Investigation launched into fire dept.’s alleged paramedic training fraud
A city manager confirmed that officials are investigating the allegations that fire department paramedics and management falsified training documents
By FireRescue1 Staff
SALINAS, Calif. — City officials confirmed that a fire department is under investigation after it was alleged that documents were falsified to hide the fact that paramedics failed to complete required training.
Monterey Herald reported that officials are investigating the allegations against Salinas Fire Department management and 23 paramedics, who could face disciplinary action if the investigation determines they are at fault, according to city manager Ray Corpuz.
“We are conducting a very thorough investigation and we want to make sure we address all the issues,” Corpuz said. “This is a very serious matter. These are very serious charges. We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We want to make sure the community can rely on our paramedic program and standards of excellence.”
Corpuz added that the investigation will also look into why he was not told about the allegations until months after Monterey County EMS Agency contacted the Salinas Fire Department about the issue.
In an April 11 letter to Fire Capt. Scott Houchin, county EMS agency director Michael Petrie and medical director Dr. James Stubblefield indicated that they had asked Capt. Houchin for paramedic accreditation records covering a two-year period, but that Capt. Houchin could not provide the documents and confirmed that paramedics had not been trained in the “infrequently used” skills from 2015 to 2017.
The letter also indicated that paramedics had lied about completing their training in accreditation forms, and that management had approved the documents.
“Competently performing these skills is critical because many of these skills, if performed incorrectly, can have life-endangering consequences,” the letter read.
Corpuz said EMS agency officials required the department to train and test paramedics in January and threatened to revoke their paramedic service agreement, but gave them a 30-day extension if they agreed to comply with a plan of correction.
The plan includes a self-audit, enhanced oversight and reporting into paramedic services, ethics training, documentation training, policy compliance workshops and a comprehensive audit of all department records.