Aug 8, 2009

Twenty-five hospitals in New York City voluntarily contribute their ambulances to the City of New York 911 System. Staffed by paid hospital personnel, these ambulances respond to 911 calls at the direction of FDNY Emergency Medical Services (FDNY EMS) dispatch. Thirty-seven percent of ambulance tours in New York City are covered by ambulances provided by these hospitals, also known as Voluntary Hospitals.


Voluntary ambulance NYC​

A voluntary ambulance unit in Queens. The insignia on the door reads "FDNY EMS Participating Member 911 Ambulance."

In New York City, a voluntary ambulance is an ambulance operated by a hospital that serves New York City's 911 system. Staffed by personnel employed by the hospital, these ambulances respond to 911 calls at the direction of the New York City Fire Department Bureau of EMS (FDNY EMS) dispatch. The 25 hospitals that participate in the system, also known as voluntary hospitals, provide 37% of ambulance tours in the city. These include the Northwell, NewYork-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai health networks, as well as Jamaica Hospital Medical Center

Voluntary ambulance personnel operate with the same medical guidelines and equipment as FDNY EMS ambulances. They have distinct ambulance markings and uniforms, but display FDNY EMS member insignias on their ambulance doors.

Voluntary ambulances coordinate care with all emergency receiving hospitals in the city, and are required to be neutral with respect to transport destination. Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, they are prohibited from preferentially "steering" patients to their own hospitals.


In the late 1980s, the EMS division of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) was unable to handle the full load of 911 calls and asked hospitals to provide ambulances to the 911 system. In 1996, the HHC's EMS division was absorbed by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) to bring in revenue to avoid closing firehouses.

In December 2010 the Mayor of New York City and the FDNY announced a plan to charge hospitals to participate in New York City's 911 system. The city aimed to collect $8.7 million from the hospitals to help cover the cost of telemetry and emergency medical dispatch. Critics argued that this would have disincentivized voluntary hospitals from contributing in the 911 system and thereby put additional work on the FDNY.

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Aug 8, 2009


Ambulance Services​

NewYork-Presbyterian Emergency Medical Services (NYP-EMS) has more than fifty state-of-the-art ambulance units — including the first mobile stroke treatment unit on the East Coast — serving all five boroughs of New York City, and Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties. We are also licensed to operate a specialty care transport service (SCTU) throughout New Jersey.

Our fleet includes basic life support, advanced life support, and specialty ambulances providing emergency response and inter-facility transport across our service area, including a mobile emergency rescue van (MERVAN) and a mobile emergency communications center.
Our extensive disaster preparedness capabilities include Hazmat (hazardous material) and biological and chemical decontamination and treatment facilities. To learn more about Emergency Medical Services Special Operations and Disaster Management at NewYork-Presbyterian, please click here.

Non-Critical and Critical Emergencies​

Basic Life Support Ambulances. Staffed by New York State–certified emergency medical technicians qualified to provide basic emergency medical care and inter-facility transport.
Advanced Life Support Ambulances. Staffed by New York State–certified paramedics qualified to perform advanced life support and emergency medical care, proficient in the use of manual defibrillators, and experienced in specialized emergency procedures and inter-facility transport.

Critical Care Transports​

Specialty Transport Ambulances. Critically ill patients that require transport to or from intensive care and specialty units at NewYork-Presbyterian and other hospitals use the SCTU. Staffed by highly knowledgeable and experienced Critical Care Paramedics, these ambulances bring the ICU to the patient. Our paramedics are trained to assess, stabilize, and manage the care of adult, child and infant patients in the transport environment.
When every second counts in an emergency, the NewYork-Presbyterian Emergency Communications Center is on-line to respond immediately with the highest quality of care and service, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. With the use of ultramodern communication systems, experienced and certified communication specialists who are highly skilled in assessment, direct communication between the paramedics and the NewYork-Presbyterian physician who will be accepting the patient. Highly sophisticated computerized mapping is used to pinpoint the call location and determine the fastest routes to take. The NewYork-Presbyterian Emergency Communications Center is continually advancing the communication technology and innovation used to respond to your emergency.

Patient Transfer Center​

Whether day or night, your call will be answered by the NYP STAT Transfer Nurse Coordinator of your choice, Adult or the newly created Pediatric/Neonatal/OB Transfer Nurse Coordinator, who will gather pertinent information necessary to initiate the hospital-to-hospital patient transfer process.



