By JOHN T. WARD
Beginning January 1, Red Bank 911 calls for on-scene emergency medical care will be answered by a different ambulance service.
Under a contract approved by the borough council Wednesday night, Hackensack Meridian Health Alert Ambulance will replace the non-profit MONOC, which began supplementing the borough’s volunteer First Aid and Rescue Squad in mid-2013.
The reason for the change: cost, said borough Administrator Stanley Sickels. MONOC, which had been operating under a contract costing the borough $30,000 a year, came in with a proposal to increase that fee tenfold, he said.
“MONOC told us they can’t continue doing it for $30,000 a year,” Sickels told redbankgreen. “They said they had to go up to $300,000.”
The borough put out a request for proposals for the service and received two bids, Sickels said. MONOC lowered its price to $275,000, but Alert Ambulance came in at just $120,000. “So they were the successful bidder, and we’re going with it,” he said.
Like MONOC, Alert Ambulance will keep its rig at the former Relief Engine firehouse on Drummond Place, Sickels said.
The borough is under no legal obligation to contract for EMT services, Sickels said.
“We’ve gotten used to 24-hour ambulance service, which is critical in this town,” he said. “If people have heart attacks, you don’t want to be waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance.”
The first aid squad, a unit of the volunteer fire department, often had trouble mustering crews during the daytime, like many other local EMT operations.
“There will be no change in service,” Sickels said. As with MONOC, patients served by Alert will be responsible for the fees associated with their emergency care and transport, he said, though no one will be denied service.
Here’s the resolution.