EMS company under investigation for ambulance violations

When there is an emergency, they are among the first to arrive and first responders TM care can determine whether a person will live or die. State documents show and even employees said Alamo-based Pro-Medic E.M.S. is not providing appropriate care. Action 4 News obtained documents stemming back to 2009, including five separate investigations the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) opened up against the emergency services company. I think the citizens of Hidalgo [County] deserve a better service than what we're providing," an employee of Pro-Medic E.M.S. told Action 4 News. He asked to have his identity concealed because he is currently employed at the company. In the time he has worked for Pro-Medic, DSHS fined the emergency responder $47,000 in fines for various violations, including providing questionable care, and not having the proper equipment inside ambulances to provide that care. The employee, Joe, said those two issues are dependent on each other. "I feel like I'm useless, he said. Without the equipment that we need| I'm totally useless." Joe said the ambulances he uses have many problems that interfere with their job. "Air condition, the lights emergency lights, on occasion they work, most of the time they don TMt, he listed Sirens don't work, blinkers don't work." State inspection reports for ambulance at Pro-Medic E.M.S. showed more serious health violations such as missing needles and injections, even carrying empty oxygen tanks, in one report from October 2011. When asked if he felt patients TM health had been compromised because of the lack of resources, Joe did not hesitate, Definitely, on several occasions." Action 4 News visited the headquarters for Pro-Medic E.M.S., located on Tower Road and Business 83 in Alamo, looking for the company owner or management. The paramedic supervisor said the owner, Jesus Flores, was not available, nor was the director. Several other attempts over a period of two weeks to contact Flores, or the company director, were unsuccessful. Joe said he decided to speak out because he wants working conditions to improve. "If I lose my job and this story helps the company in any way, I think it was well worth it," he said. On their part, the Texas Department of State Health Services said they are aware of the violations in the past for Pro-Medic E.M.S. Spokesman Chis Van Deusen said they have seen some improvements over the course of the past year, when Pro-Medic underwent a change in management.

But he added that there are still problems that need to be fixed. Per state rules, Pro-Medic E.M.S. can ask for an informal conference with DSHS regarding the findings in investigation filed against the company. Out of the five investigations in the past three years, four of them concluded with the state ruling that the company must pay a total of $26,000 in fines. To date, Pro-Medic E.M.S. has paid off nearly $24,000; their last payment to the state will be due on November 15. However, the fifth investigation remains pending, and with it, $14,750 dollars in fines.

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