Shamong EMS crew could face $108K fine for using unlicensed ambulance

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An emergency medical services crew in Burlington County could face a $108,000 fine for sending an unlicensed ambulance to 90 emergencies.

Shamong Medical Services operates two vehicles that are licensed through the state's Health Department. According to a notice from the state, an audit prompted by an anonymous complaint found that a third unlicensed ambulance had responded to calls between Oct. 7, 2018, and Oct. 9, 2019.

Deputy Mayor Timothy Gimbel says that he is outraged by the situation.

“We put a lot of faith and trust in that group and right now I can say the word ‘disappointing’ comes back into the conversation,” Gimbel says.

In addition to the unlicensed ambulance, the investigation also discovered that Shamong EMS failed to staff their ambulances with at least two EMTs - which is required by law - on 36 occasions.

Gimbel says that the township has reached out to Shamong EMS.

"You have a responsibility and have agreed to take that on. Now you need to respond to us and tell us why things were happening. What you plan to do to fix this and we're gonna hold you to it,” he says.

News 12 New Jersey also reached out to Shamong for comment. In a statement, it said it in part, "There have never been any complaints about our patient care or the quality of our services. We will demand a hearing which is within our rights at the state level and will demonstrate that Shamong Emergency Medical Services has not violated the regulations and has, in fact, operated exactly as instructed by the State regulators. This is not about patient care or safety."

Gimbel says that the town is now considering whether to look for a new EMS company.

“There's going to be work now. We're going to be much more detailed and involved to make sure we're doing and getting the services that we need for the town,” he says.

The state has ordered Shamong to either pay the fine within 30 days or submit a written request for a hearing to contest the findings. Shamong Medical Services is part of the Indian Mills Volunteer Fire Company.

A similar situation happened earlier this year with Lanoka Harbor EMS in Ocean County. The company was also issued similar penalties and a $617,000 fine. They are currently in the appeal process.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

 

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