Former EMSA president, H. Stephen Williamson, dies at 68
H. Stephen Williamson, the longtime president and chief executive officer of the public ambulance authority in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and who retired under a cloud last year, died Nov. 3.
Williamson, 68, died at his home in Hope, Arkansas, where he had joined a private emergency medical services company, Pafford EMS, as chief financial officer.
No cause of death was given.
A funeral was scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Parish of Christ the King Catholic Church, 1520 S Rockford Ave. in Tulsa.
Williamson led the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) from offices in Tulsa before his retirement in October 2017.
EMSA serves around 1.1 million customers in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.
Williamson was at the center of a federal lawsuit in which government attorneys alleged payments to EMSA by a contractor, Paramedics Plus, were illegal kickbacks.
Williamson denied wrongdoing but the U.S. Justice Department said in August that he had agreed to pay $80,000 to settle the case.
EMSA earlier revealed it would pay $300,000.
Paramedics Plus, of east Texas, where the case was filed, was to pay $20.6 million, the Justice Department said.
Paramedics Plus contracted to provide drivers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians to EMSA between 1998 and 2013.
EMSA characterized its arrangement with Paramedics Plus as a profit cap.
Wiley Williams, a deputy city attorney with Oklahoma City and a member of the EMSA Board of Trustees, said he was shocked to learn of Williamson's death and "my thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
"During my tenure on the EMSA trust, I only got to work with Steve for a few months, but during that time he was always responsive to questions and concerns raised by the trustees," Williams said.
"Although I think there was reason to be frustrated with some of the decisions he made along the way, I do believe that he cared very much for the patients that were provided emergency services through EMSA," he said.
"He was a progressive when it came to emergency care and was considered an industry leader in moving ambulance service away from a transportation system to a true partner in the area of emergency medicine.
"Many lives have been favorably impacted by the leadership he provided," Williams said. "I was happy for him once the litigation was settled and it looked like things were turning around for him."
EMSA was established in Tulsa in 1977 and began service in Oklahoma City in 1990.
Williamson led EMSA for 39 years.
He previously was administrator of Enid Memorial Hospital.
Survivors include his wife, Rebecca Williamson, two daughters, three stepdaughters, two stepsons, four grandchildren and four step grandchildren.