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Auditor Finds Poor Money Handling at Austin-Travis Co. EMS (Updated)

Daniel Reese for KUT News

*Updated to include response from Austin-Travis Co. EMS

Austin’s City Auditor says billing collection processes at Austin-Travis County EMS are so poor that the department is at risk of having money stolen or bills miscalculated and not even realizing it.

A report by the Auditor’s office says EMS does not comply with the city’s cash handling policy and isn’t taking measures to ensure the department is depositing all the revenue it receives.

In one instance, the Auditor’s office found more than $200,000 dollars in undeposited collections stored in an open and unattended plastic storage container.

James Shamard is the Chief of Staff with Austin-Travis County EMS. He says the audit served its purpose in identifying loopholes that need to be fixed.

"We’ve either already gone back and made those changes or we’re in the process of making those process changes as we speak," Shamard says. "And, again, most of them are very small adjustments. Little things like making sure that that safe isn’t open until the armored car personnel arrives. That no one person can even open it, that it takes two unique codes to do that.”

Shamard says the department expects to be fully compliant with the auditor’s recommendations before the end of the month.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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