Audit reveals details of problems within Muscogee County jail cl - WRBL

Audit reveals details of problems within Muscogee County jail clinic

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Columbus city council met Tuesday evening to discuss the findings of an audit of the Muscogee County jail clinic.

Sheriff John Darr is assuring the city that his financial concerns are over now that he's privatized the jail clinic, but we're learning that the problems extend further than the budget.

Internal auditor John Redmond says a major concern for him was the unnecessary excess in spending on emergency services beyond the $500,000 contract the sheriff's office has with the Medical Center. The audit found that clinic workers sometimes sent patients to the hospital at the end of their shifts instead of performing the work themselves. It resulted in consecutive years of hundreds of thousands of dollars in overages.

Redmond says, "There was no accountability there directly to the people that were spending the money as to controlling the money, and ultimately that goes back to when the bill comes in for the services, ultimately the finance director has to make the settlement."

The audit report ordered by the mayor also shows that there was not a proper inventory of prescription drugs in the clinic. There was no system to show how many pills were in stock, nor any information about dosages.

Redmond remarks, "I question the fact that they only did it between shifts, that one nurse would count it down to the other, and they would know what was on the cart at the time, but you don't carry all of your pills normally on a cart." He continued, saying, "Usually you have a back stock in a secured area, and they do have some that are stored that way safely, but it's a concern to me when I don't see a detailed invoice."

Redmond says a big problem is a shortage of staff. He believes more clinic workers can be hired within the budget allowance, but the sheriff told him he wants to keep salaries at competitive rates.

There was another interesting finding of the audit. After reviewing the medical charts of inmates, Redmond found that 18 patients' vital signs had been photocopied from the same document. The employee that admitted to doing that has since been fired.

Sheriff Darr was at the city council meeting to emphasize his confidence that the problems have been solved.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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