Louisville Metro EMS Responds to Recent Activity

by Devin Katayama on August 10, 2011

Louisville Metro EMS is changing the way it tracks and handles patient medications. This comes after two EMS employees were accused of mishandling drugs. Now the agency will tighten its processes in response, but will still rely on the trust of its employees.

When EMS personnel prescribe medication to a patient, employees are expected to comply with certain protocols to prevent misuse. While the ability to prescribe medication is regulated through the DEA, it’s up to the individual agencies to track and monitor these prescriptions, said Dr. Neal Richmond, director of Louisville Metro EMS.

“How we track and monitor that is an internal process. What I can say is as a result of this case, and identifying that this did indeed happen, we don’t want this to ever happen again. We’re going to make this as airtight and watertight as we can for the future,” said Richmond.

The agency will seek the help of the Louisville Metro Police Department to further regulate EMS protocols. Richmond said he met with Metro PD on Monday and the new protocols will include an extra level of security to prevent further misuse of patient medications.

Richmond wants Metro PD to help regulate the process because the agency regularly deals with discarding narcotics, he said. Metro EMS is treating the situation with urgency and an agreement is likely to be reached soon, said Richmond.

But, the new protocols will still be subject to some level of trust.

“You try the best you can to lock these things down. There’s always an element of trust. In this case there was an egregious breach of trust. It’s something we take to heart. We investigated this very aggressively (and) we’re going to continue to investigate,” said Richmond.

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