EMS providers sanctioned for unlicensed personnel and incompetence

By: - December 10, 2021 2:13 pm

(Photo from State of Utah Bureau of Emergency Services and Preparedness)

Iowa regulators are recommending that an Omaha-based ambulance service accused of repeatedly using unlicensed personnel to provide emergency care to patients have its license placed on probationary status for one year.

The Iowa Department of Public Health made the recommendation and proposed a $500 fine against Midwest Medical Transport for violating Iowa regulations regarding the employment of unlicensed personnel.

According to the department, Midwest Medical Transport delegated professional responsibility to a person when it knew that person was not qualified by training, education or certification to perform those duties; and failed to maintain a personnel roster utilizing a system that would ensure all personnel are certified as EMS providers.

As part of the proposed probation, Midwest would have to agree to comply with all regulations and submit to an “annual self-inspection.”

Midwest has until the end of the month to request a hearing on the recommendation. If no such request is made, the disciplinary action will be finalized and imposed as recommended.

The department’s notice of proposed action gives no details as to how Midwest violated the regulations, but a statement of the factual circumstances that led to the recommendation will be made public once final action is taken in the case.

In August, Midwest was fined $250 by the department for similar violations. In that case, it was alleged that between February and April of this year, the company allowed an individual not certified as an Iowa EMS provider to deliver emergency medical care to patients.

According to the department, the company had previously received a letter of warning for allowing an unlicensed individual to deliver emergency medical care to patients between October 2020 and January 2021.

Other recent proposed disciplinary actions involving Iowa EMS providers include:

Miranda Depyper of Graettinger — The department proposed a $250 fine, a six-month license suspension and two years of probation for willful or repeated violations of departmental rules and negligence in performing emergency medical care. According to the department, in April of this year Depyper gave an intravenous medication to a patient, despite the fact that the medication was contraindicated due to the patient’s condition. “This medication was particularly detrimental to the health and safety of the patient,” the department alleges, adding that Depyper’s EMS service does not even have a protocol in place to give that medication to patients in that condition. The available public records do not indicate what the medication was or what the patient’s outcome was. Depyper initially requested a hearing on the department’s proposed disciplinary action but later approved a consent agreement whereby the six-moth license suspension would be set aside and replaced with an indefinite suspension that would be lifted once she completed the required continuing education related to EMS.

Bridgette L Zaputil of Centerville — The department has proposed a $250 fine for knowingly making misleading, deceptive or untrue statements or engaging in unethical conduct or practice that is harmful to the public; and engaging in conduct that subverts or attempts to subvert a department investigation. On April 1, 2021, Zaputil was allegedly seen “behaving in an unethical and unprofessional manner and making inappropriate comments” about a patient who was in her care during an EMS call. Then she allegedly tried to subvert the department’s investigation of the incident by sending messages to a witness encouraging the person to mislead investigators as what had transpired.

Ryan Coburn of Norwalk – The department has proposed a $250 fine related to criminal convictions for disqualifying offenses, and knowingly making misleading, deceptive, or untrue statements or engaging in unethical conduct that is harmful or detrimental to the public. The department’s public filings give no indication what Coburn did to warrant the disciplinary action, but a statement of the factual circumstances that led to the proposal will be made public once final action is taken in the case. Court records show that in June, six months before the department took action against Coburn, he was convicted of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He had been pulled over in May for erratic driving and was found to have a bottle of vodka in his truck and a blood-alcohol level of .2 — more than twice the legal limit for driving.

Holly Sampson of Norway — The department has proposed a $250 fine for professional incompetence; failure to conform to the minimum standards of practice; and displaying a substantial lack of knowledge or ability to discharge her professional obligations while meeting minimum clinical standards. It’s alleged that on February 14, 2021, Sampson initiated an intravenous line, or IV, on a colleague at her workplace while not providing emergency medical treatment as part of a state-authorized EMS service. Sampson allegedly obtained the IV supplies and fluids from her employer without the company’s approval.

Jamie Brame of Ainsworth – The department has proposed a $250 fine for professional incompetence by failing to conform to the minimum standards of practice or by displaying a substantial lack of knowledge or ability to discharge his professional obligations while meeting minimum clinical standards. He also was accused of failure to report another emergency medical care provider to the department for regulatory violations, and knowingly aiding or assisting a person in the illegal practice of EMS. The department alleges that on July 4, 2021, while acting as a paramedic student, Brame obtained prescription medications from the inventory of his EMS service and took it home to treat a co-worker who was sick.

Wesley Love of Ainsworth — The department has proposed a $250 fine for professional incompetence by failing to conform to the minimum standards of practice or displaying a substantial lack of knowledge or ability to discharge his professional obligations while meeting minimum clinical standards. Department records indicate he was the co-worker who received medication from Jamie Brame.

Josh Mohrer of Columbus Junction — The department has proposed a $250 fine for professional incompetence by failure to conform to the minimum standards for emergency medical care; failure to report another emergency medical care provider to the department for regulatory violations; and knowingly assisting a person in the illegal practice of EMS. Department records indicate he was a shift supervisor who advised a subordinate, Jamie Brame, to use the EMS service’s prescription medication to treat co-worker Wesley Love.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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