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Comment on is contract needed for Medical Alert and PERS - further discussion on differences
June 18,  2021
Comment on is contract needed for Medical Alert and PERS - further discussion on differences from article on June 8, 2021
            So . . . .  is that to say, if the system is sold as . . . and the paper work is written as . . . an “Emergency” alert or a “Panic” alert (regardless of what it's intended use is) that it is not a PERS and doesn't need a PERS contract?   Or, is it the intended use and not what it is called that determines if it falls into the category of medical or not?  And of course even if it is only intended as a Panic or Emergency alert and NOT medical and someone is having a medical emergency and presses the button and it doesn’t work    What? 
            Is the failure of an “Emergency” alert or a “Panic” alert any different than the failure of a PERS alert if someone is hurt, accosted, harmed, suffers medical damage or dies for whatever reason?  Or is it all only just about the cancellation requirements of a PERS contract?   
            Seems a bit foggy to me.
Reliable Alarm
            It is somewhat confusing because the emergency device is often used by customers however they want, not as it was intended to be used or promoted by the alarm company. 
            Medical Alert monitoring is generally not included in traditional alarm license definitions and some states do have specific laws for Medical Alert.  Medical Alert, as I interpret it, is a device to be activated when the customer suffers a medical emergency.  That could mean sudden illness or accident; something that requires EMT response; that's Emergency Medical Treatment.  This signal requires immediate response and the first response is for the central station operator to talk to the customer through two-way audio, either a home base or a remote device with communication capability.  The customer response will let the operator know if EMT needs to be dispatched, which will also be the case if there is no response from the customer.  In other words, no verification means dispatch.
            When PERS is intended to mean personal emergency, non-medical related, such as panic alert or self- monitoring burglary or fire signal, this service is generally included in the alarm license definition.  Panic alarms don't usually require verification, but if the activation is for burglary or fire it can be confusing because First Responders, particularly police, may want to know if the alarm condition has been verified by telephone or in some cases other verification means, such as audio or video.  Panic alarm, again as I interpret it - and it can be defined in other ways - is akin to a silent alarm, which a panic alarm sometimes is.  There is no verification for a silent alarm for obvious reasons [obvious to alarm professionals]. 
            What distinguishes the PERS alarm from other alarms is that PERS alarms are usually self-activated.  But a PERS device is not designed like the panic buttons found in homes and commercial installations.  Panic buttons are not as readily activated as a PERS device.  For example, a panic button may be located in a bedroom and tucked into a housing that requires a button to be pushed up into the housing. This isn't quite as accessible as a Medical Alert device.  A home base Medical Alert device will have a large button on top to push, or bang on, to activate a call to the central station.  A remote pendant, whether it communicates through the home base or has its own cellular or WiFi communication directly to the central station [which would be the case for GPS devices] is self-activated by pressing a button on the device, even if it's on the customer's  cell phone using an app.  PERS can also be designed to report automatically if a person leaves an area or enters an area; motion and video monitoring.
            The discussion began because the importance of contracts seemed to be under-valued.  In point of fact, claims against medical alert companies and alarm companies offering medical alert are often significant and contractual protection is often different than a typical alarm contract.  Some states severely limit contractual protection for personal injury claims. Medical alert companies need contracts as much if not more than traditional alarm companies, and that was my original proposition.
            For Medical Alert monitoring services use the single state PERS agreement or for nationwide use, the Nationwide PERS agreement.  
            For traditional panic alarm included with intrusion or fire monitoring, you should use the Residential All in One, but don't include medical alert response, and in this case, there is no reason that you would have information on a customers medical needs and information, unless that information is in connection with police or fire department response is, customer is not mobile, deaf, etc.  

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301