|Published:||Sep 07, 2012 5:51 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 07, 2012 5:59 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County could face fines from the federal government over the improper billing that led, in part, to the shut-down of the Medstar service. The county suspended the helicopter transport nearly three weeks ago.
"I am disappointed that the commissioners did not know any of this until now. These problems have gone on for a year or more, and we just found out. The county is losing millions of dollars, and it is not a good time for that," said Lee Commissioner Frank Mann.
The Federal Aviation Administration tells WINK News: improper billing would lead to an investigation and that the agency would then take "appropriate action."
A spokeswoman would not say if that means fines, or how much the fines might be.
The Medstar service billed nearly $3 million for transports, that it should not have billed for. In effect, it means that Lee County was giving away those helicopter transports. Most were patient transfers from one hospital to another.
The county administration is asking the Clerk of Court's internal audit division to do a complete audit of the program, including who knew about violations of flight rules, and when did they know it.
Administrators would not talk about possible discipline against the top administrators in the public safety department. But commissioner Mann warns: "I think there may be some serious consequences for some top management."
A private service is providing helicopter medical transport, while Lee County decides what to do with Medstar.
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