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Massachusetts Ambulance Company Pays Penalty for Falsifying Training Qualifications

A local ambulance company has agreed to pay $350,000 in civil penalties and costs, settling allegations that it sought payments from the Commonwealth for services that were not staffed by properly-certified emergency medical technicians, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The complaint, filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that Trinity EMS, Inc. (Trinity) knew that its EMTs were not properly certified in accordance with Massachusetts law, but nonetheless billed the state for hundreds of ambulance trips that failed to comply with regulations.

The complaint is part of an investigation concerning the fraudulent representations by emergency medical technicians (EMTs), claiming they took certain training courses required to maintain their certification. In 2011, former Trinity EMT instructor Leo Nault pleaded guilty and was sentenced for his role in a recertification scheme, creating bogus training records from 2006-2009 that led to the certification of dozens of emergency personnel who never completed the required "refresher" courses.

In Massachusetts, there are three levels of EMTs: basic, intermediate, and paramedic. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) statute and accompanying regulations require all EMTs to be licensed. Once initially certified, EMTs are required by the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services to renew their certificates every two years. To qualify for recertification, individuals holding a basic EMT certification are required during each two-year cycle to complete mandatory continuing education (CE) and a 24-hour refresher course. EMT paramedics, consistent with their correspondingly greater treatment responsibilities, must complete mandatory CE and a 48-hour refresher course.

Trinity- headquartered in Lowell with locations in Haverhill, Chelmsford, Tyngsborough, Lawrence, and New Hampshire - has fully cooperated with the AG's investigation and has enacted policies and procedures concerning the administration of training courses to ensure that its EMTs are properly certified, including a new company policy requiring all employees to take necessary certification classes and/or refresher classes with a pre-approved trainer or training facility.

As part of the consent judgment, also filed on Thursday, Trinity is required to pay $350,000 in civil penalties and costs to the Commonwealth.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Engel of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division.



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