Juab County residents petition to fire EMS director for alleged harassment within department

May 16, 2024, 11:08 PM | Updated: May 17, 2024, 9:12 am

NEPHI — An online petition demanding the removal of the Juab County EMS Director for unprofessional conduct has gathered more than 464 signatures.

Five months ago, Jared Williams left his University of Utah hospital job to join the Juab County EMS Department.

“The experience has been wild,” Williams said. “I started to realize management was out to get you if you weren’t willing to conform to them.”

Williams soon grew concerned about how his EMS director, Mika Sperry, treated employees. He alleged that Sperry bullied and harassed those who questioned her tactics and authority.

“The morale in the department, we’ve lost so many good advanced EMTs and paramedics and EMTs because they don’t want to work for her,” he said.

Juab County EMS Director Director Sperry.

Juab County EMS Director Sperry. (Juab County EMS Department)

Williams said he became increasingly alarmed by Sperry’s policies surrounding patient care.

“They were asking us to do things that weren’t inside our scope of practice,” Williams said. “They would constantly implore our lower-level certifications, like our advanced EMTs, to take patients from our hospital on paramedic-level medications.”

According to Williams, the motivation behind the policies is money. Employees were asked to perform procedures that Juab County EMS could bill a patient for even if the procedure wasn’t necessary or effective.

“Constant things that she would ask us to do and most of us would resist and say no.” he said. “She would ask us to do things like sit around and get an IV on scene because of the money, she can charge for that, etcetera.”

Williams recalled an incident in April where a patient needing critical care was transported to a hospital via helicopter at his request. Williams said Sperry reprimanded him for his decision.

“I elected to have that patient flown out because of their traumatic injuries where they could get the best care they deserved,” Williams said. “(Sperry) accosted me in her county vehicle telling me that I should have elected to take the patient by ground… she couldn’t bill the patient for our services… because we flew them out.”

Williams speaking to KSL TV about the alleged bullying and abuse from Director Sperry.

Williams speaking to KSL TV about the alleged bullying and abuse from Director Sperry. (KSL TV)

According to Williams, he and multiple co-workers filed formal complaints against Sperry with county officials and the Utah Office of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness. However, Williams said their concerns were not properly investigated by the Juab County Commission or state EMS officials.

Williams started an online petition demanding Sperry’s removal for unprofessional conduct. The petition has received more than 450 signatures. Williams said several community members and first responders have reached out to support his efforts.

“Things need to happen here because (this is) a detriment to the patients and the community,” Williams said.

Williams said he was placed on administrative leave for “insubordination” after he shared the petition with a coworker text group.

KSL TV contacted the Juab County EMS Department, Juab County commissioners and county officials. In an email response, Juab County Attorney Perry R. Davis declined to answer KSL TV’s questions.

“Pursuant to County policy, the County will not make any comments during an ongoing investigation,” Davis said.

Similarly, the county denied GRAMA requests for information on complaints filed against Sperry due to “ongoing investigations regarding Mika Sperry.”

In an email response, a spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services said the Office of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness treats complaints with confidentiality.

The spokesperson said DHHS can’t disclose whether they’ve received a complaint or are investigating a case unless “action has been taken as a result of an investigation.”

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Juab County residents petition to fire EMS director for alleged harassment within department