North Naples Fire Control and Rescue District has been cleared of any wrongdoing after a state investigation looking into whether the district broke a Florida statute by falsely advertising itself as an emergency medical service provider.
Kimberly Moore, the investigation manager of the state's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, sent a letter dated Oct. 14 to the fire district's legal counsel saying no violations were found and the case was closed.
The investigation was sparked after Collier County EMS Medical Director Dr. Robert Tober and EMS Chief Jeff Page lodged a complaint against the fire department over an office it was using to put fire personnel closer to a high-volume emergency call area.
The office in question is located at the Carlisle retirement community near Orange Blossom and Airport-Pulling roads in North Naples. Essentially the size of a maintenance closet, the office is staffed by one North Naples Fire official Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
EMS officials said they were concerned the fire district was operating or at least advertising it was operating a nonlicensed emergency medical service, a violation of Florida statute 401.25. In a prior news report about the Carlisle agreement, the Daily News used the term "EMS office" based on a press release from a public relations firm representing the Carlisle community.
In September after learning of the complaint, fire district officials said the facility, situated in a geographic area between stations, was intended to provide a quicker response to medical emergencies within the parameters of its first-responder agreements with county EMS.
This incident was one in many disputes between the fire district officials and those in Collier County EMS.
Another ongoing tussle between the two agencies will continue today as the Collier County Commission considers whether to grant the fire district a certificate of public need for advance life support service at 1 p.m. during the public commission meeting.
The district has been uncertified to perform ALS, a higher level of medical techniques that include powerful drugs and invasive procedures, without a certified county EMS paramedic since 2009, when Tober pulled certifications from North Naples and East Naples firefighters over disputes about training requirements.
If approved, the certificate would allow the fire district to perform ALS under the license of its own medical director, without Tober's authority.
Tober and the Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services has recommended the board deny the certificate.