Aug 8, 2009
FDNY specific summary at end of description.

Northwell Health

Center for Emergency Medical Services

The right care—right when you need it
The Center for Emergency Medical Services is here to offer a higher standard of care for pre-hospital and interfacility transportation. We do this through education, research, high credentialing standards, and a highly experienced team.

About CEMS​

Northwell Health Center for Emergency Medical Services (CEMS) is the largest hospital-based ambulance service in the New York Metropolitan area and is one of the largest in the United States. Covering more than 1,800 square miles throughout the five boroughs and Long Island, our emergency medical technicians and paramedics pride themselves on delivering the best possible care to more than 120,000 patients each year.
(833) 259-CEMS (2367)
Please call for an ambulance

Explore locations​

You have choices when it comes to care​

You have an incredible array of choices when it comes to receiving care. You’ll find our doctors in hundreds of locations throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Explore all care locations

How long is the wait?​

17 min
North Shore University Hospital
See all wait times

A higher level of quality care​

We are committed to providing the highest quality of pre-hospital care to our patients and the communities we serve. As the only ambulance agency in New York State to be dually accredited by the Commission on Accreditations of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, we have established a high standard of excellence at both the dispatch and communication levels.
Our vision is to create a higher standard of care for pre-hospital and interfacility transportation through:
  • Education
  • Research
  • Competency/credentialing standards
  • Promoting excellence through a team approach
  • Providing comprehensive emergency medical services throughout the region

Keeping you—and the health system—connected​

Whether you or a loved one needs emergency transportation for a time-sensitive cardiac catheterization, a routine transportation for an MRI, or a discharge transport to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing facility after surgery, CEMS keeps the health system connected. We work directly with patient admitting and the cardiac catheterization lab in order to transport patients from facilities outside our immediate area and allow them to benefit from the extensive resources of the health system. Our efficient and close-knit relationships with discharge planners also help us reduce our patients’ length-of-stay.

Uninterrupted care from point A to point B​

As patients leave one facility on their way to the next, they are never out of a doctor’s care. Our paramedics are always in contact with our state-of-the-art medical control facility. Housed in the emergency department of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, our control center makes use of board-certified emergency room physicians to guide patient care when needed.

Participating in the nation's busiest system

The New York City EMS system is the busiest in the nation and handles more than 1 million calls each year. Each month, Northwell’s CEMS responds to over 7,000 of these requests and transports over 4,500 patients to hospitals throughout the New York Metropolitan area.
Our units are dispatched by the New York City 911 emergency communications center and operate under the command and control of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). The CEMS first contracted with the FDNY in 1998 and we continue to expand our complement of ambulances over the years.



Aug 8, 2009


Mount Sinai Health System EMS​

Mount Sinai Health System EMS operates 911 Ambulances in 3 Boroughs, Discharge/Transportation Services, and a robust Community Paramedicine/Mobile Integrated Health Program. Our Service is staffed by NYS and NYC Certified EMT’s and Paramedics, and is overseen by Physicians trained and board-certified in Emergency Medicine and EMS.

Our Vision:​

To transform the health of our communities through unrivaled mobile health care services

Our Mission:​

To serve our patients and communities by providing outstanding mobile health care services, seamlessly integrated with the excellence and mission of the Mount Sinai Health System.

Our Values:​

  • Quality
  • Safety
  • Compassion
  • Respect
  • Innovation



Aug 8, 2009

Named one of America's 250 Best Hospitals​

Medisys Ambulance​


The MediSys Health Network has been providing emergency ambulance service in the New York City 911 system for many decades and operates one of the largest hospital-based ambulance services within the five boroughs of New York City.
MediSys Ambulance Service, Inc. is the transport division of the Network’s ambulance program, designed to service the needs of our patients and their physicians.

MediSys ambulances are staffed by highly trained New York State Certified Emergency Medical Technicians trained in airway management, oxygen administration, CPR and defibrillation, orthopedic care, and emergency child birth. Ambulance crews are able to contact specially trained MediSys physicians to obtain instantaneous on-line medical direction, if needed.
MediSys Ambulance teams provide emergency response and inter-facility transports to and from hospitals, private residences, and doctor’s offices on a pre-scheduled or emergent basis.
The MediSys Ambulance Service Transportation Coordination Center (TCC) is the central single point-of-contact for all medical transportation needs of the MediSys Health Network. As the vital communication link, the TCC facilitates the continuity of patient care from the moment a patient, their family, or their physician requests medical transportation.
Highly trained certified emergency medical dispatchers work diligently to coordinate all aspects of patient transportation until the patient safely arrives at their destination. The TCC dispatchers are able to work closely with the patient’s doctor or other care providers to ensure the most appropriate services are provided during transport.
The MediSys TCC utilizes a sophisticated, state-of-the-art computer aided dispatch (CAD) system which allows dispatchers to continually monitor on-time performance. The CAD system is also capable of managing specific pre-loaded information regarding the hundreds of MediSys-affiliated physicians, including office locations and special instructions for the care of their patients. This pertinent information significantly simplifies and shortens the call taking process and ensures the physician’s specific directions are known.

