STATE CLOSES TRAINING FACILITY Nursing Assistant Students Allowed to Finish Program, despite Staff Not Being Paid

By Pignolet, Jennifer | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), December 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

STATE CLOSES TRAINING FACILITY Nursing Assistant Students Allowed to Finish Program, despite Staff Not Being Paid


Pignolet, Jennifer, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


Friday's graduation may have been simple - red velvet cake, punch and the signing of certificates - but it was a victory for the six certified nursing assistant students and their instructors who a week ago weren't sure the class would be able to finish.

After completing the required 100 classroom hours for the program, the students were about to begin their 50 hours of clinical work when the staff at the American Institute for Medical Careers told them the state had shut down their program.

"I think everybody's jaw dropped," student Amanda Baggarley said.

They were told the owners of their institution had neglected to file proper paperwork to keep the business going, and that as a result, the school had to close.

The state granted their class permission to finish - but the teachers and administrators, who said they haven't been paid since owner Cullen Fowler moved out of the state in mid-October, had to stay on a voluntarily basis.

One other class, an emergency medical technician training, will also be allowed to finish, but with the rent on the institution's East Boone Avenue facility not paid for the last month and a half, the students will have to meet elsewhere. An eviction notice was placed on the school's door Thursday, listing an owed sum of $2,260.

Administrative assistant Karin Heikkila, one of four employees plus one contractor working for the school, said the business was doing well and had 200 nursing assistant students and 40 EMT students through September of this year. At tuition of $875 for each nursing student and $1,400 for each EMT student, Heikkila said she doesn't know how the company could have gone downhill so fast.

"I have not seen the books," Heikkila said. "All I know is that I was not getting paychecks."

Donn Moyer, spokesman for the Washington state Department of Health, said the state was missing three documents from the school that were required to keep the certified nursing assistant program running. Two of the documents, he said, were agreements between the school and the nursing facilities it was using for the students' clinical hours. The other form was a notification required each time an institution hires a new instructor.

Moyer said Department of Health staff sent several communications to Fowler about the missing paperwork and then issued the notification to close the training operation on Nov. …

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