TULSA, Okla. (May 23, 2012) – EMSA board of trustees voted today in a regular board meeting to undergo an audit of its billing practices and policies, among other things. It was also decided to potentially engage the state auditor’s office to perform the work.
The motion stated that the board’s special audit sub-committee would request to meet with the state auditor’s office within 30 days to request an estimate of time and cost. The board’s motion included a requirement that, if the state’s cost estimate exceeded $75,000, it would require an additional vote by the board to move forward.
The scope of work approved by the vote would include a comprehensive review of the organization’s billing, collection and spending practices. It will also review board policies to determine if EMSA is following industry best practices and make recommendations.
“Engaging the state auditor is important to the public perception of the audit,” said Dr. James Rodgers, EMSA board of trustee. “I think most of the public sees them as more independent.”
Oklahoma City auditor Jim Williamson attended the board meeting and explained the roles and processes involved in contracting with a public accounting firm or the state auditor’s office. The state auditor’s office does not require a limited scope of work, lengthy request for proposal process and could be ready to begin the audit as quickly as 60 days from accepting the request, Williamson said.
EMSA management has also been working with the city of Tulsa’s management review office since Aug. 2011 reviewing patient billing and collection practice. The goal of that audit is to streamline processes and find cost savings.
“We welcome the opportunity,” said Steve Williamson, EMSA chief executive officer. “We want to keep the public’s trust that we have earned over the last 30 years and ensure people that our billing and collection processes are fair and can be trusted.”
City auditor Williamson also stated that the state auditor’s office charges approximately $50 per hour for the audit, considerably less than a public accounting firm.
Since the city of Tulsa utility fee program began, EMSA has completed more than 300,000 patient transports in the Tulsa area. Less than 1 percent of all patient accounts are sent to small claims court for collection.
The city of Tulsa’s utility fee TotalCare program began in 2007. Residents pay $3.64 a month on their water bill and in return are enrolled in EMSA’s TotalCare program. Members are covered for out-of-pocket costs which insurance does not cover for emergency ambulance transports. Tulsa residents can choose to opt-out of the fee.
EMSA is Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care. It is ranked in the top 1 percent of ambulance providers across the country for its high-quality patient care and business practices.
EMSA provides service in 17 communities in northeastern and central Oklahoma. Its eastern division is comprised of Tulsa, Sand Springs, Bixby and Jenks and its western division of Oklahoma City, Edmond, Bethany, Yukon, Nichols Hills, The Village, Piedmont, Warr Acres, Mustang, Valley Brook, Arcadia and Lake Aluma.