The Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps is a New Jersey licensed Basic Life Support Ambulance provider with approximately 45 active Emergency Medical Technician volunteers. The organization is headed operationally by Matthew Dogali, who has served as Chief for the past year. Administratively, the Corps is run by Brian Corcoran, who has served as President for 10 years. Both the Chief and the President are active in EMS; Matthew as a 10 year EMT in both paid and volunteer EMS departments, and Brian as a 25 year volunteer and paid EMT as well as being a paramedic for a local hospital-based Mobile Intensive Care Unit.
In 2016, the Corps ran over 4,000 calls and as such is one of the busiest Emergency Medical Services with volunteer personnel in the State of New Jersey. The Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps operates five basic life support (BLS) ambulances, two BLS level first response/supervisory vehicles, a mass causality incident and rehabilitation trailer that includes an off-road John Deere Gator specially outfitted with BLS equipment, and a special events bicycle response team that also includes a T3 Motion personal transporter outfitted with BLS equipment. All current apparatus is owned solely by the Corps and purchased with funds raised through donations from our community and medical insurance billing from the patients we transport.
The Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps has a shift supervisor on duty known as the Tour Chief. The Tour Chief is immediately available to actively manage the operational issues of the Corps while ensuring that Emergency Medical Service is provided to the community in the most effective manner. Specifically selected and trained personnel take turns for 12 hour shifts to ensure that operating procedures and guidelines are being followed consistently. They manage the department’s resources on a minute-to-minute basis, and also provide initial EMS Branch Command at major incidents, until relieved by the EMS Coordinator or the Chief.
Physio-Control LUCAS Chest Compression Device
The Physio-Control LUCAS Chest Compression Device is used to provide standardized, effective and uninterrupted chest compressions when someone’s heart has stopped beating. The Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. has invested over $60,000 into supplying these devices as standard equipment on all of our ambulances, allowing our EMTs and the hospital-based paramedics to concentrate on other lifesaving duties. Most importantly, when utilized, the LUCAS has not only significantly improved resuscitation rates nationwide, but also reduces the number of broken bones and related injuries that can occur during resuscitative efforts. The LUCAS is recognized by the American Heart Association as the new standard in pre-hospital cardiac arrest care and the Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. is one of the few EMS providers in Bergen County to utilize this technology.
Each ambulance carries one adult dose and one pediatric dose epinephrine auto-injector for the injection of epinephrine as an emergency treatment for the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. All EMTs on our roster have received training in identifying anaphylaxis and the use of an epinephrine auto-injector. Anaphylaxis can be caused by such triggers as food, insect bites or stings, medicines, and more.
The T3 Patroller electric standup vehicle is highly maneuverable, allowing EMTs fast access to patients in areas where an ambulance may take time to reach, such as crowded events, indoor locations or high rise buildings.
The EMS Bike Team patrols crowded events, enabling quick responses to areas where an ambulance cannot safely or quickly enter.
The Corps’ John Deere Gator is an all-terrain utility vehicle that allows EMTs better access to patients at parks and crowded events. It is equipped with a backboard enabling patients to be safely transported to an ambulance.
The Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. was incorporated with nine charter members and one ambulance. The ambulances and members were housed at the old Civic Center, on the corner of The Esplanade and Central Avenue (now the location of Nellie K. Parker Elementary School).
Originally, the Corps operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As time progressed, the amount of emergency calls increased. The Corps found it more difficult to get volunteers for the daytime shifts. At that time, the Hackensack Fire Department supplemented the ambulance service during daytime hours, Monday through Friday 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with the volunteers continuing to provide nighttime and weekend service.
The amount of emergency calls increased so much that the Corps had to buy three ambulances and recruit more volunteers to serve the city effectively.
February 14, 1974
The Ambulance Corps volunteers joined forces with Hackensack Hospital and formed a cardiac unit, known as the Heart Rescue Team, which was comprised of a nurse, doctor, and a volunteer Ambulance Corps member. Hackensack Ford donated a 1973 white station wagon. The volunteer driver and car were stationed at the hospital, picking up the doctor and nurse from the Emergency Room when a “CODE 41” was paged. This led to the creation of the hospital’s Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic Unit, which has become one of the most highly recognized paramedic units in the state.
