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Police looking into finances of Wake EMS provider

Posted May 3, 2011
Updated May 4, 2011

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— A private paramedic service that served part of northern Wake County shut down suddenly late Monday, and Wake County EMS assumed control of its operations as Raleigh police began looking its the service's finances.

Wake County Manager David Cooke said Tuesday that Six Forks EMS had "financial management and financial accountability" issues that required a county takeover.

The county requires an annual audit from private EMS providers, and the last valid audit of the not-for-profit Six Forks EMS was in 2007, Cooke said. A 2009 audit was deemed "fraudulent," and no audit has been submitted for 2010, he said.

"It was their inability to present the 2010 audit that led to discoveries going backwards," Cooke said.

Ed Fuller, a volunteer treasurer for Six Forks EMS, has resigned, and bookkeeper Jill Cafolla is on leave.

Raleigh police have launched an investigation into the provider's finances.

Cooke said he doesn't know if any funds were misappropriated or used incorrectly, but not conducting annual audits raises questions. Six Forks EMS had an annual budget of about $2 million.

Six Forks EMS Chief Daniel Cline declined to comment.

Six Forks EMS ambulance Police looking into finances of Wake EMS provider

Wake EMS Director Brent Myers said other county paramedics are covering the Six Forks EMS area, along with help from Eastern Wake EMS and Cary EMS, until the 26 full-time employees who worked in Six Forks EMS ambulances can be switched to the county payroll. That could happen as early as Wednesday, officials said.

"This is an event that none of us wished on anybody," Myers said.

Six Forks EMS had another 40 or so volunteers at its four stations, at Lynn and Leadmine roads, Creedmoor and Norwood roads, the Pleasant Valley area and the Brier Creek area.

Cooke and Myers said the takeover wouldn't affect ambulance response times or patient service.

It's too early to tell how much the takeover will cost Wake County taxpayers, Cooke said, noting that he has to see a legitimate audit and the results of the Raleigh police investigation. Revenue from patients covers most of the expense for the salaried employees, he said.

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  • bushido2298 May 5, 2011

    thenc411...I feel you're way off and a bit disgruntled, nobody is picking on Six Forks, facts are facts, if there were audit problems or suspicions then why couldn't they provide details to prove otherwise. Nobody is on a "power trip" it was in Six Forks best interest to do what they did. Shame on those blaming Dr. Myers, he works harder and longer than anyone in the system, and for one single thing EXCELLENT PATIENT CARE!
    Cary, Apex, Wake and Six Forks all do, volunteer or paid. Centralized billing...history has proven in other states that it just works better. Greed holds no bearing in this matter either. My only concern is that the citizens of Wake County get good care when they call for help, no matter what name is on the ambulance, EMT, Paramedic, paid or volunteer.

  • thenc411 May 4, 2011

    is the day there is no more passion in saving lives. Volunteers are in the business souly to protect and save you, me, your brother, your mother, etc. Very disappointed in Wake County. Pick on someone your own size.

  • thenc411 May 4, 2011

    Okay, let's look at the situation for what it really is. Wake County and Mr. Cooke on a power trip, looking for any reason to take over and make all EMS systems run by Wake County. Just recently, there was a huge meeting to turn the system into centralized billing by Wake County. There is obviusly no fraud committed here. It is simply the responsibility of the board of a private institution to mandate audits every year. It is no one's fault but the board's that this was not accomplished for a couple of years. Why is the chief not pointed out in this report? And I am not sure why an office manager is mentioned in the story either, seeing as how an office manager has no power in mandating an audit. It is the responsibility of the board and chief. Not very nice to point fingers at those who have no part in the matter. We have seen Wake County get greedy before, and this is merely another example. The day that there are no more volunteers and everything is run by the county, is the day the

  • jjesusfreak01 May 3, 2011

    @exxe75
    Volunteers are held to just as high a standard as fulltime staff for attendence. They know that missing a shift risks lives, and the chiefs won't stand for it. The volunteers know what they're getting into, they know how many calls they average, and they know how much sleep they'll get. There is no difference between them and fulltimers, and you aren't going to achieve some mythical benefit by having fulltimers instead of volunteers.

  • boogerntcsmom May 3, 2011

    hereandnow: Just so you can understand the real facts. The people responsible for the bad business practices never set foot on the rescue squads. The Paramedics, EMTS, a& volunteers were the ones out there taking care of the sick, injured or dying. They were providing excellent care to their patients. They had nothing to do with the financial side of the business other than to get paid for a job that many people do not have the compassion or skills to do. My daughter is one of those people. She is dedicated to providing the best care to all patients regardless of whether they can pay for the ride to the hospital or not. Her concern was the well being of the patient just like the other members of the squad. Don't bad mouth people you don't know it may come back to bite you in the end. No one is perfect & without knowing all the facts some people just need to say nothing at all. I proudly support all of the Paramedics, EMTS,& volunteers in this Wake County for being there.

  • ncmedic201 May 3, 2011

    A few things...first, most new medics don't hold a 4 year degree. A small percentage hold a 2 year degree but those are usually people who have been in the field a bit and are trying to move up. Second, I strongly disagree that a county system hurts patient care. I have worked both an all county system and a county with multiple agencies and the patient care is no different. Third, there are many highly educated people that volunteer in fire and EMS and it IS about the passion. This is not a high paying industry compared to the amount of education and continuing education that is required. If we were looking for money then we would move to another section of healthcare, such as nursing. Last, the county is ultimately responsible for emergency services. You will never see response times affected because of a private company closing it's doors. It's not like the county will ever fail to fill the void because they have no choice.

  • exxe75 May 3, 2011

    This doesn't come as a surprise. I was under the impression that WCEMS was going to take over operations there as early as 2007. Everyone is under Dr. Myers anyway, just combine into a huge system and go for it. I have great respect for volunteers; I began in EMS in '97 as a volunteer. As call volumes skyrocket, the traditional volunteer faces longer hours on units and pressure to keep up training just like a full-time medic. This can be harsh. Long gone are the days of running just a few calls here and there; Wake Co. is unbelievably busy! I couldn't imagine having a full-time job and running that hard on shift and keeping up at a regular job. I'm sad to see the volunteer squads go away, but EMS requires reliable 24 hr coverage, which often is not guaranteed by vol. squads because they are just that- volunteers. They can show up or not. Paid EMS, sadly, is the way to go anymore.

  • Just the facts mam May 3, 2011

    Seventy percent (70%) of firefighers in the USA are volunteers.

  • chfdcpt May 3, 2011

    In the 70's, there was Wake Co EMS, which would not go outside of Raleigh city limits. The rest of the EMS for the county were all volunteer Rescue Squads (at the time). They were in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Kightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, Wake Forest and Six Forks. Holly Springs was only a cross roads at that time. If I forgot one of the originals, I apologize, it's been over 30 years.

    The only paid fire departments at that time were Raleigh, Cary and RDU. Everything else was covered by volunteer fire companies.

  • Glass Half Full May 3, 2011

    Superman - Where's your heart? The passion IS what it's all about. You sure don't do it for the money, schedule, gratitude, or anything other than a love of humankind. I was once told that when it becomes a job - as opposed to volunteering - it becomes just that - a job - and the passion dwindles. I found that to be true. I still loved my job, but doing EMS as a volunteer FOR NO MONEY, giving up a good nights' sleep and having to go to work the next day, having to keep up all my certifications, etc. was more about the passion.

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