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Audit recommends changes to strengthen KCFD safeguards for controlled substances

The Fire Department has security measures in place to ensure proper handling of controlled substances, but those safeguards need to be improved, according to a report released today by the City Auditor’s Office.

Controls over vaults used to store controlled substances on ambulances and advanced life support (ALS) pumpers should be strengthened by ensuring drugs are always locked in vaults when not in use and deactivating drug vault access cards immediately after changes in employment status, the audit concludes.

The audit also states that the Fire Department needs to improve its tracking of expired drugs and perform a comprehensive annual, written inventory of all drugs. The department can strengthen its ability to deter theft by segregating the ordering, pickup and payment of controlled substances and requiring chain of custody signatures when drug boxes are exchanged between paramedics and the department delivery driver.

Finally, the department should update and/or develop written policies and procedures over controlled substances to serve as a guide to enable staff to be consistent in their actions and outline the authority and responsibility of individual employees.

The audit includes recommendations to strengthen the physical security of drugs, improve the ability to detect inventory errors and loss, and establish and document appropriate employee roles and responsibilities. The fire chief agreed with the recommendations.

View the complete report at https://webfusion.kcmo.org/coldfusionapps/auditor/showrecord.cfm?ID=793.

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