Concerns prompt closer look at EMSA

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: May 1, 2012
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The Emergency Medical Services Authority provides ambulance service for Tulsa, Oklahoma City and their surrounding communities. Has EMSA also been taking taxpayers for ride with the way it conducts its business?

An audit of EMSA should answer that question. It’s one that needs to be answered, following investigations by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman that revealed questionable spending and management by the agency. They included significant expenditures for lobbyists, an apartment for the CEO to use while he’s in Oklahoma City, and even a pair of high-end cookout grills.

EMSA also faces a lawsuit filed by several patients who said they were billed for services that should have been covered by a program, called TotalCare, that allows residents to pay a monthly fee on their water bills in return for no out-of-pocket expenses for ambulance service. EMSA officials have defended their billing practices.

In mid-April, the Tulsa City Council ordered a management audit of EMSA by Tulsa city staff. Oklahoma City’s council opted not to do that, preferring the EMSA trust make that decision.

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