If you are an emergency medical technician (EMT) in Long Beach, California, you might find yourself in a dilemma if in the face of license suspension. The County Agency or the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) might contact you when you least expect it and inform you that you are under investigation. There are several reasons why you might face a possible suspension, revocation, or denial of a professional license. If you realize that you are under investigation, you should not wait until your California EMT certificate or paramedic license suspension. You should contact an attorney immediately. A skilled attorney will do everything in their power to negotiate and resolve any complaints and accusations against you. If you face an EMT license suspension in Long Beach, CA, The Legal Guardian can help you defend the license.
Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians in California
The process of becoming an emergency medical technician or paramedic in California is rigorous. It takes intense education, physical fitness, mental alertness, hands-on training, and other demanding qualifications. You also have to undergo a tedious, complex, and expensive process of obtaining an EMT license. It is much easier to lose your EMT license than it is to acquire it. Many possible violations could lead to disciplinary action being taken against you by the EMSA (Emergency Medical Services Authority) or by your local EMS (Emergency Medical Services).
You have worked so hard to achieve the success that comes with your EMT license. You should never let your license go without a fight. When your license needs protection, an experienced attorney can help. You can’t afford to risk losing your license for failing to hire an attorney. Only a skilled attorney who understands the nuances of this complicated practice area can guide you through the administrative process initiated by the EMS or the EMSA. An attorney will prevent and minimize the negative impacts on your EMT license and your professional reputation.
A medical emergency can strike when you least expect it. In such emergencies, the EMTs and the paramedics are usually the first responders, especially in accident scenes where the victims' lives hang in the balance. Most times, people do not understand or appreciate the heroic duties that EMTs perform on a day-to-day basis.
People often take EMTs for granted until something happens. EMTs often face lawsuits, criminal charges, and loss of their licenses.
Every decision an EMT makes, every administration of a medical procedure or a drug, binds an EMT ethically and legally to the highest standards, even in the most trying times. EMTs have to assess the most chaotic situations and make the best possible decisions for the life of others. An EMT must keep up with all the recent changes in medical procedures, medicines, and laws that affect their role.
The primary role of EMTs is to assist doctors and paramedics. EMTs have limits on the kind of actions that they can take. However, there is an issue of confusion in the public mind, and many people cannot distinguish between the roles of EMTs and paramedics. This misunderstanding often leads to many accusations of inaction against the EMT, yet he or she did all that they needed to do.
Usually, the EMTs focus on interviewing the victims, taking vital signs, transporting victims to ER, providing immediate life support, and reporting their actions and assessments to the hospital workers. Many EMTs also serve as adjuncts to the local fire department and the police.
Paramedics and EMT license defense attorneys understand the critical role that EMTs play, and they have great respect for them. An attorney will not judge you for a mistake you may have committed or an addiction you might be struggling with. An attorney works for you and helps you defend your license and help you get back to the noble role of serving your community responsibly and keeping you safe.
According to the California Health and Safety Code 1798.200, the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) has the authority to conduct investigations in a paramedic’s on and off-duty activities. The EMSA has the mandate to grant you or deny you a license based on your criminal record or activity. The EMSA's Enforcement Unit investigates complaints filed against licensed paramedics and even unlicensed personnel. You could undergo an investigation if you violate the California Health and Safety Code Division 2.5 on EMT services.
The EMSA is responsible for coordinating, leading, planning, implementing, and developing nationwide EMS systems. The State of California has 33 local EMS systems. These systems provide emergency services to the 58 counties in California. Out of the 33 local EMS systems, 26 are single county agencies while 7 are regional EMS systems.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible if you receive a letter from the EMS with a statement of issues or an accusation. An attorney will guide you through the different actions you should take to restore your EMT or paramedic license. Your EMT license is your livelihood, and you can't afford to lose it. It would be devastating to spend time in school only to have your license revoked. A
A license revocation could affect your livelihood since you wouldn’t be able to work and earn a living. An attorney will walk with you step-by-step and help you understand the criminal claims against you as well as the professional license claims. Your attorney has probably handled numerous EMT license defense cases before, and he or she understands the right defense strategies to employ.
