News, Operations

New Jersey’s MONOC to Close April 1

MONOC will stop answering calls on April 1. (Photo/Jeff Frankel)

Faced with mounting financial pressure, the Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corporation in New Jersey will be shutting down after 42 years, according to an email sent to staff members this week.

MONOC, which operates Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic Services and Mobile Critical Care Services as a non-profit, is expected to close its doors on April 1. The group says it is closing because of declining participation from its members.

“As these healthcare systems grew and acquired their own EMS programs, the need for MONOC to service them diminished,” an email sent to staff members this week reads. “While we have focused on our core business of the MICU program, a hospital cooperative model, such as MONOC, cannot survive with reduced participation.”

Jeff Behm, MONOC’s president and chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment.

MONOC comprises thirteen acute care hospitals throughout New Jersey and acts as a healthcare co-operative for acute care hospitals and the over 2.8 million New Jersey residents. CentraState Healthcare System, Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health are part of its system.

MONOC operated more than 100 ambulances and employed over 750 staff at its peak. It’s not clear how many staff members will be affected by the closure.

Read the letter sent to employees below.

Dear MONOC Employees:

Over the last several months, our Board of Directors have been reviewing their individual corporate strategic plans and the diminishing synergies represented by their membership in MONOC. They have also been analyzing the company’s financial outlook and sustainability, while considering recommendations provided by MONOC’s senior management team.

As you know, MONOC has experienced a challenging financial environment caused by declining reimbursements and increasing payor restrictions, while the cost of running a high quality, high performance EMS and medical transport program continued to rise over the last few years. In 2018, our member hospitals for the first time in over 25 years, began paying a subsidy to MONOC to assist with our financial short fall.

We have seen a decline in service participation from our members. As these healthcare systems grew and acquired their own EMS programs, the need for MONOC to service them diminished. While we have focused on our core business of the MICU program, a hospital cooperative model, such as MONOC, cannon survive with reduced participation.

With that said, the MONOC Board of Directors have voted unanimously to dissolve MONOC and transfer the MICU program to patron-hospitals. This will ensure continued viability of MICU services in all of Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as the designated municipalities within Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Hudson counties currently provided by MONOC.

On April 1, 2020, the MONOC MICU program will close and Hackensack Meridian Health, and RWJBarnabas Health will assume full operational and administrative responsibility of the program as outlined in the attached map. The CentraState Health System MICU region will be covered by RWJBarnabas Health. The northern region will become the responsibility of RWJBarnabas Health with the exception of Clifton and Passaic which will become a Hackensack Meridian Health operation. There will be no disruption of MICU services and every current MONOC paramedic will have the opportunity to seek employment at either or both of the health system’s MICU programs. Information on how to apply is also listed below.

In addition, our remaining SCT responsibilities will be transferred to the RWJBarnabas Health-MobileHealth Services (RWJBH-MHS) by April 1, 2020. RWJBH-MHS will be offering employment opportunities to our SCT nurses and EMTs. If you are interested in working for either or both RWJBH-MHS or HMHEMS, please click on the link below to apply.

Our Control Center employees who provide a mission critical service to MONOC will also have the opportunity if interested to apply for a position at RWJBH and HMH. Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBH-MHS, are accepting applications for employment with their organizations for dispatchers, call takers, and flight followers. Please click on the links below.

To our administrative staff, we will discuss the timeline for closure of MONOC and other opportunities for you to consider. Although the clinical operations will close on April 1, 2020, many administrative functions will continue for several months as we do not expect MONOC as a company to close before December 31, 2020.

After 40 years of service to our member hospitals and their surrounding communities, we will prepare to say goodbye to our incredible employees who have worked so hard and dedicated themselves to the mission of MONOC for so long. To our friends in the EMS community and to the new MICU programs that will launch throughout our catchment area, we turn the torch over to you and expect you to carry it forward with reverence for the high quality of service we provided. It is certainly a sad time for those of us who collectively form the MONOC Family, but we know new opportunities await us and we are comforted by the knowledge that we set the tone and led the way in EMS in New Jersey for decades.

Thank you!

Jeff Behm

President & CEO

MONOC