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Federal inspectors will visit Lee County on Tuesday, as part of their investigation into the county’s billing practices, according to a statement from Lee County public safety.

Lee County officials confessed this week that they violated federal rules by billing patients for medical flights without meeting federal safety requirements.

The Federal Aviation Administration dispatched the inspectors to “review the events that led to the incorrect billing,” Lee County spokeswoman Denise Scott stated.

Public Safety Director John Wilson claimed the suspension was part of an effort to seek a voluntary accreditation from an out-of-state company.

After repeated requests from this newspaper, he admitted the county had failed to meet federal mandates, pertaining to safety and pilot training.

Those mandates entailed pilot training programs and qualifications that were required to conduct medical flights for a fee, according to the FAA. Every similar program in the country must meet the same requirements.

Wilson said that he “self-reported” the violations to the FAA late Friday afternoon. That reporting occurred about 30 minutes after FAA officials told the News-Press they had not heard from county officials and they planned to investigate the matter.

Wilson did not return calls for comment Saturday.

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