Photo from L-R: EMT Robert Martinez, Harrison Fire Chief Harold Stahl,
Harrison Mayor James Fife, Vito Cicchetti, the director of Medical Transport/Emergency
Medical Services for Saint Clare’s Health, EMT Amanda Danielson
and a Harrison Police Officer.
Residents of Harrison and East Newark who call 911 for emergency medical
care can expect faster response times under a new contract awarded for
the town’s ambulance services.
Prime Saint Clare’s, a company affiliated with Saint Michael’s
Medical Center in Newark, has won a three-year contract to provide ambulance
service in Harrison and East Newark. The contract was put out to the public
and Prime Saint Clare’s submitted the winning bid. The contract
began Feb. 23
“It’s a big win for the residents of Harrison,” Harrison
Mayor James Fife said. “The response times have been reduced. We
have received no complaints since Prime Saint Clare’s took over
the contract. It’s been a great experience so far and we don’t
expect that to change.”
Prime Saint Clare’s took over the ambulance service from MONOC, the
Monmouth Ocean Hospital Services Corp.
Vito Cicchetti, the director of Medical Transport/Emergency Medical Services
for Saint Clare’s Health, said one of the major differences under
the new contract is the addition of a second “power” ambulance
that will be staffed from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the busiest hours.
“We’re offering the second ambulance in the event that the
first ambulance gets called on a mutual aid job in another community,
there’s always one ambulance available in Harrison during the busiest
hours,” Cicchetti said.
During the first two weeks, Cicchetti said the ambulance crew handled an
average of 30 calls per week. The ambulances are staffed by two state-certified
emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
Prime Saint Clare’s purchased two new state-of-the-art ambulances
valued at $110,000 each at no cost to Harrison taxpayers. They are stationed
at the Cleveland Avenue firehouse in Harrison. MONOC took its ambulance
when it lost the contract.
Harrison Fire Chief Harold Stahl said the additional ambulance has made
a tremendous difference for the Harrison Fire Department. Under the old
contract with MONAC, if a second ambulance was needed, the fire department
would send out its ambulance staffed by firefighters, which took one engine
company out of service.
“Since Prime Saint Claire’s started, I only had to put our
Fire Department ambulance into service two or three times,” Stahl
said. “Previously we were doing it four or five times a week, which
was really pushing the odds as far as risk goes. Having the additional
ambulance is an outstanding concept.”
Stahl said one of the reasons the response time has been reduced is that
Prime Saint Clare’s has a policy of 90 seconds out the door once
the call is received by dispatch. In addition, all calls are routed to
Harrison Police dispatch now, rather than a central dispatch in Monmouth County.
Saint Clare’s is an experienced provider of emergency life-saving
services. It has been operating ambulances for the past 15 years in Morris
County, where the healthcare system has hospitals in Dover and Denville.
Both Saint Michael’s and Saint Clare’s are owned by Prime Healthcare,
an award-winning California-based national hospital network that owns
45 hospitals in 14 states.
Residents in a medical emergency should continue to dial 911. While Saint
Michael’s is the closest hospital to Harrison, residents will still
be able to choose which hospital they want to be taken to. Anyone requiring
Level 1 trauma care will automatically be rushed to University Hospital
“It’s a patient’s right to choose their hospital, but
we want residents of Harrison, East Newark and Kearny to think of Saint
Michael’s as their hospital,” said Robert Iannaccone, the
CEO of the hospital. “We are not only the closest hospital, but
we have the shortest emergency room wait times of any hospital in the
area and the quality of our care is second to none.”
Saint Michael’s is one of only six hospitals in the state and the
only one in Essex County to receive a five-star rating from the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is one of only two in Newark to
receive an A rating from the Leapfrog Group for patient safety and it
has been rated one of American’s 100 top hospitals for cardiac care