Global positioning locator and mapping systems utilized in the TCC automatically identify the closest available ambulance for each assignment ensuring that patients receive the highest level of patient care and the shortest possible response time.
The MediSys TCC provides services to MediSys Health Network’s hospitals and nursing homes, community ambulatory care centers, and affiliated physician practices, as well as the general public.



Aug 8, 2009

Voluntary Hospital EMS​

A Voluntary Ambulance is a hospital-based ambulance that serves the New York City 911 System.

Twenty-five hospitals in New York City voluntarily contribute their ambulances to the City of New York 911 System. Staffed by paid hospital personnel, these ambulances respond to 911 calls at the direction of FDNY Emergency Medical Services (FDNY EMS) dispatch. Thirty-seven percent of ambulance tours in New York City are covered by ambulances provided by these hospitals, also known as Voluntary Hospitals.

As participating members of the FDNY EMS system, voluntary hospital EMTs and paramedics work in close partnership with FDNY municipal teams to provide basic and advanced life support services. They are operationally identical to FDNY EMS units with respect to level of care, medical treatment protocols, and equipment however, because they are staffed by hospital personnel, the ambulance markings and uniforms are distinct. To help publicly identify them as 911 System ambulances, they display FDNY EMS member insignias on their cab doors.

Voluntary ambulances coordinate care with all Emergency Receiving Hospitals in New York City. 911 system ambulances are required to remain neutral with respect to transport destination and are expressly prohibited from the preferential “steering” of patients to their own hospitals under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

In the late 1980s, the EMS Division of NYC’s Health and Hospitals Corp. was grossly unable to handle the full load of 911 calls. They asked hospitals to provide ambulances to the 911 system. In 1996 NYC EMS was absorbed by FDNY to bring in revenue to avoid closing firehouses. In December 2010 the mayor’s office and the Fire Department of New York announced a plan to charge hospitals to participate in the New York City 911 System. The city aimed to collect $8.7 million from the hospitals to help cover the cost of telemetry (online medical control) and Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). Many feared the added costs would push voluntary hospitals out of the 911 system all together and thereby put additional strain on the FDNY. Many questioned the ability of the FDNY to handle the additional workload and cost if voluntary hospitals were to pull out of the 911 system. The proposal never came to fruition as the FDNY is persistently unable to keep staffing levels needed to provide for more than 66 to 70% of citywide call volume.

The following is a list of NYC’s Voluntary Hospital Ambulance groups
Northwell Health EMS
1,000 Members

300 in NYC/ 700 in Nassau County
Some (about half) of those based in NYC are 1199SEIU
  • Lenox Hill Hospital
  • Staten Island University Hospital
Those working at:
  • Lenox Health Greenwich Village
  • Long Island Jewish Forest Hills
  • Manhassat Core (HQ)
Are Non Union
700 are based Dual 911/Core throughout Nassau County. Northwell is a rebrand of Northshore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
Northwell Overview
Northwell Health Website

  • Northwell staffs four 911 garages in NYC; Lenox Hill, Staten Island Univerity Hospital, Greenwich Village Healthplex ( near Old St. Vincent) and Rego Park Hospital. Only Staten Island University Hospital and Lenox are 1199SEIU affiliated Shops. It’s Lower Manhattan Healthplex and Northwell Health at Rego Park are non-union. The majority of its operations are the dual 911/Core ambulances and IFTs in Nassau County centered around its main campuses in Manhasset.
New York Presbytarian EMS
  • Allen Hospital (911 Units)
  • Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (Critical Care/Neo-Natal Transport units)
  • Komansky Children’s Hospital
  • Columbia University Irving Medical Center (911 Units)
  • Weill Cornell Medical Center (911, IFT Units and a Mobile Stroke Unit)
  • Lower Manhattan Hospital (911 Units)
  • NYP Queens (911 Units, Critical Care Units, Mobile Stroke Unit)
  • Hudson Valley Hospital
  • Brooklyn Methodist Hospital (911 Units)
  • Lawrence Hospital
  • Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute
500 Members/ Non-Union
NYP Overview
NYP Website

