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Audit: No Fraud At USF CAMLS, But Possibility Existed

A high-tech simulated operating room at USF CAMLS.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The University of South Florida has released an audit critical of some of the practices at its high-tech Tampa medical training center, shortly after the head of the center stepped down.

While the audit released by USF Health late Thursday didn't find any evidence that fraud took place at the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), it indicated that the possibility of fraud existed, as the center lacked the necessary internal controls.

The audit - which led to the resignation of CAMLS CEO Deborah Sutherland in January -  identified a number of risks, including that spending on 15 corporate credit cards was never reviewed, and there was a similar lack of oversight for travel and other purchases. Sutherland would have been mainly responsible for oversight of these issues.

In addition to these "high-priority risks," which University Audit & Compliance officials said have been resolved, auditors identified 14 "medium-priority risks." They said that "urgent management attention is required" to address those risks within 60 days. They added that, so far, three of those issues have been resolved.

USF Health executives ordered the audit after suspecting that portions of the Center were underperforming financially. Auditors found that while CAMLS did break even, it was mainly because USF Health provided additional financial support. In concept, the Center is supposed to fund itself through simulation training of medical professionals from around the world.

Last week, a university trustees workgroup said while the center will continue pursuing those clients, it will now focus more on training USF Health students.

USF plans to open its new Morsani College of Medicine a short distance from CAMLS in 2019. That move downtown will now start before that, as CAMLS will soon house a number of medical school programs.

Copyright 2016 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Mark Schreiner has been the producer and reporter for "University Beat" on WUSF 89.7 FM since 2001 and on WUSF TV from 2007-2017.