Va. legislator asks State Health Commissioner how much OEMS overspent its budget, amid criminal probe

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Oct 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-20 18:15:34-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Virginia legislator wants answers about how much money a state office overspent its budget, which is now the subject of a criminal probe into allegations of “financial irregularities.”

Delegate Irene Shin (D-86th district) mailed a letter to State Health Commissioner Doctor Karen Shelton on Friday requesting answers to questions that have been raised about a budget shortfall and allegations of financial irregularities at the Office of Emergency Medical Services.

OEMS is a part of the Virginia Department of Health, which Shelton oversees.

In her letter, Shin cited two CBS 6 stories, where we reported that the Virginia State Police and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District are investigating alleged financial irregularities at the OEMS, the VDH is conducting an internal audit into the budget shortfall, and the longtime head of the OEMS announced his retirement last week.

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The VDH has declined to tell CBS6 how much of a budget shortfall the agency is facing.

Shin is asking Shelton for that number.

She also wants to know what safeguards are in place to prevent any financial irregularities.

Shin is not the only lawmaker watching the situation.

Delegate Delores McQuinn (D-70th district) told CBS 6, “One of the things I will continue to do is to monitor the issue, but based on it being an active investigation, it’s limited in terms of what the discussion will be, and what information I can convey,” at a recent House Appropriations Committee meeting.

We also asked Delegate Will Morefield (R-3rd district) about the shortfall. He apologized but said, “I respectfully decline to comment during an open investigation.”

The budget shortfall forced the OEMS to cancel its annual symposium where many of Virginia’s emergency workers participate in important training that helps them fulfill continuing education requirements.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

Office of Emergency Medical Services Director Gary Brown

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Head of OEMS retires amid 'irregularities' allegations investigation

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