Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home > Topics > EMS Management
All Articles

EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Lessons to be learned from Mass. certification scandal

By Arthur Hsieh

Editor's note: Six fire officers involved in the Mass. EMT recertification scandal cut deals to save their jobs this week. The punishment includes a mix of demotions, unpaid suspensions, work-for-free punishment duty and financial restitution. Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh says now that this sad chapter in the history of EMS is coming to a close, is there anything we can learn from it?

It appears that this sad chapter in the history of EMS is coming to a close, with several EMS providers receiving stiff penalties for their role in the certification scandal. In a previous commentary I mentioned that the recertification process, while not perfect, is currently the acceptable way to validate that one is competent and capable of providing professional emergency medical care to the public.

Knowingly circumventing the process implies at the very least, poor judgment and at worst, a conscious effort to ignore what's right and perform a selfish act that shakes the public's trust in its homeland responders.

I think that there are a couple of lessons to be learned:

1) Despite having what I just said, why is it that over 200 Massachusetts EMS providers chose to falsify their recertification?

Yes, the opportunity provided itself, but usually there are other factors that drive normally ethical people to step over the line. Is it extraordinarily difficult to go through the process?

Are the refresher classes boring and devoid of any meaningful information? Is there enough availability of refresher classes? Are they very expensive? None of these potential reasons are good enough to condone illegal behavior, but that doesn't mean we couldn't work to reduce the barriers to recertification in a meaningful way.

2) It's tempting to perform an act that gets you something valuable without putting in the effort. We come across these situations in our daily lives — some of them trivial, others more serious.

If it only affected us as individuals, that might be one thing. But in situations like this one, where whole communities may be affected, it becomes painfully clear that someone will care about what you do — and not in a supportive way.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com.
Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EMS1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.

EMS1 Offers

Sponsored by

We Recommend...

Connect with EMS1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 EMS eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample

Online Campus Both

EMS Management Videos