Isolated Hand Giving An Id Card. By jpgon

Your Certification is Your Responsibility!! Sort of…

I wanted to take a little time to discuss a the importance of making sure that providers are being responsible for their own certifications.

Many departments have internal tracking mechanisms in place which will keep a tally on the number of providers who will be expiring soon as well as their exact expiration dates for each and every certification that they need to maintain their employment. While this is helpful for employers, it really takes a lot of the responsibility off of the provider.

Many providers actually forget what their expiration date is an end up having to take a class at the last minute whenever their employer gets an alert that says that they are about to expire. In fact, it is not uncommon for a provider to expire when there is no internal tracking mechanism in place. Believe it or not, most providers wait up until the very last minute in order to recertify. Can you believe that?

For many years agencies, states, and the National Registry have made accommodations for individuals who have recently expired by permitting them to reenter with somewhat relaxed requirements.

While this is a benefit to many, it is not difficult to see the problems associated with putting the responsibility for recertification on employers. When this happens, and let’s say that the training supervisor is unable to let the providers know in time, the provider generally will feel as though they have been robbed! This isn’t exactly appropriate.

Some smaller departments do not have a tracking mechanism to find out who is going to expire soon. This can be problematic because they may eventually find themselves either out of compliance, by licensing a provider to work who is not otherwise able or qualified to do so and thus, opening up liability to the department. Such problems can be truly devastating in the event of a medical error.

Departments are in a catch 22 situation and would do well to give reminders, but in no way, should there be anything more than a reminder or two. If the provider doesn’t cough up a new certification, they should immediately be pulled. It is important to note that many states will even put up in their rules that it is the responsibility of the providers to be responsible for their own certification.

Again, the best approach is to have a reminder system in place where nobody in the organization but the provider has the ultimate responsibility for certification. This will alleviate any sense of entitlement and at the same time hold providers responsible for there own certification.

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Ruben Major
Editor in Chief at EMS Wire
Ruben began his career in Emergency Medical Services in 2000. He holds a Master's Degree in Military History and has experience as a Paramedic and EMS Supervisor in the field. He has taught CPR and First Aid Programs for several years. Ruben spent 2 years as Program Director for an EMS/Paramedic Program in the valley prior to working as Program Director for EMS University in Phoenix, Arizona. Ruben has published several articles on public safety and Emergency Medical Services in several prominent magazines and is responsible for creating the nation's first Native American APCO EMD Program. Ruben is currently seeking a Juris Doctor from Concord Law School. He has served
as CEO of EMS University since 2003 and is Editor in Chief at EMS Wire. Ruben enjoys astronomy, bicycling, hiking, other outdoor activities, and spending time with his family.

EMT-B, Mesa Community College (2000)
EMT-Paramedic, E-Med., Inc. (2002)
A.A., General Studies - Scottsdale Community College (2003)
B.A., History - Arizona State University (2003)
M.A., Military History - Norwich University (2008)
J.D., Candidate - Concord Law School (Class of 2016)

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