La Vernia EMS president refuses to resign amid controversy

The contract with the La Vernia EMS has been canceled with Wilson County. (NL)

Sutherland Springs evidence questioned

$82,000 administration penalty and 2-year EMS suspension by State

(La Vernia, TX) The first emergency responders to the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church killings of November 5th in Texas are virtually shut down. The current president of the La Vernia, Texas Volunteer Emergency Medical Service (LVEMS) board, Paul Brunner is being criticized and under fire from community residents because the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) placed them on probated suspension on January 23, 2017.

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Two independent and informed sources have confirm that an investigation is underway for Brunner allegedly “tampering with evidence at the scene of the Sutherland Springs shooting and other charges concerning the same crime scene.”

Last week Wilson County Judge Richard Jackson requested an urgent meeting with the LVEMS Board and presented them with a notification letter of refusal to renew the 911 Emergency services for La Vernia.

Sherry Schoenfeldt, Vice President of the LVEMS, noted the “letter stated with reorganization and accepted stipulations LVEMS would be considered to renew their 911 contract. Continued service would be a possibility.”

Paul Brunner (LinkedIn)

“The county was very straightforward in their request,” Schoenfeldt posted on Facebook, Nov. 22, 2017.  “They stated they no longer had confidence in the Leadership of LVEMS. Upon the resignation of the multi-position leader, LaVernia EMS could be reinstated the 911 contract.”

According to the Texas DSHS, the “La Vernia Volunteer Ambulance Service” was not only given a 24-month probated suspension, they were “assessed an $82,000.00 administrative penalty probated for violating EMS Rules” under Chapter 157 of the Texas Administrative Code.

The suspension and penalty were due to related “deficient and/or inadequate Medical Director involvement, patient care and documentation of quality assurance, credentialing of employees, record security/retention, complaint management, training material and documentation of training provided, and failure to provide information to the Department regarding an investigation.”

“It’s an awful shame that we are the ones who will suffer for the decision that he has made, makes him look even more selfish!!!!”

“If it is TRULY about patient care, surely (Brunner) can set aside his ego and not deny our community of a local EMS service,” commented Jeannie Vincent-Blankenship.  “BUT since he’s NOT willing to step down…. I’m questioning if it’s truly about patient care!  It’s an awful shame that we are the ones who will suffer for the decision that he has made, makes him look even more selfish!!!!”

Schoenfeldt indicated the “LaVernia EMS Board held an emergency meeting Wednesday night to request the resignation of the Board member. The Multi-position leader (Brunner) denied resignation. The Command Board of LVEMS voted on the resignation. The Board ended in a split vote 2-2. Leader will not resign.”

County Judge Richard Jackson and Commissioners were faced with having to seek other providers since LVEMS, under Brunner’s leadership, does not have an active license to provide service. According to Brunner, he provided a letter to a local TV news station indicating they would be eligible to provide service, but not for at least three weeks.

“So much wisdom to be learned by watching the hearts of men in positions of power. They push, they pull, they grab and they keep.”

Meanwhile, the State of Texas, through the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council and other agencies, has stepped in and two ambulances from San Antonio and Bexar County are located in La Vernia to provide emergency services while this problem is sorted out. County Commissioners are meeting Monday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. to decide on a solution including the possibility of piece milling coverage out to Wilson County Emergency Services Districts, 2 and 3. District 3, located in Stockdale is just 14 miles away from La Vernia.

Initially, prior to their inspection, LVEMS (as with all agencies being inspected) were notified that “a deficiency report and plan of correction process will be utilized should the survey identify non-compliance; however, a failure to promptly correct, serious or repeat non-compliance may result in DSHS considering state enforcement action.”

“The month of November 2017 has been a crushing month,” Schenfeldt wrote. “We have experienced so much loss. So much pain. A ton of grief. My heart and mind remains continually on the (Sutherland Springs) Church family those with us and those not. My heart breaks and my mind remembers…So much wisdom to be learned by watching the hearts of men in positions of power. They push, they pull, they grab and they keep.”


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