San Juan Island EMS chief reports alleged illegal recording to county sheriff’s office | Update

The chief of San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services accused a doctor involved with the agency of breaking the law.

Sheriff’s report

On July 5, EMS Chief Jerry Martin reported to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office that Dr. Michael Sullivan, the San Juan County medical program director, had allegedly recorded a conversation between them without Martin’s permission.

In Washington state, it is illegal to electronically record a private conversation without all the speakers’ consent.

According to the police report, Martin provided a county deputy with audio of a June 11 meeting, where Sullivan said, “I got it on tape.” This, according to the police report, led Martin to “believe … Sullivan has a recording of a conversation prior to” June 11. When questioned by a county deputy, Sullivan denied that he had an audio record of a previous conservation between himself and Martin, but admitted he had notes.

Martin told the Journal the conversation in question only included him and Sullivan and was about San Juan Island EMS. Sullivan could not be reached at this time.

The police report states that the deputy could not continue the investigation due to “minimal evidence” at this time.

Public hospital district board meeting

On Tuesday, July 18, the San Juan County Public Hospital District 1 Board convened to review a public officer or employee in executive session, but would not publicly say who they were discussing. The hospital district oversees EMS, but Sullivan does not work for the district.

Publicly, the board voted unanimously to receive “quality assurance” reports on an “incident” in question, with redactions for private health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

“This is a quality issue at the heart of this EMS agency,” said Commissioner Warren Appleton. “It depends on the existence or nonexistence of reports and whether people were doing their job appropriately both during and after the incident.”

Property sale

At the July 18 meeting, they also discussed a new offer on the shuttered Inter Island Medical Center. The hospital district owns that property because the building previously housed a local medical facility that operated before San Juan Island’s hospital opened in 2012.

Pam Hutchins, the superintendent of the hospital district, said the members of Spring Street LLC offered $850,000 for the property, but the board countered with $900,000. According to the broker, in roughly five years on the market, the property has had about four offers, including one that was rescinded about a month ago.

The hospital district board will convene at 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 25 for their regularly scheduled meeting at the EMS building at 1079 Spring St.