When there is an accident or another medical emergency, and an emergency medical technician (EMT) shows up on the scene, it often brings a sigh of relief to the injured, their loved ones, and bystanders who may be struggling to provide some sort of assistance to the person in need. Seeing an EMT emerge from a vehicle means that much-needed medical help has arrived.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) play a critical role in medical care, performing interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. EMTs deliver emergency medical care outside of the hospital setting, and provide transportation for critical and emergent patients, essentially bridging the gap between the scene of an emergency and the larger health care system.
Equipped with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to stabilize and safely transport patients ranging from non-emergency and routine medical transports to life-threatening emergencies, EMTs function as part of a comprehensive Emergency Management System response program, under medical oversight.
When an EMT receives certification, it is a proud day. This is the culmination of hours of difficult coursework and training. So when an EMT's certification is in jeopardy due to a disciplinary measure, it can be devastating. Learning that you are at risk of losing your EMT certification may be confusing and upsetting, raising important questions about what has prompted this type of disciplinary response. Once the allegation of wrongdoing is uncovered, untangling the disciplinary process of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) can be a complicated endeavor.
Professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm has extensive experience helping professionals defend their licenses. Attorney Lento provides professional and effective representation for clients whose emergency medical technician certifications are under threat of revocation or suspension. Passionate, dedicated, and skilled, Attorney Lento is who you want by your side if your emergency medical technician certification is under attack.
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)
Established in 1970 as a non-profit organization, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) is the Nation's Emergency Medical Services Certification organization. The NREMT's primary focus is on protecting the public and advancing the emergency medical services profession. The NREMT aims to provide a well-founded, systematic process to assess the knowledge and skills that are required for qualified practice by emergency medical service professionals throughout the course of their careers, and to provide a national registry of certification status.
Role of the Nation's Emergency Medical Services Certification Provider
In its role as the nation's emergency medical services certification provider, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians performs the following:
- Creates the eligibility requirements for applicants to receive certification
- Establishes the examination requirements, both psychomotor and cognitive
- Sets for the requirements for recertification
- Reviews the self-disclosed criminal convictions provided by the applicants, as well as any actions taken against their healthcare-related professional licenses
- Keeps track of the certification status of registrants
- Takes appropriate action against the certification of a registrant when the Registry is apprised of any criminal convictions or adverse licensure actions
- Furnishes to licensing or authorizing agencies any adverse licensure action and criminal conviction information that is obtained with regard to any registered emergency medical service professionals
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians does not:
- Provide accreditation for EMT education programs
- Establish or approve educational programs for certification or recertification
- Put forth guidelines for standards of care
- Establish scopes of practice
- Evaluate an emergency medical technician's job performance
- Investigate any complaints regarding emergency medical service practice
- Assess an EMT's fitness for the mental and physical aspects of job performance
- Conduct criminal background checks on applicants
- Establish standards for job-related professional behavior
Requirements for EMT Certification
Any individual applying for certification as an emergency medical technician must meet the following requirements put forth by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians:
- Satisfactory completion of a state-approved emergency medical technician course that either meets or exceeds the National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards for the EMT
- The course must be completed within the prior two years, and successful course completion must be verified on the Registry website
- Have a current CPR-BLS for “Healthcare Provider” or equivalent credential
- Successfully complete the cognitive exam established by the Registry, which candidates have two hours to complete. The exam covers a broad spectrum of emergency medical services care, including respiration, airway, and ventilation; cardiology and resuscitation; medical; trauma; obstetrics/gynecology; and emergency medical services operations
- Successfully complete a state-approved skills (psychomotor) exam
The NREMT test's passing standard is “the ability to provide safe and effective entry-level emergency medical care.”
The passed portions of the cognitive and psychomotor exam are valid for a period of 24 months, provided all of the other eligibility criteria are met. For those candidates who have a course completion date prior to November 1, 2018, the passed portions of each exam are valid for a period of 12 months, provided all other entry requirements are met.
Requirements for An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) State Certification
If you are interested in becoming an emergency medical technician, you look to your state of residence to receive certification. If an individual receives certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) this means that the individual has met a set of standards, and that the individual has the knowledge and skills required for a position as an emergency medical technician. Certifications for emergency medical technicians are issued by a state—or another legally recognized authority—and the certification grants the individual the legal right to practice as an emergency medical service professional.
Individual states establish and conduct their own emergency medical technician application processes, which may include submitting to background checks, completing a minimum number of course hours, and more. In New Jersey, for example, an individual who is interested in receiving an EMT certification must be 18 years of age or older; pass a physical exam; pass a background check; obtain certification for cardiopulmonary resuscitation; complete an approved EMT training course; and receive certification from the state. New Jersey's EMT training is a study-intensive course lasting a minimum of 190 hours.
