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Letter: We’re working to ensure EMS

 

Citizens in the greater La Vernia area,

Re: “La Vernia EMS has ‘zero deficiencies,’ good standing,” and “La Vernia EMS: We are the positive change,” Feb. 9

You may have heard or read about issues with the La Vernia Volunteer Ambulance Service, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Provider, License No. 247005, and Complaint No. 1080160794 issued from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Last week at the La Vernia City Council meeting, Mr. Joseph Schmider, the State EMS director, briefed the council regarding the LV EMS Probated/Suspension License status that is in effect until Jan. 23, 2019, and pending fine of $82,000.

I became aware of this situation the evening of Jan. 30 and obtained documentation related to this action by the state the following morning. It was concerning, and we quickly confirmed that LV EMS was still able to respond to 911 calls in our area. We are working on a contingency plan that, if needed, includes ESD No. 3 (from Stockdale) providing an ambulance and crew, ESD No. 1 (La Vernia-area) housing the equipment/crew at the La Vernia fire station No. 1, and Connally Memorial assisting in funding this action, if needed, on a temporary basis.

Rest assured that between the State of Texas, Wilson County, and the City of La Vernia, we will always have EMS service in place 24/7.

The violations occurred on or around November 2015 and continued til May 10, 2016; after an announced inspection by state EMS inspectors last fall, the violations have since been corrected. A more recent unannounced inspection was performed early last week per state EMS Compliance Manager Jaime Vallejo, and there were two minor violations. Moving forward, the provisions of the complaint action must be followed by the LV EMS, and if so, the probated action will not be enforced, the fine will not be assessed, and their license status will return to “current” in 2019.

We will stay on top of this situation and act only if necessary to ensure your health, safety, and welfare!

If you should witness or experience unprofessional actions by any EMS personnel in the state of Texas, you can contact Jaime Vallejo with the EMS Compliance South Group at 210-949-2052 or email jaime.vallejo@dshs.state.tx.us.

It is my belief that the expectation of our citizens and our city council is that all emergency services personnel and first responders exercise the utmost level of care, service and professionalism as their respective training allows. We will achieve this with or without the current EMS management.

This is a life or death business, and it is serious!

To learn more about what a countywide EMS system could look like in the future, please attend a town hall meeting in the La Vernia council chambers on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

Best Regards,

ROBERT GREGORY

Mayor, City of La Vernia

 
 
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