The Ambulance Corps relocated from Central Avenue to its present location in the City complex, facing the railway with direct egress to both State Street and Union Street.
September 15, 2008
Emergency medical communications are now handled by MICCOM (Northern New Jersey Mobile Intensive Care Communications). (MICCOM is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and APCO as a Public Safety Communications Center.) All requests for emergency medical services are first received by the Hackensack Police Department’s 9-1-1 center, then directed to MICCOM, which dispatches the nearest EMS unit based on current Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies. MICCOM is responsible for dispatching ambulance and paramedic units in Bergen County, Passaic County, and parts of Morris County. (In 2016, MICCOM received approximately 80,000 requests for EMS services in the region.) The Communications Center provides ALS/BLS dispatching, EMD education, 9-1-1 call screening and lifesaving pre-arrival instructions to callers (e.g. CPR, bleeding control) while the ambulance is responding. This technology helps the Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps respond more quickly and accurately.
January 01, 2010
Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps swore in Frank Garrett as its first Chief and Obed Fountoukis as its first Deputy Chief. Having previously been led by a captain, the Corps is now headed by an elected Chief, Deputy Chief and two Captains, followed by appointed Lieutenants.
Question: How do I access the EMS system?
Answer: Dial 9-1-1 to report any emergency. When the call is answered you will be asked several questions. The first question is “where and what is the emergency?” When your call is determined to be of a medical nature, you will be conferenced with the Northern New Jersey Mobile Intensive Care Consortium’s Communication Center (MICCOM). At the same time emergency equipment is being dispatched, you will be asked additional questions about the situation. When calling 9-1-1 please do the following:
- Speak clearly into the telephone and speak directly to the 9-1-1 operator.
- Don’t talk with others while on 9-1-1; don’t put the operator on hold.
- Know the exact location (building number, street, suite or apartment number, or street intersection) where help is needed.
- Answer all the questions the 9-1-1 call taker asks. The information requested is not only for your safety, but also for the safety of the responding personnel.
- Don’t hang up until asked to do so by the call taker. The 9-1-1 call taker may be able to give important instructions before emergency personnel arrive.
Question: What do I do after the phone call?
Answer: Remain calm. MICCOM call takers are specially trained Emergency Medical Technicians and Emergency Medical Dispatchers. They are among the highest trained emergency medical dispatchers in the nation! They will provide information and instructions to assist you in reacting to the emergency and providing aid to the patient. Remember to not move an injured person unless their life is in immediate danger. Equally important, don’t become a victim yourself. Offer only the level of aid that you are comfortable with providing. Finally, if your request for assistance is for an illness, gather all medications the patient is taking, along with a current medical history, to pass on to the emergency medical personnel when they arrive.
Question: Is there anything I can do to make finding my house easier?
Answer: Yes. First, does your house number display measure up to these standards?
- Is your house number at least 5 inches in height and readable from the street?
- Make sure your house number is set on a background of contrasting color.
- On a corner lot, your house number should face the street named in the address.
- House numbers should be illuminated OR easily visible at night.
- House numbers should be in plain block numerals, not script or written numbers.
- When the house is some distance from the street, or when the view of the house is blocked by trees or shrubs, house numbers should be on a sign attached to a tree, fence, gate or lawn stake.
Second, at night have someone blink the house lights when they see our emergency lights or have someone at the end of your driveway to flag us down.
Question: What happens at the emergency scene?
Answer: Personnel will arrive usually within three minutes. When EMTs arrive, their first action is to assess the condition of the patient and determine the need for immediate actions. Many situations can best be corrected by life-sustaining therapy that is most successful when initiated at the emergency scene. Please allow the emergency medical personnel time to complete these actions for the benefit of the patient. As the patient’s condition is stabilized, arrangements will be made for transport. It is our goal to transport the patient to the most appropriate hospital facility.
Question: Why does a fire truck show up?
