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Ambulance firm fires 5 for faking records

Posted by Sarah Thomas  June 18, 2010 05:04 PM

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A Colorado-based ambulance service with a regional headquarters in Natick said today that it has fired five employees who were investigated for providing emergency services without proper certification.

The statement from American Medical Response came after state health regulators announced this week that more than 200 Massachusetts emergency medical technicians are facing suspensions because they faked records showing they had taken required refresher courses.

Two of the five employed by American Medical Response worked in Waltham, according to town officials.

The company cooperated with state health authorities after being notified of the investigation on May 14, according to the firm’s statement, which carried a Natick dateline.

"The five individuals were among more than 200 who allegedly paid for refresher courses without actually taking training, as required by the state," said the statement.

‘We immediately placed the employees in question on administrative leave and conducted a full investigation of the alleged actions. At the conclusion of our internal investigation, we confirmed the allegations, and their employment with AMR was terminated on June 2, 2010.’’

The Colorado-based company serves a number of communities in the Commonwealth, but did not say where the five fired EMTs worked. In addition to the Natick headquarters, it maintains offices in Brockton, Dedham, Springfield, and other locations.

‘‘AMR does not tolerate the type of behavior exhibited by these individuals,’’ said Brendan McNiff, the company’s general manager. ‘‘Their actions were a clear violation of company policies, and certainly not reflective of the nearly 900 dedicated caregivers and employees of AMR of Massachusetts whose focus is on providing high quality care to our patients and customers.’’

The company said the firings have had no impact on ambulance services. ‘‘We have more than enough employees to fill the few shifts that were made available by the terminations,’’ McNiff said.

Two EMTs who worked in Waltham for AMR were fired, said City Councilor Ed Tarallo. He was at last Monday’s Ambulance Service Review Committee meeting, where AMR representatives explained what happened.

‘‘They took prompt action,’’ he said of AMR. ‘‘It will not affect Waltham and we were told that all of the individuals who work for Waltham are certified and have all the training necessary.’’

The company does not provide services to Natick, because the town’s ambulances are staffed by personnel who work for the Fire Department. Wellesley uses AMR ambulances, but none of the five worked there, town officials said.

Framingham also uses AMR, but a fire department official declined to provide further details.

Most of the 200 implicated EMTs, who work for ambulance companies and cities and towns in the Boston area and Merrimack Valley, will lose their professional licences for at least nine months. They could also face criminal charges: The state Department of Public Health has turned over its files to the state attorney general’s office for possible prosecution.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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