Factors that Could Lead to Suspension or Revocation of Your EMT License
Certain violations and criminal violations could lead to the revocation or the suspension of your EMT license. When your EMT license is at risk, your reputation, income, and career are also at risk. Some of the violations that could make you receive accusations from the licensing authorities include:
- Engaging in fraud while procuring any license or certificate under this division
- Engaging in gross negligence while carrying out your duties
- Repeating negligent acts
- Demonstrating incompetence in the performance of your duties
- Committing a dishonest, fraudulent, or corrupt act that is related to your profession, functions, qualifications, and duties of pre-hospital personnel.
- Attempting to violate or violating, either directly or indirectly, the provisions of the regulations adopted by EMT Authority regarding pre-hospital personnel. You could also face a license suspension or revocation if you abet the violation or conspire to violate the provisions of EMSA regulations.
- Attempting to violate or violating the state and federal regulations or statutes that regulate dangerous drugs, narcotics, or controlled substances.
- Excessive use or addiction to alcohol, dangerous drugs, narcotics, or a controlled substance
- You could also face a license suspension or revocation if you function outside the supervision of medical control. The law requires you to function within the supervision of the medical control in a field care system that operates at a local level. However, there is an exception if another certification or license
- authorizes you. Having a physical disability or a demonstration of irrational behavior could impair your ability to execute your duties normally. The disability of or the irrational behavior should be of such a nature that a prudent or reasonable person would have a reasonable cause to believe that the behavior or the disability may affect your ability to perform duties normally.
- Engaging in unprofessional conduct could lead to the suspension or revocation of your EMT license. Unprofessional behavior includes physical abuse or mistreatment of a patient. It should be evident that you used force that exceeds what a prudent and reasonable person, trained and acting in your capacity, would use if faced with a similar situation while engaged in the performance of their duties.
- Unprofessional conduct could also involve failing to maintain confidentiality while handling a patient's medical information. However, if the disclosure is permitted or by or needed by the law as per section 56 to 56.6 of the Civil Code, you can't face a license suspension for disclosing the said medical information. Unprofessional conduct could also constitute committing a sexually related crime that is specified under Section 290 of the California Penal Code.
Defending Your EMT License
When choosing an attorney to help you defend your license, you should go for an attorney with experience in helping EMTs, paramedics, and other medical professionals to protect their licenses. It would be best if you had an attorney with an intricate understanding of the law and the effective methods that can be used to safeguard your license. An attorney will provide you with the necessary information, resources, and legal counsel to effectively navigate the California legal system.
Temporary Suspension of Your EMT License
As outlined by the California Health and Safety Code 1798.202 (a), the director of EMSA may suspend your license prior to the hearing. The medical director or a local EMS agency may also suspend your license on specific grounds. The grounds for a temporary license suspension are:
- If the director learns that you are engaging or you have engaged in certain acts or omissions that qualify as valid grounds for revocation
- If you pose an imminent risk to public safety and health if you continue to practice as a paramedic
When LEMSA Suspends Your License
The LEMSA may also suspend your EMT license. This is according to California Health and Safety Code Section 1798.202(b). This statute requires that in 3 days, LEMSA forwards all the relevant documentation to the EMS Authority. This documentation can be forwarded through overnight mail or facsimile. After the receipt of the evidence, the director of EMS Authority will have up to two days to determine if the temporary suspension of your license should continue. If the director decides that the suspension should continue, the EMS Authority will have 15 days from the receipt of the evidence to file a temporary suspension order.
The authority will also have to file an accusation against the affected paramedic within 15 days. What happens if you file a notice of defense? If you file a notice of defense, Sec 1798.202 (d) outlines that a hearing should be held within thirty days from when you file the notice of defense. When the EMS Authority receives the proposed decision from the administrative law judge, they will have up to 15 days to make the final judgment.
