Audit shows Oldham EMS overspending since 2008

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By Tracy Harris

After a tumultuous year filled with changes at Oldham County EMS, an annual audit revealed the district’s expenses have surpassed revenues for the past three years.

Fiscal court reviewed the audit at its Jan. 17 meeting.

Stan Clark, county CFO and OCEMS board member, presented the audit.

Clark said the audit pointed out increases in workforce-related expenses, including benefits and workman’s compensation insurance, have not been matched by revenue, he said.

Revenue is generated through property taxes and charges for service — but both of those numbers remain flat while expenditures are increasing.

Auditor William Hollister found that payroll costs have increased 22 percent over the past three years due to increases in personnel and payroll benefits.

A tax increase passed in 2007 brought needed revenue to OCEMS, Clark said, but has remained at that rate since.

OCEMS directors cut costs by not purchasing or refurbishing ambulances since 2008, but now several ambulances need to be replaced. A refurbished ambulance was purchased earlier this year.

Hollister recommended in the audit that a formal, written comprehensive plan to address the OCEMS financial condition be established immediately.

Clark told fiscal court the OCEMS board of directors expects to have a plan formulated in 60-90 days. That plan is expected to include more information about the ongoing search for a permanent director.

The board is looking at a variety of options, Clark said, including changes to benefits and staffing.

Clark said the board “will not take risks” that would impact delivering care, but said employees receive generous benefits.

“We’re trying to figure out how to have the least impact on employees,” he said.