Medstar audit completed but not everyone's happy
Former pilot plans to file Whistleblower lawsuit
LEE COUNTY - Three and a half months after Lee County's Medstar program was grounded, the audit into what led up to the scandal has been completed and not everyone is happy about it. Lee County's Clerk of Courts releasing the report today. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason has been reporting on the scandal since it broke and has the latest.
The audit identifies several problems which led up to the Medstar meltdown but some are disappointed because it doesn't hold officials accountable.
Lee County's Clerk of Courts issuing an 18 page audit detailing what sparked the shutdown of the medical helicopter program.
Arnold MacAllister: "If you identify a problem in Lee County you get identified as the problem, this report doesn't address any of that."
Medstar pilot Arnold MacAllister was one of several fired during the scandal. He says his only crime was blowing the whistle on the toxic environment at the public safety department, which led to Medstar's problems.
Arnold MacAllister: "I'm going to file a lawsuit under the Whistleblower's Protection Act, to me it's very clear that what they were doing was retaliating for us bringing these issues to light."
The report points out how officials improperly billed for services, charging patients $433,000 even though the Medstar chopper didn't have the required FAA certification. That money has since been returned to customers.
The clerk's office did not investigate why officials billed for these services...stating auditors chose not to analyze the motives of public safety officials so as not to conflict with the FAA's ongoing investigation which may lead to “possible civil or criminal activities".
Arnold MacAllister: "The report concentrates on the billing issues. That's a symptom of the disease. The disease is the arrogance of the management on multiple levels there."
The audit cites "infighting" among top managers and the director having a "hands off" approach when it comes to running Medstar.
The report also issuing an ominous warning; saying Lee County's entire EMS department is at risk of "imploding" if the culture there doesn't change.
Arnold MacAllister: "I'm disappointed, I wish I could say I was surprised but I'm not surprised."
After Medstar was grounded the public safety director and deputy director were fired. The county manager was also forced out. The county plans to hire a new director at the beginning of the new year.