Over the last decade, approximately 400 complaints per year have been filed with the California Emergency Medical Services Authority against EMT and Paramedic Licenses.
Based on similarly enacted legislation for Registered Nurses a few years ago, we expect this number to steadily rise with the passage of AB 2917, which requires that all EMTs and Advanced EMTs have a California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background check.  AB 2917 also requires that the certifying entity and the EMS Authority receive subsequent arrest notification from DOJ.
What does this mean for California Paramedics and EMT’s? Any run in with law enforcement will come up when an EMT or Paramedic goes to renew his license.  If that conviction happens to be a DUI or other serious crime,  the EMT is at serious risk of losing his license, if not properly defended. About 70% of license “complaints” are a result of a “criminal” conviction. The remaining 30% are fairly evenly split between accusations such as:

  • Alcohol, Narcotic, Drug, or Controlled Substance Abuse
  • Fraud in the Procurement of a License
  • Fraudulent, Dishonest, or Corrupt Act
  • Outside Supervision of Medical Control
  • Unprofessional Conduct
  • Violating Statutes or Regulations

There is a misconception among the EMT and Paramedic community that a DUI, conviction of a crime or other accusation is an automatic career killer. This is simply not the case. Attorneys have been successful in defending licenses for EMTs if they can show that the conviction is not substantially related to their jobs or if they can provide enough Mitigating Evidence to convince the Authority that the individual should be placed on probation rather than have their licenses revoked.
According to Authority documents, a number of EMTs or Paramedics are simply walking away from their licenses after an off duty DUI or other similar conviction, and they don’t have to. With expert representation, these Paramedics and EMTs can defend their licenses and continue doing the jobs they love. That is where the Firm of Goyette & Associates comes in.
Goyette & Associates are the Panel Attorneys for License Defenders Inc. and RN Guardian, both of which provide license defense to Allied Health Professionals in their respective fields. The need for affordable license defense arose because neither malpractice insurance, professional associations, nor employers cover license representation. Disciplinable licensing complaints are most often the result of an incident that is outside the course and scope of an EMT’ or paramedic’s job, which precludes them from any coverage for the incident. Individuals defending their professional licenses on their own dime can expect to pay anywhere from $5000.00 to $25,000.00 in legal fees and other penalties.
As license defenders for Registered Nurses and Physicians, we’ve noticed that one of the largest factors contributing to license revocation is a lack of education regarding both the incidents that precipitate an investigation and what can be done to retain a license once an accusation has been filed or a complaint has been made. We’ve taken an active role in educating Allied Health Professions through a blog, monthly newsletters, speaking at conferences, a call in radio show and advising individuals if they have a question pertaining to their license. For us, preventing licensing issues is just as important as defending them.