:SEIU1199 Affiliated Garages:
These approximately 1,000-1,500 911 Voluntary Hospital EMS are represented by Service Employees International Union/ 1199 United Healthcare Workers East

A. Mount Sinai Health System
1199SEIU/ 350 Members
B. Lenox Hospital/Staten Island University Hospital-Northwell EMS
200 Members
Northwell Health Website
C. NYU Langone/Lutheran EMS *
/200 Members

  • Lutheran Hospital and the former Long Island College Hospital (LICH) currently called NYU Cobble Hill have merged into NYU.
D. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center/Flushing Hospital Medical Center EMS
300 Members
JHMC Website
FHMC Website

E. Maimonides Hospital EMS
  • In ongoing negotiations to be acquired by Northwell Health
1199SEIU/200 Members
F. Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) * EMS
Has x 2 North Staten Island Campuses and is in negotiaions to merge with Mt. Sinai.
1199SEIU/100 Members

G. Wyckoff Heights Medical Center EMS
0 Members

Voluntary Hospital Units Contracted to Private Sector:
  • In this configuration voluntary hospitals opt to not run, staff and maintain their own EMS Departments but instead contract this to an outside vendor, a Private EMS Agency. The largest in New York City used to be Transcare, with over 2,500 EMS members, which collapsed abruptly in 2016. Transcare was besides the FDNY the largest single local employer of EMS in NYC.
  • In the wake of the Transcare bankruptcy crisis the Hospitals it managed ambulance services for were split up between Seniorcare, Citywide, Empress and Assist with Seniorcare taking the largest share; 4 seperate hospitals.
  • The FDNY despised Transcare and still despises this latest configuration which remains in place largely because the FDNY lacks the human resources to staff trucks and the individual hospitals lack the will to establish their own EMS garages. Thus the members are tecnically speaking, PRIVATE EMS, contracted to run VOLUNTARY UNITS, operating in the FDNY 911 System.
  • These are some of the busiest most underserved neighborhoods in New York City concetrated inside the Bronx and Central Brooklyn.
Contracted to Senior Care EMS
  • Saint Barnabas Health System (SBH)
  • Mt. Sinai-Beth Israel Manhattan
  • Brooklyn Hospital
  • Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center (KBJ)
911 Members/ 1,000 IFT Members
No Union

Contracted to Citywide EMS

  • Bronxcare Health System EMS (Formerly Bronx Lebanon Hospital), 2 ALS & 7 BLS units
100 911 Members/ 600 IFT Members
National Association of Specialty Trades Local 741

Contracted to Empress EMS

  • Montefiore Health System
  • Montefiore Moses Campus (H29), x1 ALS Unit
  • Montefiore Westchester Square Campus (WCS) (H88), x1 ALS, x2 BLS Units
911 Members/ 500 more dual 911/IFT in Westchester Division, mostly concentrated in Yonkers, White Plains and Mt. Vernon systems; with flycars in Yorkville, Pelhem, Hawthorne and the Mohegan Casino Racetrack. Empress also operates a Community Paramedicine Program for SBH.
Service Employees International Union-National Association of Government Employees 5000/International Association of Emts and Paramedics Local R220

Interfaith Hospital (Assist Ambulance), 1 BLS unit
25 911 Members/ 350 IFT Members at Brooklyn and Bronx Bases
International Brotherhood of Trade Unions/Local 713


Well-known member
Nov 2, 2020
In Queens, back in the 60' and continuing on Voluntary hospital units were dispatched through the 911 system. Well, there was no "911" and calling for PD or an ambulance was "440-1234." Those Queens units were, Booth Memorial, Flushing, Long Island Jewish, Jamaica, Mary Immaculate, Wyckoff, Peninsula General, St. John's (Qns. Blvd.), St. Joseph's in Rockaway (Now St. John's Episcopal). Today, Long Island Jewish, St. John's, Mary Immaculate, St. Josephs and Peninsula General ambulances are no longer with us. Between NYCDOH units and Voluntary hospital units in the 60's there were only 13 ambulances to cover Queens. DOH ambulances ran out of Queens General and Elmhurst hospital.