In case of any medical emergency where a person's life is at stake, we rely on emergency medical technicians to respond at the scene as soon as possible when we dial 911 for further medical assistance. Emergency medical technicians are a common type of health experts we witness every day doing their best to save as many lives as possible whenever there is a medical emergency like a motorist accident leading to injuries. However, sometimes a little mistake or false allegation may end their career and make them face criminal penalties as well. When a patient accuses you of incompetence or negligence after responding at the accident scene to save lives, you could lose your emergency medical license and even face criminal consequences.
Considering the time and resources you’ve invested in obtaining the license, which is not easy in California, you must retain a professional license defense attorney whenever you face such allegations threatening your profession. You will need experts like The Legal Guardian to take you through all the legal processes you may face to help you retain your license and reduce or dismiss any possible criminal consequences.
What You Need to Know About an Emergency Medical Technician in California
Emergency medical technicians (EMT) are vital health professionals in the field of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) since they are the people on the front line whenever someone dials 911. Emergency medical technicians work with hospitals, firefighters, and private ambulances to offer first emergency medical care to patients whenever there is any kind of medical emergency. The core duty of an emergency medical technician is to provide immediate medical care to any individual with a medical emergency like an injury and transport services to the nearest medical facility for further treatment.
Before attaining a certification or licensure to pursue your career as an emergency medical technician in California is not an easy process. As a requirement by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), individuals who wish to acquire an EMT license to conduct emergency medical services must:
- Undertake an Emergency Medical Training program for the required maximum period
- Complete psychomotor and cognitive tests to make sure you are physically and mentally fit for the job
People with particular types of criminal violations, such as sexual abuse, might not be eligible for certification as an EMT because this line of profession deals with vulnerable people. Acquiring this license is not an easy process in California, but losing is very easy. Every decision you make on a routine basis as you try to save people's lives binds you to some legal and ethical standards which you must observe. You face the risk of license revocation or suspension by your licensing agency if you are found guilty of negligence or any severe criminal offenses like DUI or sexual abuse.
Emergency medical technicians have adequate training to perform minor surgeries and other essential medical care to save lives. However, a little inaction or mistake can threaten your career and the worse, your freedom in case of criminal allegations or charges. No one is perfect in this profession, and a single mistake while on your line of duty, as usual, doesn’t have to result in licensure suspension or revocation.
Upon the arrest of any offense, your licensing agency (EMS agency) will start investigations immediately to determine if the allegations or charges are true. We invite you to contact The Legal Guardian for adequate legal representation if you are facing any accusations that could jeopardize your career as an EMT. Our attorneys are familiar with all the administrative actions you could face and are aware of ideal mitigating factors that could work in your favor to prevent or reduce the possible disciplinary actions by the EMS agency or your employer.
Factors That Can Make You Lose Your Emergency Medical Technician License California
After attaining an EMT license, you must act professionally and observe a reasonable duty of care while you are on your usual duty for the safety of the patient, according to the California Health and Safety Code Section 1798.200. There are also standard procedures that every licensed EMT must observe while on their line of duty as required by their employer (EMS providers) since their work revolves around vulnerable people. Failure to follow these standard procedures and policies of their work might make an EMT subject to some disciplinary consequences by the EMS service provider and EMS agency.
Most of the common accusation an EMT can face on his/her line of duty which can lead to some disciplinary action by the employer and the EMS agency, include:
- Criminal assault
These allegations, whether factual or not, might tarnish your reputation and lead to suspension or revocation of your California EMT license if your employer and the EMS agency finds you guilty of the alleged offenses or violations.
