Riverhead ambulance loses advanced life support certification

The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Company lost its certification to provide advanced life support services for several days last week due to some late paperwork, although it was restored by Friday afternoon, according to the officials.

“The Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance lost its authority to perform ALS because it is not in compliance with its operating certificates,” said Grace McGovern, a spokesperson for the county health department. The company was supposed to have mailed documents regarding ALS certification to the state health department by Aug. 31 and had not done so, leading to the suspension of its certification last Tuesday, Sept. 6, Ms. McGovern said. The paperwork was submitted the following day.

In the meantime, the ambulance corps was still able to cover the area by running its own crews — which were still certified in basic life support services — and getting help with ALS services from Stony Brook University Hospital ambulances and from neighboring departments, said Ron Rowe, president of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance board of directors.
“We expect it to be resolved,” Mr. Rowe said Thursday afternoon.

It was.

Jeffrey Hammond, a spokesman for the state health department, said Thursday that the certification process for the ambulance company was expedited by his agency.

“We got the paperwork Wednesday evening and conducted an on-site review of the ambulance service today. Riverhead will have its certification by Friday,” Mr. Hammond said last Thursday.

Ms. McGovern said the company’s ALS certification was restored at 4:55 p.m. Friday.

Advanced life support certification allows ambulance members to perform tasks like administering medication, performing invasive procedures and doing cardiac monitoring, Ms. McGovern said. Basic life support covers things like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and stabilizing a victim, she said.

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