RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia State Police, Office of the State Inspector General, and the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Virginia are investigating allegations of financial irregularities involving the Office of Emergency Medical Services.
OEMS is a part of the Virginia Department of Health, and, per Corinne Geller with the VSP, it was the VDH that requested the investigation. Geller said the “investigation remains ongoing at this time.”
CBS6 first reported in early September that VDH was conducting an internal investigation after we learned the OEMS experienced a budget shortfall in the last fiscal year.
That shortfall forced the office to cancel its annual symposium where many of Virginia’s EMS workers participate in important training that helps them fulfill continuing education requirements.
Since learning about the internal investigation, we filed a public records request to try to understand the office’s finances better. In our records request, we asked questions like: How much money did OEMS have when VDH initiated its investigation versus its total budget for fiscal year 2023?
We also asked for an itemized list of budget transfers in fiscal years 2023 and 2022 to try to understand where the money went.
However, the VDH withheld all records that could answer those questions citing a portion of state FOIA law that allows a state agency to withhold such records when they have been provided to internal auditors for a state agency.
The law does not say the agency must withhold the records, only that it’s their choice if they want to or not because the records are exempt from “mandatory disclosure.”
VDH did tell CBS6 the documents they are withholding are the OEMS budget workbook, OEMS budget, and accounting records for July through September of 2023, and spreadsheets with details of OEMS expenditures.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email email@example.com to send a tip.
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