Complaint questions Galvan’s use of EMT to treat prisoners at Slidell jail

St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan had a contract between his private medical practice and the Slidell Police Department to treat inmates at the Slidell City Jail, but much of the work was performed by the chief death investigator at the Coroner’s Office.

And logs from the jail show that for the most part, the investigator, Mark Lombard, performed those tasks during the work week, which Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith confirmed Tuesday.

Those facts are the subject of a new complaint to the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, which questions Lombard’s qualifications as well as the billing arrangements.

The complaint was filed Tuesday by Terry King, a tireless Galvan critic whose wife, Laura King, was fired by the coroner. The Kings sued for wrongful termination in 2009.

King’s new attack focuses on Galvan’s responsibilities as a physician rather than the financial management of the office, which has also come under fire from King and others and is the subject of probes by the FBI and the state legislative auditor.

The complaint says that providing inmate care may be outside Lombard’s license. He is a registered emergency medical technician.

King’s complaint zeroes in on whether Galvan’s supervision of Lombard’s activities at the jail conforms to the law and to the contract with the Slidell Police Department, dated Oct. 1, 2011.

Smith, Slidell’s police chief, said Tuesday that he ended the contract, worth $47,000, with Galvan’s medical practice in April because the jail was not getting the services it had been offered.

The level of service being provided decreased after investigations into the Coroner’s Office began, he said.

Lombard wasn’t answering his phone all the time, and in some cases calls weren’t returned he said.

The contract called for weekly visits and 24-hour availability, which Smith said he didn’t feel the jail was getting.

The police department also learned, right before terminating the contract, that Lombard was an EMT and not a nurse practitioner, as Smith had thought the “representative” of Galvan’s office was supposed to be.

Smith said that wasn’t part of the contract, but was “more of an informal understanding.”

Lombard primarily would triage inmates, figuring out what sort of care they needed and whether they needed medications, which he would then talk to Galvan about, Smith said.

Logs indicate that Lombard was called for questions about medications, including when inmates had a bad reaction to a medication. Another entry showed that Lombard was called when an inmate was suffering from delirium tremens.

Lombard also performed health screens “such as suicide screens” and showed staff “basic medical training as far as what to look for, what to ask, that type of thing,” Smith said.

The complaint raises the possibility that Lombard’s activities represent a breach of licensure.

“While an EMT certification may qualify Mr. Lombard to perform some of these, it is unclear whether his licensure is adequate for him to train correctional officers in the stated procedures,’’ it says.

Meanwhile, using Lombard, a public employee, to fulfill a contract that resulted in payments to Galvan’s private business also may have resulted in inappropriate billing, King’s complaint said.

The complaint lists a number of possible violations of the law by Galvan, including making or submitting “false, deceptive, or unfounded claims, reports or opinions’’ to insurance companies and assisting an unlicensed person to practice medicine.

It also cites possible violations by Lombard, including fraudulently or deceptively using a license and representing himself as a physician.

Neither Galvan nor Lombard returned calls for comment.