To obtain EMT certification in New York, applicants take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam, and must complete 120 to 150 hours of training to obtain certification. To obtain EMT certification in Pennsylvania, applicants must be at least 16 years of age, are required to successfully complete an emergency medical services provider education course for EMTs, must have current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and must pass both the written and practical exams.
Emergency medical technician applications are processed through a state's Department of Health. In New Jersey, New Jersey Administrative Code requires that New Jersey emergency medical technicians initially obtain their certification by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as a prerequisite for issuing a New Jersey EMT certification. In New Jersey, the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) certifies more than 26,000 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). In Pennsylvania, the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) certifies all EMS Agencies within the Commonwealth. In New York, the Department of Health's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services issues certification.
As part of their training, emergency medical technicians learn how to:
- Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Administer oxygen
- Help individuals who are experiencing asthma attacks
- Assist people who are having allergic reactions
- Administer glucose to diabetic patients
- Remove patients and prepare them for transport to hospital
Situations That May Cause The NREMT To Take Disciplinary Action Against Certification Of An EMT
The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) has the power to deny a person's eligibility for initial EMT certification or recertification. The NREMT may also deny, revoke, or suspend a person's EMT certification; take additional disciplinary action regarding a person's application, certification or recertification; or deny authorization to use the NREMT website in certain circumstances.
Situations that may prompt the NREMT to take action against certification may include any of the following:
- Individual is ineligible for NREMT certification
- Misrepresenting one's status as a registrant of the NREMT
- Individual displays behavior that is irregular with regard to any NREMT exam
- Intentionally and materially misrepresenting or withholding information
- Failing to provide the NREMT with updated information regarding any certification or recertification application, or in any other representation or communication to the NREMT
- Intentional misrepresentation by a trainer regarding an application's satisfactory competition of the training requirements for EMT certification
- A conviction, guilty plea, or plea of nolo contendere (no contest) to a felony or criminal offense that is directly related to either public health, or to the provision of emergency medical service outlined in the NREMT Criminal Conviction Policy
- Suspension, limitation, revocation—or another disciplinary action taken by a licensing or authorizing agency—that is related to the safe and effective practice of an EMS professional; or the voluntary surrender of a license in connection with such a disciplinary action or in lieu of a disciplinary action
- The NREMT reserves the right to suspend a person's certification prior to the completion of any right of appeal, upon the emergency suspension or revocation of a person's EMT certification by an authorizing or licensing agency, based on such agency's finding that the person cannot safely and effectively practice and/or the individual poses an imminent threat to the public
Common Behaviors That May Jeopardize EMT Certification
While an emergency medical technician can have their professional certification revoked or suspended due to a variety of allegations, some of the more common behaviors that may jeopardize an EMT certification include the following:
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
- Criminal convictions
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Incompetence, such as misuse of medical equipment
- Failure to follow established EMT standard protocols
- Professional misconduct
- Sexual misconduct
- Behaving in a verbally or physically abusive manner
If you have been accused of wrongdoing that may cost you your EMT certification, consult with an experienced professional license defense attorney before you speak to anyone else about the matter at hand.
Notification and Appeals Process at NREMT
When the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians issues an adverse decision regarding an EMT's certification, the individual shall be sent a notification statement that alerts them to the following:
- The action taken and reason for action or ineligibility
- Statement explaining (where applicable) the alleged violation of any of the NREMT rules, standards, or policies
- Timeframe for an appeal
- Any additional information that is believed to be appropriate
To appeal an adverse decision, the individual may mail a Notice of Appeal to the NREMT within forty-five days of the issued decision. The Notice of Appeal must contain a statement explaining the basis of the appeal, as well as any documents in support of the appeal.
Professional License Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento Fights For Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) Whose Certification Is Being Threatened
For some individuals, the threat of losing their professional license or certification is cause to hide in embarrassment. They don't want anyone to know, so they go away quietly. For others, the thought of losing their professional certification over some disciplinary action sends them into a tirade.
For professional license defense attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm, when a client is facing revocation or suspension of their professional certification or license—such as the certification to work as an emergency medical technician—it is cause to step up and fight for what is just. And that's exactly what Attorney Lento does for his clients. Attorney Lento protects the rights of those accused of wrongdoing, takes on the licensing bodies, and fights tirelessly on behalf of his clients. To learn more about how Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm can help you with your NREMT disciplinary issue, schedule a consultation with our office by calling 888-535-3686.