EMS Programs Office reviewing criminal records of EMTs - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

EMS Programs Office reviewing criminal records of EMTs

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The Office of Emergency Medical Service Programs is now adding an extra layer of accountability for those who respond to medical emergencies around the island. 

When the new EMS Act took effect in November 2011, the measure allowed the administrator of the EMS Programs Office to make a rule that required police and court clearances from all individuals applying for or renewing their emergency medical technician certification. The law allows for the administrator to initiate proceedings to suspend or revoke the licenses of those medics on the island who have gotten in trouble with the law. Office of EMS programs acting administrator Marlene Carbullido says there are 386 EMTs licensed on Guam, with the Guam Fire Department employing the bulk of them with 272.

She told KUAM News, "It's a requirement for that particular law and it's also a federal statute that I have to report them if there are any criminal offenses."

With the backing of the Attorney General's Office, Carbullido says her office is obtaining those clearances for those up for recertification. Most recently the office had more than a dozen clearances that indicated that the EMT had been arrested by police or had a criminal case. "I take a look at it and I investigate and I do my own investigation. I inquire from the EMT himself and ask them to explain to me what is this about? I ask him for supporting documents so I can determine if there's any threats to the public's health and safety," she added.

The office also discusses the matter with GFD or the employer if the EMT works for a private transport company to obtain the status of the criminal case. "I'm licensing people to put their hands to help other people, so I want to make sure that anything against their license gets reported within 30 days, that's federal statute," said Carbullido.

In the event there is a reportable offense, Carbullido can choose to impose an emergency suspension on an EMT's license for up to 30 days.  The matter is then left in the hands of the EMT Commission to determine whether the EMT's license will be revoked. She continued, "That's all we do in this office is just gather the facts and present a true picture and provide guidance to the Commission or board members to determine if they should grant the recertification or whether they should suspend or revoke."

For the 15 GFD EMTs whose clearances were red flagged, Carbullido says the commission reviewed their cases and determined that they could keep their licenses on the condition that they have no more criminal offenses.  There are four more cases however that are still up for review.

Carbullido says since the law was implemented, only one EMT has had their license revoked and been reported to the National Practitioners Databank.  She says the individual was working for a private transport company but is no longer employed.

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