Paramedics program is expected by end of September

A Packet Publication
20 August, 1985

Paramedics program is expected by end of September

by Marjorie Snyder
Staff Writer

A new countywide program using full-time paid paramedics based at three area hospitals should be ready to serve Mercer County residents by the end of September, according to a Helene Fuld Medical Center administrator.

Two local rescue squad leaders praised the new plan on Monday, saying it should case their heavy load of emergency calls.

The state Department of Health granted final approval several weeks ago for Helene Fuld Medical Center to establish the paramedics program, ac-cording to AI Maghazehe, acting chief operating officer at Helene Fuld. The hospital has been authorized by the state to set up the program.

Mobile intensive care units — called “lifemobile” in Mercer County —will be stationed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the Medical Center at Princeton, Hamilton Hospital and Helene Fuld Medical Center, under the new plan.

Mr. Maghazehe said Monday he is optimistic that Helene Fuld will be able to hire additional personnel, and buy the necessary vehicles and equipment before the state-imposed Sept. 20 dead-line.

The new plan is necessary to meet state health department requirements. Mercer currently has volunteer para-medics who operate under the auspices of local rescue squads. Mercer was ode of eight counties which began pilot paramedics programs in the mid-1970s to bring emergency medical care to outlying areas. Yet there was a difficulty recruiting volunteer paramedics during the past 10 years, and other counties switched to paid paramedic programs.

In response to concerns by local rescue squad members that the new plan might hurt their efforts, Mr. Maghazehc said the Helene Fuld plan does not change the present situation.

“As long as they stay within the guidelines of the state, nothing will change,” Mr. Maghazehe said.

A 1980 state health department guideline requires two full-time pars-, medics to ride the emergency rigs and respond to advanced lifesaving calls in the region.

The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad lifemobile currently serves residents from Mercer, Somerset and Middlesex counties, according to Squad President Mark Freda. Mr. Freda said Monday the Helene Fuld plan should reduce their advanced life-saving calls by about 80 percent, and allow the squad to better serve the Princeton area.

In Pennington, the rescue squad will continue to operate with two part-time volunteer paramedics after the Helene Fuld program begins, according to Richard Butterfoss, squad leader.

“I’m not really sure how it’s going to turn out,” said Mr. Butterfoss, Pennington Borough councilman. “I think it will relieve some of our pressure.”

Mr. Butterfoss said he favors proposed legislation by Assemblyman Joseph L. Bocchini Jr., D-Hamilton, which calls for lifemobiles to run with one paramedic aboard and one Emergency Medical Technician Intermediate, a newly-created position. The bill fail-ed to move during the final Assembly session in June.
However, Mr. Butterfoss said he plans to recommend the state health department approve two full-time paid paramedics he hired to serve the Hopewell Valley. He said the growth of the area warrants more emergency health care.

“I’m going to press the issue when it comes time,” the councilman said. “I think we really need it.”

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