Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Explains Discipline Against Emergency Medical Technicians

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are unsung heroes in today’s world. Police and fire personnel are glorified (and vilified) for their actions. EMTs, on the other hand, get little thanks for the job they perform. They are on the front lines and a glimmer of hope for those in desperate situations. EMTs are inadequately compensated comparatively, yet they are required to maintain the highest ethical standards and competency standards as other more highly compensated professions in the medical field. EMTs study hard and train hard to obtain and keep their EMT license. If you or someone you love is an EMT or paramedic facing disciplinary action in Missouri, professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger can help.

Missouri legislature determined the qualification and ethical responsibilities for EMTs in their state. The legislature established a Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (“Bureau”). The Bureau has the authority to review the conduct of licensed EMTs.  The Bureau falls under the purview of the Department of Health and Senior Services (“The Department”). The Department has the power to authorize new licenses, renew licenses, and deny applications for new licenses and renewals. The department is authorized to suspend or revoke licenses as well.

The Department derives its authority from a state statute as well as the Missouri regulations. The Department may discipline an EMT for one or more of many specified reasons. Alcohol and drug consumption if such consumption affects the EMT adversely; being convicted or pleading nolo contendre to criminal charges if the criminal conduct relates to the duties of an EMT or the criminal conduct was fraudulent in nature are two of the reasons the Department may take disciplinary action against an EMT. The Department may also take disciplinary action against the EMT if the EMT becomes incompetent, commits fraud, gross negligence, or violates a professional trust or confidence. Furthermore, the Department is authorized to take disciplinary action on an EMT license if the EMT commits repeated acts of negligence.  The statute and regulations require compliance and cooperation with any investigation into wrongdoing conducted by the Department.

The Department must follow the established administrative procedure under Missouri law before taking disciplinary action. There is an exception. The regulations authorize the Department to take immediate adverse action against EMT and suspend the EMT’s license if the Department finds that there is an “imminent threat to the public health.” The Department must file a complaint with the Administrative Hearings Commission containing those allegations contemporaneous with the decision to suspend the EMT’s license.  The Department must give the EMT proper written notice. The notice must include a statement setting forth the reasoning for the Department’s action. Additionally, the notice must set forth the rights of the EMT to appeal the Department’s decision.

The imminent threat suspension appeal procedure is designed to move quickly. Once the Department files a complaint against the EMT alleging an imminent threat, then the EMT has ten days to appeal that finding to the Department.  The Department must conduct the appeal hearing within ten days of the notice of appeal. The Department’s decision remains in effect until a court or the Administrative Hearings Commission overturns the Department’s decision.

In the normal case, the Department files a complaint with the Administrative Hearings Commission and litigates the case. The EMT enjoys all of the rights a licensee has before the Administrative Hearings Commission. The EMT has the right to proper notice of the allegations, the right to discover the Department’s evidence and then to a fair hearing at which the EMT can cross-examine witnesses and put on evidence in his defense.  The Department has the authority to punish the EMT with a sanction such as a fine, additional educational requirements, probation, or suspend the license for up to three years. The Department may revoke the license as well.

Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Ready To Help

If you are an EMT or other medical professional facing discipline in Missouri, do not take the allegations lightly. Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger will thoroughly investigate allegations of misconduct so that you can put forth the best defense to save your career and your livelihood. Call Missouri professional licensing attorney Danielle Sanger at 785-979-4353 today to schedule your free consultation.