Local News

Jul 14, 2014 5:35 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

6 Investigates Follow-up: Pro Medic E.M.S. on Thin Ice in Kleberg Co.

KINGSVILLE- Kleberg County Commissioners told their emergency service provider that they'd terminate their contract with the company if they screw up one more time.

The county contracts with Pro Medic E.M.S. We first told you about this company in a KRIS 6 News investigation back in 2012, that revealed the State Health Department had listed multiple violations by the company.

This time, the problem isn't State violations, it's the company's failure to fulfill it's contract with Kleberg County.

The county requires certain staffing levels each time a crew has to respond to a call, but it turns out, Pro Medic was showing up to scenes short-handed.

It all has to do with the difference between an emergency medical technician, and an actual paramedic.

Pro Medic's Director of Operations, Ignacio Hernandez, explains.

"The E.M.T. paramedic is trained to administer cardiac medications, interpret EKG rhythms, give a higher level of care," he says.

But at least ten times over the last few months, Pro Medic responded to calls without an actual paramedic. This means they showed up to a scene unable to do everything they might need to do to save someone's life.

The company's contract with Kleberg County requires them to show up with a paramedic every time they go on a call.

"Our residents are depending on us to help them have the best service," County Commissioner David Rosse says.

Pro Medic says they almost always do show up with a paramedic, but when one calls in sick, or they're short-staffed, they have no choice but to respond with a regular E.M.T., and bring a paramedic in if needed.

Of course, that leaves the potential for a large delay for care that might be needed.

"It could be a concern," Hernandez says.

The company's performance since May has been perfect, but Commissioners will terminate the contract if there is one more compliance issue.

Nobody has died or been seriously affected when Pro Medic has shown up without a paramedic right away.

Their contract with Kleberg County is up in December.

County Commissioners say they might hire Pro Medic again. They might not.

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