AMR accuses Okla. EMSA of orchestrating ambulance takeover
The conflict stems from a legal battle over $16 million in disputed payments
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) will take over ambulance operations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa from its contractor, American Medical Response, amid a legal battle over $16 million in disputed payments.
The EMSA board voted Wednesday to terminate its contract with AMR effective Nov. 30. The five-year agreement had about three years to run.
"Over the past few years, EMSA has clearly orchestrated a plan to take over the emergency services system," AMR west group president Thomas Wagner said in a written statement. He said EMSA had "created a false narrative regarding AMR's services."
EMSA is a public trust serving about 750,000 residents of Oklahoma City and surrounding communities, including Edmond and Mustang, and 1.1 million overall. AMR contracted to provide personnel including paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
Both sides in the dispute vowed to make patient safety their top priority in the transition.
The EMSA board approved borrowing authority of up to $2 million to cover transition expenses.
EMSA had filed a lawsuit in September seeking more than $16 million it claimed was owed by AMR. In a Sept. 22 letter, EMSA President Jim Winham had cited six instances in which he said AMR was in default of its contract.
EMSA board Chairman Wiley Williams said Wednesday evening that AMR had "failed to remedy breaches of the contract."
In his letter, Winham had written that that "AMR hit a surprising low" in August, arriving in a timely way at Priority 1 calls, the most serious emergencies, only 76% of the time, despite promises to meet response time requirements and maintain staffing.
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