Dallas Fire-Rescue has come to an agreement with the state of Texas to have random state inspections along with other conditions to avoid paying a penalty of $108,750, according to state records.
In a settlement between the city and the Texas Department of State Health Services that occurred on November 17, documents from the state have shown that the health agency has been bringing up problems with the fire department, firefighters, and paramedics to city officials since 2016.
Documents pertaining to the violation notice and the final settlement are all that have been released by the Department of State Health Services. While a state investigation was launched into alleged improper patient medical care against Dallas Fire-Rescue, exact details of the complaints or the investigators’ findings have not been disclosed to the public due to confidentiality concerns.
According to the documents made public, since April 2021, six Dallas Fire-Rescue employees have violated state EMS rules while caring for patients. Each employee had their EMS licenses sanctioned for durations ranging from six months to two years.
The cases linked back to the death of Tony Timpa in 2016 and a 16-year-old patient who suffered a diabetic and mental health incident in 2020.
The state allowed the six employees to continue to work as long as they did not violate any more rules.
Fire Chief Dominique Artis and City Manager T.C. Broadnax were both sent a state notice of violation in September 2021.
Subsequently addressing council members at a meeting, Artis explained that the state’s investigation arose from allegations that the city’s EMS system was generally not proactive enough, was not following policies during emergency calls, and lacked guidelines for certain procedures, such as storage temperatures for certain medications.
The violation released to the public noted nine infractions that the city found with the vehicles in the department in 2019. It also stated that the fire department failed to ensure that employees properly documented their patients’ care and followed policies and procedures when providing aid in 2020.
In February 2020, the city did not have a fully active EMS Quality Management Program, according to the notice. This program evaluates paramedics to make sure they give complete and accurate medical care and documentation.
As a result of the agreement reached on this matter between the city and the health agency, the state can conduct unannounced surveys and inspections of the fire department until August 18, 2024.
It also requires the city to send reports on the EMS Quality Management Program every six months.
Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, Dallas Fire-Rescue Spokesman Jason Evans gave a comment but did not want to provide further details on the investigation or the agreement.
“DFR has made significant investment over recent years to develop proactive ways to ensure we provide the best quality of emergency services to the residents of Dallas,” said Evans.