WALL TOWNSHIP — The Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corp. [MONOC], will cease operations on April 1, after decades of providing emergency medical services along the Jersey Shore.
MONOC president Jeff Behmn said Friday that the agency’s operations will be taken over by Hackensack Meridian Health and Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health, its partner hospital companies.
“We want to assure the public there will be no disruption of services provided,” Mr. Behm said.
MONOC’s 325 employees include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, nurses, dispatchers and administrative support staff. The field employees report to a variety of locations in Ocean and Monmouth counties, while the administrative staff and dispatchers work at the agency’s headquarters at 4806 Megill Road in Wall Township.
The first responders will be laid off as of April 1, when MONOC ceases operation, Mr. Behm said. The reduction in the support staff will be done over the course of the year, he said.
Mr. Behm emailed employees on Thursday, outlining the closure plans and providing them with information about applying for new positions among MONOC partner health providers.
Citing the high demand for paramedics in New Jersey, Mr. Behm said Friday that he is “very confident the employees will have a very good chance of finding employment.”
The decision to close was “very emotional. We are a family,” Mr. Behm said. He praised the employees, who he said “are out there doing an excellent job every day.”
The decision to close came about for several reasons, he said. When MONOC was formed decades ago, the partner hospitals did not have the paramedics and EMTS that they now have, he said.
“Today, they have acquired EMS technicians and can do the work that we do,” he said.
Also, Mr. Behm said, MONOC has been struggling financially for several years.
Ocean and Monmouth counties have a large elderly population, and Medicare and Medicaid do not cover the MONOC services, he said. When MONOC does receive reimbursement from private insurers, the amount doesn’t cover the cost of the service provided, he said.
Like other Monmouth and Ocean municipalities,
Wall Township has paid EMTs who are part of the Wall Township Police Department’s Emergency Medical Services [EMS] division. There are also two volunteer services in the township, the Wall Township First Aid and Rescue Squad ons Monmouth Boulevard, and the Wall Community First Aid Squad on Lakewood Road.
“We believe there is not going to be any interruption of services,” Police Chief Kenneth Brown Jr. said Friday.
He said police receive calls for emergency medical services, the department always dispatches local first responders who provide basic life support [BLS] services.
In more serious emergencies, MONOC paramedics, who provide advanced life support [BLS], are also dispatched.
Chief Brown said the department is working “to make sure we have good contacts and protocol” for the transition of the MONOC operation to other health care providers.
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