EMSA requests state audit in defense of TotalCare program

TULSA - The EMSA board of trustees voted to request an audit by the state this week.

It comes in the midst of a pending lawsuit and questions over its billing practices -- right as the agency launches a renewal period for its TotalCare program.

The audit would include a review of the agency's billing and spending. EMSA hopes this will clear up some questions.

As summer nears, EMSA made a small, but important change to its TotalCare program.

"If you are opted in, or opted out, and want to remain that way, you don't have to do anything. So it's just easier for citizens. They don't have to fill out a form or call in every year," said EMSA spokeswoman Kelli Bruer.  

TotalCare covers the cost of ambulance transportation for $3.64 a month on Tulsa-area residents' utility bills. For those who want to make any changes, the program's renewal period runs from June 1 to June 30.

Previously residents were automatically enrolled, which sparked some confusion. But a new city ordinance aims to change that.

"So know your own policy, know your health situation, know your household members and just make the right decision for you," Bruer said.

As residents check their policies, EMSA is double-checking its practices. The agency just requested a state audit.

"We certainly hope that this would be a great opportunity for EMSA to keep the trust that we have gained from the public, and the public's confidence over these 30 years," Bruer said.  

The City of Tulsa continues to work with EMSA in hopes of simplifying the agency's billing practices and TotalCare enrollment. Clay Bird is the mayor's designee on the EMSA board.

"We ultimately decided, there were so many parts in here, with things we wanted to have looked at, 'cause we do want to be really thorough," Bird said.

No matter the outcome, medics continue to save lives.

"They take great pride in it, and give outstanding clinical care. It is bar none some of the best in the country. And so we really hope that that doesn't reflect on the service that they give," Bruer said.

EMSA will meet with the state auditor's office in the next 30 days.

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