IL Department of Public Health issues memo reminding ambulance workers they must report felony convictions

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a memo to emergency medical groups following an ABC7 I-Team report of Illinois' lax regulation of private ambulance workers reminding ambulance workers that they are required to report all felony convictions when applying for an EMS license or renewing a license.

Felony convictions are not automatic disqualifiers or grounds for license denial or revocation, but according to the release, "IDPH considers the degree to which the applicant's criminal history suggests that he or she may present a risk to patients."

Currently, as part of the Illinois licensing requirement, EMT and paramedic applicants are required to reveal felony convictions. But, as the I-Team revealed, the state currently relies on self-disclosure and does not do background checks.

According to authorities, an EMT worker crashed an ambulance into a Bellwood, Illinois, building last March, killing himself and two others on board the vehicle. The I-Team discovered that worker had an extensive criminal history and cocaine in his system at the time of the crash. The state said the drivers felony convictions had not been disclosed on his application or renewal form.

The head of IDPH told the I-Team the honor system loophole would be closed under new legislation his agency is drafting as a result of the ongoing I-Team reports. The new memo also alerts EMS System Coordinators about the agency's plans to soon propose mandatory background checks for all individual EMS applicants and licensees.
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