Complaints and Disciplinary Action

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Complaints Process

Our office handles complaints against emergency medical services (EMS) providers, EMS agencies, EMS education programs, and medical control authorities.  Complaints must be received in writing and include as much detail as possible.  Complainants are engaged throughout the process and will receive notification when a complaint resolution has been made. 

  1. Step 1: Complaint Initiation
    • When a complaint is received, a file is opened and the complainant is sent a written acknowledgement via email or letter;
    • The complainant may also be asked for additional details or documentation to assist in the investigation process
  2. Step 2: The Investigation
    • Each complaint is fully investigated by the Division of EMS and Trauma;
    • During the course of the investigation, the Division may need to conduct interviews and obtain necessary documents for review;
    • Investigations typically take up to 60 days, however, additional time may be needed for more complex investigations
  3. Step 3: Results of the Investigation
    • After all of the supporting documentation and interviews are complete, an investigation report is drafted and reviewed by the EMS Section Manager and/or the EMS and Trauma Division Director, who makes a decision about how to dispose of the complaint;
  4. Step 4: Decision Making
    • The Division has a number of options available.  Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Division can:
      • Refer the matter over to the Compliance Subcomittee of the Emergency Medical Services Coordination Committee (EMSCC) for review and recommendation;
      • Close - Dismissed - due to insufficient evidence that a violation occurred;
      • Close - Complaint Substantiated - however, no disciplinary action warranted at this time;
      • Issue a Cease and Desist action - this is for individuals or entities that may be portraying themselves as an EMS provider, agency, or education program;
      • Suspend, Deny, Revoke, or Monitor the involved individual or entity;
      • Emergency Suspension or Revocation - if the violation may seriously affect the health, safety, and welfare of individuals requiring care and services from the individual or entity
  5. Step 5: Close Complaint
    • The complainant will be notified of the disposition of the complaint in writing.

Reports


Contact Information

All complaint related forms and attachments should be directed to the attention of Erika Hendy, EMS Support Coordinator, at:

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Division of EMS and Trauma
P.O. Box 30207
Lansing, Michigan 48909-0207
Fax: 517-335-9434
Phone: 517-373-2795
Email: Hendye@michigan.gov

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Forms & Publications

 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Who can file a complaint?

Anyone. Complaints can be filed against any of the following individuals or entities:

  • Licensed EMS Provider (Medical First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians, Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics) (or those holding themselves out as an EMS Provider);

  • Licensed EMS Instructor-Coordinators (or those holding themselves out as an EMS Instructor-Coordinator);

  • Licensed EMS Agencies (Medical First Response, Basic Life Support, Limited Advanced Life Support, and Advanced Life Support) (or those holding themselves out as a licensed EMS Agency);

  • Approved EMS Education Programs (Initial Education Programs and Continuing Education (CE) Programs) (or those holding themselves out as an Approved EMS Education Program)

  • Designated Medical Control Authorities

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How do I file a complaint?

Complaints may be filed by completing the above "Department Allegation/Complaint Form" or composing a written statement or email that includes the following information:

  • Who is filing the complaint (include name, address, email, and phone number).  Note: If you wish to remain anonymous, please be advised that the Department may not be able to conduct an appropriate investigation if more information is needed from you;

  • Who the complaint is being filed against (include name, license number, vehicle number, address, and phone number);

  • Type of complaint (Personnel, Instructor-Coordinator, EMS Agency, Education Program, or Medical Control Authority;

  • Detailed description of complaint (Please describe the incident, circumstances, conduct and/or behavior that you believe may be a violation).  Attach additional sheets, if needed.  Retain a copy of all correspondence for your records. 

Complaints should be directed to the appropriate personnel as described in the "Contact Information" section above. 

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What information is needed to file a complaint?

In order to determine if a violation has occurred, it is important that the Department gather as much information as possible, including: date(s), time(s), location(s) of alleged incident(s), name(s), addresses, and phone number(s) of witnesses, ambulance unit identification numbers, etc. 

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Can I remain anonymous if I file a complaint?

Yes.  You do not have to provide your name when filing a complaint.  However, if you remain anonymous, the Department may be unable to substantiate that a violation occurred if more information is needed from the complainant.  In addition, the complainant will not be able to follow up and obtain information of any possible pending investigation initiated as a result of his/her complaint until it has been closed.

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How are complaints investigated?

The Department will first determine if it has jurisdiction to act on the complaint.

Next, the complaint is reviewed to determine if a possible violation has occurred under Part 201 or Part 209 of the Public Health Code and/or Rules for EMS Personnel and Rules for EMS Life Support Agencies & Medical Control.

If the complaint is jurisdictional and a possible violation has occurred, a formal investigation will be opened and the complainant will receive an acknowledgment letter that includes a tracking number and contact information for the individual responsible for investigating the complaint.

You and the individual/entity under investigation may be contacted if more information is needed either by phone, email, or mail.  The Department at times will conduct an on-site visit and interview if necessary.

All investigative materials and information developed in an investigation is confidential and may not be released until the investigation is complete (including the complainant).  Upon closure of the complaint, you may submit a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) for information pertaining to the complaint.

Once the investigation is completed, the case is reviewed by the EMS Section Manager and/or the Division Director for EMS and Trauma to determine if a violation occurred and what disciplinary action should be taken, if any.  The complainant will be notified of the disposition of the complaint in writing. 

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Will I be told of the status of my complaint?

All final disciplinary actions that are imposed by the Department  are listed under the "Reports" section above. 

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What are the most common complaints?

EMS Personnel/Instructor-Coordinators

  • Patient care issues/protocol violations

  • Practicing without a license

  • Drug diversion

  • Criminal conduct

  • Unprofessional conduct which might endanger the public

EMS Life Support Agencies

  • Patient care issues/protocol violations

  • Unlicensed personnel

  • Equipment/supplies/medication deficiencies

  • Lack of appropriate vehicle staffing

  • Vehicles inopperable

Education Programs

  • Not conducting the course according to the approved course schedule

  • Unprofessional conduct

  • Unqualified instructors

  • Not coordinating/maintaining records of student performance/clinical experience/evaluations

Medical Control Authorities

  • Failing to develop and update protocols/bylaws every 3 years;

  • Not following established protocol

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What complaints don't fall within your jurisdiction?

Complaints that DO NOT fall under our jurisdiction are:

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How long does it take to investigate a complaint?

Investigations typically take up to 60 days, however, additional time may be needed for more complex investigations.


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What types of disciplinary action could be imposed?

The following are actions that can be imposed by MDHHS upon completion of an investigation:

  • Refer the matter over to the Compliance Subcomittee of the Emergency Medical Services Coordination Committee (EMSCC) for a disciplinary action recommendation;
  • Close - Dismissed - due to insufficient evidence that a violation occurred;
  • Close - Substantiated - however, no disciplinary action warranted at this time;
  • Issue a Cease and Desist action - this is for individuals or entities that may be portraying themselves as an EMS provider, agency, or education program;
  • Suspend, Deny, Revoke, or Monitor the involved individual or entity;
  • Emergency Suspension or Revocation if the violation may seriously affect the health, safety, and welfare of individuals requiring care and services from the individual or entity

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