Audit points to bioterror fund mishandling

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An audit of how Vermont spent federal bioterrorism grants says the state hospital association mishandled money and that the state Department of Health let the missteps occur.

Auditor Thomas Salmon’s review focuses on the handling of up to $900,000 in federal biological terrorism preparation grants.

The money was passed through the Health Department and to the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

Salmon says the Health Department did not adequately supervise the spending of the money.

He says the hospitals association did not always follow competitive bidding rules and in some cases spent inappropriately on telephones, meals and lodging.

The hospitals association describes the report as accurate and fair and says it will re-examine its policies.

But the association says because of the grant and its work, Vermont is better prepared to respond to an emergency.

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