After such allegations, your employer will first investigate the case before subjecting you to disciplinary action for the violations of rules and standards governing the professional conduct of the EMS. The EMS provider will take into consideration whether your violations were a threat to public health and safety before deciding an appropriate disciplinary action. Below are some of the factors/acts that your employer will consider before subjecting you to disciplinary action for violation of the EMS professional code of conduct:
- Gross Negligence
- Conviction of any other offense that is closely related to your qualifications and functions, for example, driving under the influence (DUI)
- Violation or attempt to violate any law related to the regulation of controlled substances, dangerous drugs, narcotics
- Alcoholic beverages addiction
- Repeated negligent acts
- Commission of sexual offense under the California penal code section 290
- Commission of any kind of fraud activity during procurement of the EMT license
- Physical abuse of the patient resulting from the use of excessive force
The above acts form potential grounds for disciplinary action since they portray a threat to public safety and health. Your employer has three days to come up with an appropriate disciplinary plan, which often includes recommendations to the EMS agency medical director to take action against your California EMT license. The EMS agency may accept your employers' disciplinary action plan or not based on lack of enough evidence, for instance, lack of police arrest records for violent crimes like patient sexual abuse.
Potential Disciplinary Actions by The EMS Agency
Before coming up with the final disciplinary action during the administrative hearing for violation of your professional code of conduct, the EMS agency may need evidence such as the police arrest reports or court documents for tried cases. With a reliable license defense attorney, you might be able to raise a couple of mitigating factors to reduce or dismiss the potential disciplinary actions by the EMS agency.
The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) presiding over this administrative case will follow the EMS agency recommended standard guidelines when imposing disciplinary actions on your license. The administrative law judge will consider the following factors before coming up with appropriate disciplinary action for your alleged unprofessional conduct:
- Mitigating pieces of evidence
- Aggravating factors
- Potential or actual harm to the patient
- Rehabilitation evidence
- Overall criminal record
- Potential or actual harm to the public
- Prior disciplinary record or warning for similar violations
- Whether or not your employer has already imposed disciplinary action. If so, that disciplinary action may be credited, meaning less severe disciplinary action by the EMS agency.
Below are possible penalties that may come out of an administrative hearing with the EMS agency for alleged unprofessional conduct:
You May Have to Pay Fines
You might be required to pay a fine ranging from $250 to $2500 depending on the specific circumstances and nature of your violation, which also comes with a citation. Citation involves inclusion in the EMS agency public website, which will affect your reputation and ability to find an employer. Fines are only applicable if the EMT conduct did not lead to actual harm to a patient. You must pay the fine before the 60th day after notice of the fine penalty. Your license defense attorney can negotiate on your behalf to pay the fine for a period of up to one year by presenting pieces of evidence of proving your financial hardship where applicable.
The EMS Agency May Choose Not to Take Any Action
If the Administrative law judge finds there isn’t enough evidence supporting the allegation of unprofessional conduct, the EMS agency will not take any action against your license. You will receive a letter or email of “no action taken” from your employer who made the initial complaints. However, the EMS agency medical director may choose to give you a warning following complaints on your unprofessional conduct while on your line of duty. A warning is not bad at all, but it may be an aggravating factor to revoke/suspend your license in the future if there is another similar allegation. The EMS agency medical director may choose to give a warning if:
- There is a lack of enough evidence surrounding the alleged case of unprofessional conduct
- The proposed disciplinary action or evidence was approved but did not require any disciplinary action at the moment
You May Face a License Probation
You may also receive a letter of accusation from the EMS agency outlining steps for probation after a thorough investigation and collection of enough evidence against you. The accusation letter also contains the process of appeal, which you must file within 15 days after receiving the letter of accusation. Your California EMT license will be revoked by default if you don’t file a notice of appeal within 15 days or if there is a violation of the probation conditions. Your license defense attorney can help you file an appeal notice of defense timely to protect your license because when your EMT license is on probation, it’s like you are on probation as well.
EMT License Suspension
The medical director of your EMS agency may order a temporary suspension of your EMT license for a specified period to protect the public safety and health. You have to meet all the conditions of the suspension for reinstatement of your license after the expiration of your suspension period.
