old Company was shut down by the state, Delran Township was faced with the urgent and difficult decision to maintain EMS by contracting with other companies that primarily serviced surrounding towns. The township paid thousands of dollars a month for the service and the companies proposed “Hard Billing” our residents.
HARD BILLING is the practice of billing the insurance company and then billing the patient for whatever the insurance company doesn’t pay. Thankfully, that shutdown period only lasted for six months and the outside companies reported that ultimately they did not Hard Bill the residents.
So, when the new Delran EMS was formed, the Council was very clear that we would only engage them to provide emergency medical services for Delran if they did so using “Soft Billing” practices.
SOFT BILLING is the practice of billing the insurance company and then not billing the patient for the difference. The new Delran EMS provides services primarily for Delran residents and has agreed to use the “Soft Billing” practice moving forward.
In turn, Delran Township agreed to support the Delran EMS by providing approximately $175,000 In-Kind (non-cash) contributions to offset the loss of revenue incurred by not Hard Billing Delran residents for service. These In-Kind contributions include garage space in the municipal building, gasoline to run the vehicles, heat, air conditioning, electricity, and other financial considerations. Additionally, for the first few years with the new EMS, we covered the cost of their insurance. Again, the total was approximately $175,000 per year.
Once the Covid19 pandemic occurred, surprisingly, Delran EMS had fewer calls coming in. While fewer medical emergencies is a good thing, it also translates to a loss in revenue for the EMS. Moving forward, we are currently negotiating an agreement to help them through this unexpected hurdle. We look forward to continuing to work with Delran EMS to help them provide amazing services for Delran residents.