Government

State warns Cedar Rapids man to stop posing as EMT

EMS certification revoked in 2016 for administrator of Helping Hands program

Iowa Department of Public Health logo
Iowa Department of Public Health logo

State public health officials have warned a Cedar Rapids man that if he keeps purporting to be an emergency medical services provider he could face felony charges.

The Iowa Department of Public Health revoked Eric Hansen’s EMS certification in 2016 after incidents going back to 2011 in which he falsely identified himself as a paramedic or emergency medical technician and provided medical services, including administering glucose, to patients without authorization, according to state records.

On Sept. 1, the agency sent Hansen a cease-and-desist letter after seeing an Aug. 19 KCRG-TV9 report in which Hansen is interviewed about providing medical services to residents at the Robert E. Schorg Manor, a Cedar Rapids apartment complex, after the Aug. 10 derecho.

“We’ve been checking everybody’s vitals,” Hansen said on the video. “We’ve been checking oxygen. We’ve been doing diabetic testing. I sent quite a few people out to the hospital.”

Hansen is seen in the video with a name tag that says “EMT.”

“The Department has received information that you have identified yourself as an EMT, offered to provide medical services individually and through your organization, and held yourself out to the media and the public as an EMT,” Assistant Attorney General Heather Adams, who represents Public Health, wrote in the letter.

“You are not currently a certified EMS provider within this state nor do you operate an authorized emergency medical service program.”

Iowa Code Chapter 147A.11(1) says anyone who acts as an emergency medical care provider without certification — or who operates an emergency medical service program without authorization — is guilty of a Class D felony.

“If the Department receives information that you continue to claim, indicate or imply that you are an emergency medical care provider or operate an emergency medical service after the date you receive this letter, the Department may request the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to file a civil injunctive action against you or may refer your case to the appropriate County Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution,” Adams wrote.

Since 2008, Hansen has run Helping Hands Activity Volunteer Program, a group described on its Facebook page as a “volunteer based medical and security organization” that “provides low cost medical and security services.”

Hansen said in an email to The Gazette this week he performed medical services after the derecho because he has training in the field and because his low-level care would free up ambulance companies for life-threatening emergencies.

“Yes, my tag said ‘EMT’. I did not really look at it for a few days because I was so busy,” he said. “I did change it when I did realize it.”

Iowa law does allow on-site emergency medical care by someone with a nonauthorized system if the person does not claim to be a certified emergency medical care provider or use any terms to imply that.

Hansen said he plans to go back to school to get a new degree in health care.

Helping Hands is a business, according to its website, which says the group offers “trained volunteers in first aid, CPR and security.” The site says Helping Hands is “very inexpensive for our services and all money is donated right back in the community ...”

The Amana Colonies hired Helping Hands to provide security and EMS at the 2015 Oktoberfest celebration, state records show. David Rettig, executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the festival now works with the Iowa County Ambulance Service.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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