EMT Fraud: Bad People or Flawed System?

Recent news from Massachusetts reporting suspension of 207 EMTs and revocation of 4 Instructors for bogus refresher training smacks of poor oversight. But it may also highlight continued frustration with recertification requirements placed on EMS providers across the United States that fail miserably at providing any real education. That’s right, perhaps the system is broken. For whatever reason, EMS providers are subjected to reruns of the very same material they were taught in their original training. Year in and year out, over and over again. No other profession feels compelled to revisit basic education with such vigor, nor does any other profession reteach basic material under the guise of “continuing education.” Refresher training per se, for nurses or physicians, is reserved for those who have been out of practice, or who have been removed from practice for obvious performance problems. Why have EMS educators failed to evolve recertification requirements to the needs of providers?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not endorsing falsification of training records. But I am endorsing a root cause analysis of what led a whole group of really good EMS providers to fail to take their recertification process seriously. The problem may lie with the system and I’m willing to bet that it is not confined soley to Massachusetts…

Mike McEvoy
FireEMS Technical Editor