Onondaga County drops advanced life support paramedic training following state audit

Two months after the State Health Department suspended Onondaga County's ability to train paramedics, the county will no longer certify paramedics for advanced life support.

CNY Central's Jim Kenyon has been exposing the improper recertification of paramedics in Onondaga County for more than a year. In June, Kenyon reported that the County Department of Emergency Management had hired the training director for Rural Metro Ambulance Service to handle the county's advanced life support recertification program. The hiring took place at a time when Rural Metro was placed on probation by the State Health Department following an audit of its paramedic program.

Wednesday afternoon, Emergency Management Commissioner Kevin Wisely assured members of the Onondaga County Legislature that public safety was never in jeopardy. But Wisely announced he will drop its advanced life support training program. "We don't anticipate doing ALS refresher training. We've only done one of those a year. Our focus at Emergency Management is to ensure we're preparing out first responders in basic life support." Wisely said. He added that the county was thinking of dropping the program anyway.

When the Onondaga County's paramedic recertification program was suspended, 35 paramedics were ordered to re-take a part of the exam in which they demonstrate advanced life support skills. That portion of the exam was conducted this past weekend at Upstate Medical Center under the watchful eye of representatives of the State Health Department.

Commissioner Wisely revealed that three paramedics decided not to re-take the exam and will no longer work as paramedics.