Audit finds many issues in EMS Regulatory Board operations

A new report details more than a dozen issues with how the board tasked with regulating and supporting the state’s emergency medical services system operates.

Tuesday, Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) released the findings of its audit of the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board (EMSRB).

The audit, which was conducted from July 1, 2018, through April 30, 2021, found “a significant number of instances” where the board failed to follow state law detailing how it can distribute funds through grants and where the board’s policies and procedures failed to stop many issues. Additionally, one of the issues found in the audit was something OLA had pointed out in its last audit of the board’s performance back in 2008.

The list of issues found by OLA ranged from EMSRB approving grants that included funding for things not allowed by state law and failing to monitor those grants to overpaying for ambulance training reimbursements, failing to validate the eligibility of reimbursements and failing to administer contracts in accordance with state law. Additionally, OLA found several other issues with how EMSRB managed its own employees’ timesheets and pay.

RELATED: Legislative auditor suggests more oversight of Minnesota ambulance services

In its report, OLA did note that EMSRB’s current executive director, Dylan Ferguson, didn’t take over in the role until Feb. 7, 2022, meaning he wasn’t involved with any of the activity that was audited.

OLA also offered more than 30 recommendations for how the EMSRB can fix the noted issues and prevent future problems.

Ferguson, in the response letter to OLA’s report, noted that the Department of Administration also raised many of the same concerns as early as January 2021 and the board started working to correct those issues as soon as it was made aware. As of this month, Ferguson said the board has fixed eight of OLA’s findings and has partially fixed (and has plans to fully resolve) another six issues noted in the report.

He also issued the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“Upon being made aware of concerns related to administrative operations of the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board in January of 2021, the Board took swift and decisive action by initiating a series of structural and administrative changes to the way that the Board conducts its business. These changes greatly improved both the efficiency and the overall internal control environment of the Board and its staff. All of which has led to increased accountability related to the fiduciary responsibility that the Board has to all Minnesotans. As highlighted in our response to the Legislative Auditor, 8 of the OLA’s findings have been fully resolved and an additional 6 findings have nearly been fully resolved, all work done prior to this reports release. The Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board appreciates both the role and diligence of the Office of the Legislative Auditor.”

Dylan Ferguson, EMSRB executive director

The full report can be found here.