EMT License Denial/Revocation
If the department decides to revoke your license, you will be sent a notification about the revocation of your license via the address shown in your current records in the EMS agency department. In that notice of your license revocation or denial, there will be an attachment of the alleged acts and facts to warrant the EMS agency's proposed disciplinary action.
You’ve got the right to request an appeal hearing within thirty days after the date of the license revocation notice failure to which the EMS agency will consider your license revoked by default. According to the Administrative Procedure Act of the Government Code, Chapter 2001, an appeal hearing will be scheduled, and you can come with your license defense attorney to defend the allegations of unprofessional conduct.
If your allegations are related to drug substance use, you may have to participate in a relevant approved fitness or rehabilitation program before filing an appeal notice for adjustment of your license probation agreement or revocation. Suspension or revocation is the most severe penalty/discipline you may receive after a disciplinary hearing. However, with professional license defense attorneys like The Legal Guardian, you may have a chance of having your California EMT license reinstated after suspension or revocation. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through all the procedural rules you must take when filing an appeal hearing notice and create viable evidence to deny the revocation or suspension.
Petition for Reinstatement of California EMT License After Suspension/Revocation
Before accepting the EMS agency proposed disciplinary action on your California EMT license, you may want to exhaust all options of seeking relief from the penalties. For smooth and informed decisions when filing this petition of appeal, it will be in your best interest to have a license defense attorney by your side for informed decisions during the hearing. A license defense attorney will help you file the appeal healing notice promptly to preserve your appeal hearing privileges to deny your EMT license revocation, suspension, or probation.
Typically, you’ve got a maximum of one year to file a petition for reinstatement of your California EMT license after revocation or suspension notice. A representative of the EMS agency will attend the hearing on behalf of the EMS agency medical director. You’ve got a right to seek legal counsel before and during the hearing for adequate preparation of pieces of evidence to deny the revocation or suspension of your EMT license. A license defense attorney can raise a couple of mitigating factors to negotiate for a reduction of the proposed discipline or reinstatement of your California EMT license.
According to the California Administrative Procedure Act, the administrative judge must propose appropriate disciplinary action within thirty days after notification of a request of an appeal hearing. The administrative law judge will rely on the EMS agency guidelines and decisions before coming up with the final decision regarding the appeal. The final proposed discipline action plan will be served by the EMS agency to the EMT license holder while taking into consideration the mitigating factors raised by your license defense attorney. Depending on the amount of defense evidence your license defense attorney raises, the medical director of your EMS agency may choose to do the following:
- Adopt the decision to reinstate your California EMT license entirely
- Mitigate or reduce the initial proposed discipline action plan
- Make minor or technical changes of the proposed discipline action plan then adopt the administrative law judge decision
- He/she may also reject the proposed decision by the administrative law judge based on lack of enough evidence and request consideration of additional evidence on the matter
The EMS agency medical director has a maximum of one hundred days to make the final decision regarding the appeal by the EMT license holder. The final decision of the EMS agency medical director will become public immediately, and you and your attorney will receive a copy of the decision via certified means such as email or letter. The final decision by the EMS agency medical director will become effective after thirty days following a mail or letter of the final decision by the EMS agency.
As seen above, violation of the EMS policies and criminal convictions poses a great risk to your career and profession as a licensed EMT. Some of these allegations or charges could arise unconsciously and unintentionally while in your line of duty. A notice by your EMS agency about the accusations and nature of the issues surrounding the alleged unprofessional conduct should not worry you if you’ve got a reliable license defense attorney in your corner.
Find a Professional License Defense Attorney Near Me
A threat to your professional EMT license that you’ve worked hard for constitutes a threat to your career, reputation, and income. At The Legal Guardian, we do not take any chances when it comes to matters defining your livelihood and wellness because we understand what that EMT license means to you and your family. We invite you to call us at 888-293-0396 if you are about to lose your EMT license in California.