State Department Of Health Reprimands OFD

OSWEGO, NY – The New York State Department of Health has sent letters of reprimand to 39 members of the Oswego Fire Department.

The action is a result of the state’s probe of the department’s ambulance service.

Complaints surfaced in January that some of the department’s ambulance service had allegedly refused to transport patients.

The investigation “substantiated failure to follow pre-hospital patient care protocols and improper transportation issues,” according to a statement by Department of Health spokesman Jeffrey Hammond.

Two EMTs have had their licenses suspended as a result of the investigation, which is ongoing.

Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie wouldn’t comment on the matter, citing the ongoing investigation.

Former alderman Ed Harrington brought up the issue during the public session of Monday’s Common Council meeting.

“Today I’ve received communications that confirmed stories that I was told months ago,” he said. “The Department of Health and Central New York EMS Council have been investigating numerous complaints regarding Oswego Fire Department and its ambulance service.”

They found more than 300 instances in 2009 alone where there were deficiencies with the care given by OFD paramedics, according to Harrington.

He said the department must provide written proof that it is significantly improving the supervision of the department’s paramedics.

“To top it all off, the OFD is supposed to get an undetermined fine. The maximum fine per incident is $2,000 and each of the 300 instances represents a separate fine,” Harrington said. “So the city is looking at the possibility of $600,000 in fines just for 2009.”

In February, former chief Joe Perry said, “Starting today an Oswego City Fire Department Policy Manual will be handed out. Everyone will sign for one and keep it in their locker.”

He also ordered new training schedules.

“All personnel will be participating in the training even if they had it before,” he said.