NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Officials from the Bahamas National Accreditation and Equivalency Board confirmed yesterday that the Bahamas Medical Learning Center, an institution providing health education services in the country, is neither registered nor recognized by the ‘organization.
Their confirmation comes after Eyewitness News report that the Health Professions Council, which regulates certain health care professionals, has denied the facility’s application to have its emergency services technician program approved.
The revelation shocked some students who entered the program in hopes of eventually earning a bachelor’s degree.
The NAECOB website states that “institutions that are not listed but offer programs in the Bahamas are not registered or recognized by NAECOB.”
Failure to obtain NAECOB recognition may result in students being denied key credentials.
BMLC founder and director Dr Elwood Rolle yesterday defended his institution’s credibility, saying it had already been endorsed by the HPC and was in the process of being endorsed again.
“We have been running paramedic programs since 2006,” he said.
“We have a long history with the Health Professions Council.
“They authorized our graduates who complete their certification training. We are aligned with the National Ambulance Registry. So when our students complete the training, they can go to the Health Professions Council and get licensed.
“That status expired at the very end of 2020.”
Rolle claimed that the “extenuating circumstances” of the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented the BMLC from gaining HPC approval to date.
“There have been several delays in finalizing this process,” he said.
“We are actually on the very last stage of completing this process and we also submitted the course to NAECOB for approval and again HPC never told us to stop and forgo the training.”
“Why? Because our programs need to be evaluated. They need to evaluate a program, evaluate teaching. Same with NAECOB. We need to keep the programs running so that at any time an inspector can come into the classroom and sit in the class and evaluate the teaching. That’s why we continued the class, so we never lied when we told the students that we are running a certification course.
NAECOB and HPC officials did not make themselves available yesterday to discuss the registration process or what expectations the public should have of institutions awaiting registration.
NAECOB officials who spoke with Eyewitness News without expecting an attribution, however, said there are many repercussions for students who enroll in programs hosted by unregistered institutions.
An official said that a person who attended BMLC was refused a job in the civil service because the institution did not have the stamp of approval from NAECOB.
Another official said: “If the institution is registered, it would mean that everything is in order. But if they are not on the website, it means nothing is in order.
A letter obtained by Eyewitness News shows that the HPC rejected the BMLC’s request for approval of its EMT program as recently as May 27, 2022.
The letter, which was signed by HPC Registrar Bernadette Ellis, says: “Please note that your program was reviewed at the Health Professions Council held on May 25, 2022. I regret to inform you that the program did not obtain board approval due to several defects…”
The shortcomings, according to the letter, included key documents such as verification of a doctor’s qualifications as an emergency physician and all documents requested in the registration form.
Rolle expressed frustration yesterday over the length of time it took for the council to settle his case.
“We submitted everything the board asked for,” he said.
“I waited until the day after the 13e who is the 14e to know the status. We were then told that because one of the officials was absent, they had to move him to 26e. I said no problem, I’ll call back on the 26the.
“I called back on the 26the only to find out they tell me oh by the way we need XYZ in addition to what you submitted. I said okay come on you had April, you had April to let us know. Now you gonna tell us the 26the that you need some additional (documents)? So these are additional setbacks for us.
“It wouldn’t even have been a discussion if things had been handled in a particular way.”
Several former BMLC students have filed a civil suit against the school. In response to a summons, Rolle and two of the students attended a trial court hearing yesterday.
The trial was adjourned to July 14.