The Valley Hospital Emergency Services Department operates a wide array of emergency and non-emergency transportation services including Paramedic trucks, Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances, a Specialty Care Transport Unit (for inter-hospital transfers), and a patient transport medical van. Additionally, our EMS department coordinates the Emergency Preparedness Disaster Plan for the hospital and our EMS Training Center offers classes to area ambulance corps. The department employs approximately 80 staff members with different levels of training and expertise including Paramedics, Registered Nurses and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Our Mobile Intensive Care Unit
Since 1983, The Valley Hospital Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) has provided paramedic services to our northwestern Bergen County community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our staff of highly-skilled paramedics brings a unique blend of technology, professional expertise, human care and concern directly to the scene of accidents and medical emergencies. The Valley Hospital’s MICU is a progressive and ever-growing unit being one of the first in the State of New Jersey to implement advanced airway management procedures, such as Rapid Sequence Intubation utilizing paralytic medications, and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Our philosophy is to provide our community with the highest quality and the most up-to-date healthcare modalities possible.
Twenty-four hours a day, the MICU staffs Advanced Life Support (ALS) units. These ALS Units are stationed in Ridgewood, Wyckoff and Saddle River, respectively, to assure timely responses to all communities in our assigned service area.
What are Paramedics?
Paramedics in New Jersey are certified and regulated by the State Department of Health and Senior Services (http://www.state.nj.us/health/ems/index.html). Education is typically completed at select regional community colleges (such as Union County College or Rockland County College) and includes a minimum of 550 hours of didactic classroom time. After didactic, there are approximately 700 hours of clinical training at the hospital. Departmental rotations include: Emergency Department, Critical and Intensive Care Units, and Operating Room to name a few. At least 400 hours are spent in the field with the MICU. Recertification for paramedics is required every two years, with a minimum of 48 hours of continuing education. Our MICU offers qualified EMT-Basics clinical sponsorship to the Union County College (UCC) EMT-Paramedic Training Program. More information is available at http://www.ucc.edu/go/medic and an application packet for the UCC Program is also available for download.
Paramedics in New Jersey also maintain current certifications from the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org) in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers. Other programs recommended for paramedics include Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (www.phtls.org) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (http://www.aap.org/nrp/nrpmain.html).
In New Jersey, paramedics operate under the license of physician Medical Directors; typically the physicians are on staff in Emergency Departments of the MICU hospitals. Among the many advanced skills paramedics may perform are the following: interpretation of electrocardiograms, defibrillation and cardioversion, initiation and maintenance of intravenous and intraosseous lines, accessing central venous lines, endotracheal intubation, nasogastric tube insertion, administration of approximately 40 emergency medications (IV, IO, ET, SL, SQ, PO, IM, TD, PR) and chest decompression via needle thoracentesis.
Your Community’s Emergency Services System
When an emergency telephone call is placed to 9-1-1, the trained dispatcher in your community gathers relevant information and determines what resources are needed. These resources may include Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances staffed by your town’s local ambulance corps as well as Advanced Life Support (ALS) personnel provided by the nearest hospital-based MICU.
The volunteer ambulance corps members are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) trained in basic life support which includes first aid, administration of emergency oxygen, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation with semiautomatic defibrillators (SAED).
The Valley Hospital Paramedics (who arrive in a second emergency vehicle) continue care upon arrival at the scene of the emergency. The paramedic team carefully but rapidly assesses the patient’s condition. ALS interventions may consist of advanced airway management, IV lines, medication administration, advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric life support measures. If ALS interventions are deemed medically necessary, then treatment is initiated immediately or en route to the nearest appropriate hospital, which can provide definitive treatment. If ALS interventions are not deemed necessary, patients are released to the local ambulance EMTs for transport and The Valley Hospital paramedics will immediately become available for other emergencies.
The Communities We Serve
Our MICU responds to approximately 8,000 calls per year. The majority of these requests for our services come from our “primary service area” which includes the following communities: Allendale, Fair Lawn, Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Hawthorne, Ho-Ho-Kus, Mahwah, Midland Park, Oakland, Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgewood, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River, Waldwick and Wyckoff. When requested, we also respond to Elmwood Park, Emerson, Haledon, Montvale, Oradell, North Haledon, Ringwood, Washington Township, Westwood and Woodcliff Lake.
Fees for Advanced Life Support Services
The expenses incurred by provision of ALS services to these communities are met by our ability to bill for services rendered. When The Valley Hospital MICU paramedics respond to a call, patients are billed for services provided regardless of whether transportation was provided to The Valley Hospital or to another hospital. These fees are reimbursable by most insurance companies. Regardless of their ability to pay, our patients can expect to receive appropriate and professional pre-hospital care.
Our Basic Life Support Ambulances
In the Fall of 2009, our EMS Department acquired ambulances and hired EMT’s to provide much-needed BLS services to patients in our community. Staffed by EMTs, these ambulances are licensed to respond to emergencies. However, our staff should not be viewed as a replacement for the EMTs that generously volunteer for our surrounding towns – but rather as professional backup to assure that emergency care is available to anyone in need. Our ambulances also provide non emergent transportation of patients to or from The Valley Hospital or any of our healthcare facilities. Presently, these ambulances are in service Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fees for these services are also reimbursable by most insurance companies. To make arrangements for a non-emergent transport, please call the Transport Coordinator’s office at 201-447-8000, ext. 3370.
Specialty Care Transport Unit
In 2008, the Specialty Care Transport Unit (SCTU) was created to safely provide ground transportation for “critical care patients” from one hospital to another. The SCTU ambulance is equipped with specialized medical equipment not found on most other ambulances. And the SCTU is staffed by a registered nurse certified in emergency or critical care nursing, as well as a Mobile Intensive Care Unit paramedic and an EMT.
Care provided during transport may include maintenance or implementation of physician medication orders, telemetry monitoring, managing patients on ventilators, intra-aortic balloon pumps, ventricular-assist devices, invasive pressure-line monitoring, etc.
With this capability, inter-hospital transportation can safely be provided to patients of all ages. While most inter-hospital transfers are local or regional, we have transported patients to healthcare facilities as far north as Boston, Massachusetts and as far south as Washington D.C.
SCTU service is available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our staff is “on-call” from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The fee for inter-hospital transportation may be reimbursable by a patient’s insurance company, especially when this transfer is determined to be medically necessary by the patient’s physician.
To make arrangements for patient transport, please call the Communication Center at 201-996-2985 if arranging transportation from outside the hospital. For calls from within the hospital, please call ext. 2001.
The Valley Van
From Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the EMS Department provides round-trip transportation from home to any Valley Health System facility. Our wheelchair-accessible van staffed by an EMT will arrive at the prearranged time, deliver patients to their appointments and return later to bring them home. There is no charge for this service. Not every request for transport can be accommodated on a given day due to the demand for this complementary service. Arrangements for this service can be made by calling 201-447-8000, ext. 2507.
Working closely with other hospitals and government representatives, a member of our Department coordinates, evaluates and implements the emergency management plan for The Valley Hospital's response to disasters - natural or otherwise.
EMS Training Center
The MICU Department's "EMS Training Center" offers Continuing Medical Education for all pre-hospital professionals. We provide a wide array of Nationally-recognized courses including PHTLS, PEPP, AMLS, and National Registry (www.nremt.org) refresher programs. We will also customize lectures to your needs and provide expert speakers on any topic in EMS today. For more information regarding these or other classes, please contact our Manager & Clinical Coordinator at 201-447-8430.
Questions, Comments, or Inquiries?
Mobile Intensive Care Unit
The Valley Hospital
223 North Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450-2736