Answer: Sometimes a fire engine will respond along with an ambulance because it is the closest emergency vehicle to the scene or, during call screening, the MICCOM call taker/dispatcher has determined that the call was of a life threatening nature and the firefighters will respond to assist EMTs and Paramedics with these calls. If an ambulance is delayed due to excessive call volume in the City, these firefighters will render whatever aid is necessary. Along with basic medical equipment, fire engines are equipped with automatic external defibrillators, a device used to monitor the heart and deliver an electrical charge to correct a life-threatening heart rhythm. Teamwork is an essential part of emergency operations, and all of the personnel on the emergency scene are trained to function as a lifesaving team.
Question: Can I go along to the hospital?
Answer: You may ride along to the hospital; however, you will be asked to ride in the front with the driver. When possible, drive your own vehicle to the hospital because we are not able to give you a ride back to your home. When driving to the hospital, you must obey all state laws and stay at least 500 feet behind the ambulance. Excessive speed and dangerous maneuvers will endanger others as well as you.
Question: Does HVAC install child seats?
Answer: Cars seat installations are handled by the Hackensack Police Department. Contact them at (201) 646-7737 for this service during regular business hours.
Question: Is Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps affiliated with any hospitals?
Answer: No. The Corps transports to regional hospitals as requested by the patient, law enforcement, and protocol.
Question: How is the Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps funded?
Answer: The Corps is a not-for-profit organization, and all acquired funds are used to cover our day-to-day operational expenses, which include vehicle maintenance, medical supplies, uniforms, etc. We receive donations from the public and other organizations in the community. The majority of expenses incurred by the provision of emergency ambulance service to our community are met by our ability to bill for services rendered. When Hackensack Emergency Medical Technicians respond to a call, patients are billed for service when transportation is provided to a 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.
Question: Is the bill for the ambulance covered by insurance?
Answer: In most cases, yes. However, this depends in large part on the type of coverage that the patient has and whether the service is considered “Medically Necessary” by the patient’s insurance carrier. For more information, contact RevenueGuard (see below).
Question: Who do I contact if I have a billing question?
Answer: Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. has outsourced ambulance billing to a private company. RevenueGuard handles the billing, insurance filing, and appeals for ambulance runs. For billing questions, please contact them directly at:
PO Box 949
Matawan, NJ 07747
866-624-0900, ext. 2302
Question: I was recently transported by ambulance and Medicare denied my bill for Medical Necessity. Why did they deny and what are my rights?
Answer: The Medicare program will only pay for ambulance services that it deems “Medically Necessary”. In all cases, other means of transportation must be contraindicated due to the patient’s condition, regardless of whether other means are available. In simpler words, the patient’s condition must be acute and such that transport by other means would be endangering the patient’s life, limb or bodily organs.
A patient has the right to appeal Medicare’s decision. In the event that a patient’s bill is rejected, they can file an appeal for reconsideration. Simply obtain all of the information in regards to the service (i.e. ambulance call report, emergency room notes, physician notes, discharge orders, lab results, etc.) and mail them to the Medicare carrier requesting an appeal.
When To Dial 9-1-1
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE IS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS WEB SITE
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately from any wired or wireless telephone.
An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire department or EMS. Examples include:
- A fire
- A crime, especially if in progress
- A car crash, especially if someone is injured
- A medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing, experiencing an allergic reaction, having chest pain, having uncontrollable bleeding, or any other symptoms that require immediate medical attention
Important: If you are not sure whether the situation is a true emergency, dial 9-1-1 and the call-taker will determine whether you need emergency help.
When you dial 9-1-1, be prepared to answer the call-taker’s questions, which may include:
- The location of the emergency, including the street address
- The phone number you are calling from
- The nature of the emergency
- Details about the emergency, such as a physical description of a person who may have committed a crime, a description of any fire that may be burning, or a description of injuries or symptoms being experienced by a person having a medical emergency
Remember, the call-taker’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly.
Be prepared to follow any instructions the call-taker gives you. Many 9-1-1 centers can tell you exactly what to do to help in an emergency until help arrives, such as providing step-by-step instructions to aid someone who is choking or needs first aid or CPR.
Finally, do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to.
If you dial 9-1-1 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 9-1-1 when no emergency exists, do not hang up! Hanging up may make 9-1-1 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.
Please use the form on this page for general contact inquiries. To request a patient care report, please download the PDF form and follow the instructions.