When the EMS Authority Temporarily Suspends Your EMT License
The EMS may suspend your EMT license temporarily by filing an accusation and temporary suspension according to section 1798.202 (c). In this case, the employer and the LEMSA will receive a notification of your license suspension. A hearing will be held within 30 days if you file a notice of defense according to Sec 1798.202 (d). The director of the EMS Authority will have a maximum of 15 days from when they receive the proposed decision from the administrative law judge to make the final decision.
When a Complaint is Filed Against an EMT Technician or Paramedic
When a complaint is filed against you, the action that the EMSA will take will vary depending on the information the complainant provides. The most effective complaints are those that contain verifiable or first-hand information. The person filing the complaint against you must provide factual information, including the times and the dates when you committed the violation.
When someone files a complaint against you, you may have your EMT license placed on probation. The role of the probation program is to monitor the EMT technicians who have had their licenses placed on probation. The probation program involves monitoring the EMT technician to ensure that he or she is adhering to the provisions of the probation orders. The program also seeks to ensure that public protection is being achieved.
If you are placed on probation and violate the probation order, you risk having your EMT license suspended or revoked. If your license is on probation, you will have to submit a quarterly report to the licensing authority.
Petitioning to Have Your License Reinstated
If your license has been placed on probation, you can file a petition to have the license reinstated. For you to file a petition, a period of not less than one year should have passed from the date of the denial of a similar petition or the effective date of the decision. If a complaint involves ambulatory billing, the EMSA will not handle the complaint.
EMSA Investigation or Disciplinary Action Is Not the End of Your Career
In recent years, there have been hundreds of complaints filed against EMTs in California. Most of the accusations stem from the recent requirements that all EMTs are subject to FBI and DOJ criminal background checks. EMTs' future arrests are instantly reported to the EMS agency. The background checks often make it challenging for EMTs' license renewals and increase license revocation risks. More than 2/3 of license-related complaints filed against EMTs usually result from criminal allegations or convictions. Around 1/3 of the accusations arise from alleged violations as fraudulently obtaining a license, drug or alcohol abuse, and performing acts outside your practice, among others.
In the face of formal accusations and complaints of a high magnitude, you may feel or assume that there is no hope. Walking away from your career might seem like the easier option than defending your EMT license. Many EMTs abandon their careers, especially when they are arrested for a DUI or other offense.
The good news is that friction with the EMS and the EMSA does not imply an end to your career. The investigation by the EMS might not lead to any action against you. When you seek the help of a skilled attorney, the attorney will present mitigating factors in your favor during the hearing and negotiate for a favorable plea.
Possible Disciplinary Actions Imposed by EMSA
At the administrative hearing, EMSA can take several disciplinary actions against your EMT license. In some instances, the allegations against you are dropped before the case proceeds to the administrative hearing. Some of the possible disciplinary actions include:
- Approved drug or alcohol program
The least severe form of disciplinary is a citation and an accompanying fine. The fine could range between $250 and $2500 depending on the details of your case and the nature of the violation. You have to pay the fines by the 60th day from the EMSA notice regarding the fine imposition. However, an attorney may negotiate for up to one year to pay the fine by presenting evidence of your financial hardship.
Any citations against you will go to the EMSA website and will be accessible by employers. Therefore, it is essential to fight a fine or a citation even if it is the lowest level of EMSA action.
EMSA could place your license on probation. When your license is on probation, your career will be hanging on how well you comply with all the probation terms. An attorney can negotiate favorable probation terms. An attorney could also work for a reduction of the probation period.
The approved drug or alcohol program will apply if the allegation against you is drug-related. The most several professional disciplines are the suspension or revocation of your EMT license. Even here, an attorney can negotiate for a reduction of the length of the suspension. An attorney will also guide you through the process of having a suspended license reinstated.
Find an EMT License Defense Attorney Near Me
If you face an accusation or a statement of issues in Long Beach, CA, and your EMT license is at risk, hiring an attorney will determine the outcome of your case. If you seek reliable legal assistance to help fight for your license, the Legal Guardian can assist. Contact us at 888-293-0396 and speak to one of our attorneys.