CALIFORNIA’S BIGGEST EMS ORGANIZATIONS SEE THE NEED FOR EMT/ PARAMEDIC LICENSE DEFENSE FOR THEIR MEMBERS
The California State Firefighter’s Association, San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, and El Dorado County Professional Firefighters have jumped at the opportunity to offer protection to their professional licensed membership at a low monthly rate.
Over the last decade, approximately 400 complaints per year have been filed with the California Emergency Medical Services Authority against EMT and Paramedic Licenses. http://www.emsa.ca.gov/personnel/files/complaint_violation.mht
Based on similarly enacted legislation for Registered Nurses a few years ago, we expect this number to steadily rise with the passage of AB 2917, which requires that all EMTs and Advanced EMTs have a California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background check. AB 2917 also requires that the certifying entity and the EMS Authority receive subsequent arrest notification from DOJ.
What does this mean for California Paramedics and EMT’s? That any run in with law enforcement will come up when and EMT or Paramedic goes to renew his license and if that conviction happens to be a DUI, the EMT is at serious risk of losing his license, if not properly defended. About 70% of license “complaints” are a result of a conviction of a crime. The remaining 30% are fairly evenly split between accusations such as:
- Alcohol, Narcotic, Drug, or Controlled Substance Abuse
- Fraud in the Procurement of a License
- Fraudulent, Dishonest, or Corrupt Act
- Outside Supervision of Medical Control
- Unprofessional Conduct
- Violating Statutes or Regulations
There is a misconception among the EMT and Paramedic community that a DUI, conviction of a crime or other accusation is an automatic career killer. This is simply not the case. Attorneys have been successful in defending licenses for EMTs, if they can show that the conviction is not substantially related to their jobs or if they can provide enough Mitigating Evidence to convince the Authority that the individual should be placed on probation rather than have their licenses revoked.
According to Authority documents, a number of EMTs or Paramedics are simply walking away from their licenses after an off duty DUI or other similar conviction, and they don’t have to. With expert representation, these Paramedics and EMTs can defend their licenses and continue doing the jobs they love. That is where the Firm of Goyette & Associates comes in.
Goyette & Associates are the Panel Attorneys for License Defenders Inc. and RN Guardian, both of which provide license defence to Allied Health Professionals in their respective fields. The need for affordable license defence arose because neither malpractice insurance, professional associations, nor employers cover license representation. Disciplinable licensing complaints are most often the result of an incident that is outside the course and scope of an EMT or paramedics job, which precludes them from any coverage for the incident and defending a license can cost anywhere from $5000.00 to $25,000.00. http://www.emsa.ca.gov/personnel/files/para_discipline_process.pdf
As license defenders for EMT’s and Paramedics, we’ve noticed that one of the largest factors contributing to license revocation is a lack of education regarding both the incidents that precipitate an investigation and what can be done to retain a license once an accusation has been filed or a complaint has been made. We’ve taken an active role in educating Allied Health Professions through monthly newsletters, speaking at conferences, a call in Radio show and advising individuals if they have a question pertaining to their license. For us, preventing licensing issues is just as important as defending them.
As the largest California association for firefighters holding either EMT or Paramedic license, and none of the largest and most respected Fire Fighters Associations in the Nation, we commend CSFA and SFF Local 798 for offering EMS Guardian as a benefit for your licensed membership. Following is a proposal of what we would be proud to offer your Association membership.
BENEFIT PROPOSAL FOR ASSOCIATION EMT OR PARAMEDIC LICENSED MEMBERS
What if you could offer your members a benefit so appealing your membership would increase and the members you do have would be better protected?-You can leverage EMS GUARDIAN to attract new members and retain the members that you currently have.
- Members would receive a deep discount for Goyette & Associates hourly services.
- The Association would be able to offer a unique brand of career protection unlike anything else out there.
- The Association directly benefits from a —% annual contribution of total fees to a designated education or benefit fund.
- The Association can utilize Goyette & Associates panel attorneys and License Defenders Professionals for training at sponsored events.
- The Association members would receive monthly newsletters, keeping them up to date on changes with the EMS Authority, Legislative decisions that could impact their licenses and case studies.
SCOPE OF LICENSE DEFNDERS SERVICES
- Provide lawyers who are uniquely skilled in the defense of California EMTs and Paramedics endangered by a complaint, investigation, surrender, probation, suspension, or revocation of his or her license by the EMT Authority.
- Offer “preventative” legal counsel to members who believe a complaint maybe made, who have made an error and want to know how to proceed, or who are involved in a non-work related legal issue that could impact their license.
- Represent the plan participant during the course of any EMT Authority investigation.
- Challenge EMT Authority citations and fines informally or formally.
- Zealously advocate for Paramedics and EMTs during an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge and the full EMS Authority or LEMSA.
- In legally viable cases, seek to overturn unsatisfactory administrative decisions through “administrative mandamus” proceedings.
- Provide a comprehensive plan contract to each Association member.
- Provide newsletters to all members outlining new case studies, pertinent summaries of EMS Authority activity and other relevant Legal information.
- By request, to participate in symposiums or The Association chapter events as speakers for CE credits.
BENEFIT TO The Association
When the project is complete, The Association will have the ability to elect to either join License Defenders Inc. at a reduced rate. The Association members will have the added protection of having an expert panel of attorneys available to answer any legal questions pertaining to their licenses and attorney representation should an investigation arise. The Association will be able to offer this new benefit as a recruitment and retention incentive. The Association will receive a stipulated dollar amount from License Defenders for discretionary purposes. The Association will have a panel of expert attorneys to call upon to participate in conferences, symposiums and events.
For complimentary, no-pressure information regarding how your Association can partner with EMS Guardian to protect your EMTs Paramedics and other professionally licensed professional, please contact EMS Guardian’s Executive Director, Jennifer Coalson-Perez at 916-851-1900.