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OKC ambulance service dispute spills over into court

An EMSA ambulance  in Oklahoma City. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
An EMSA ambulance in Oklahoma City. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's ambulance service, EMSA, filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking more than $16 million it claims is owed by the contractor that hires its paramedics.

No interruption in ambulance service was expected.

EMSA is a public trust providing emergency medical care in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.

According to a written statement announcing the lawsuit, EMSA has contracted since 2013 with American Medical Response Inc. to staff its ambulances.

Under the contract, AMR agrees to a 10% cap on profits, EMSA's statement said. EMSA contends AMR has failed to return proceeds beyond the cap.

"While we regret having to take legal action against AMR, we must act in the best interest of the Oklahomans we serve, which includes being fiscally responsible with patient and taxpayer dollars," said Wiley Williams, EMSA's board chairman and a deputy city attorney with the city of Oklahoma City.

"EMSA’s No. 1 priority remains to provide the highest quality emergency medical care possible," he said.

EMSA's statement said funds in excess of AMR's profit cap are intended for ambulances and medical equipment, and to keep costs for taxpayers down.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in Tulsa, said an EMSA spokeswoman, Debbie Schramm.

EMSA's formal name is Emergency Medical Services Authority.

It serves about 750,000 residents of Oklahoma City and surrounding communities, including Edmond and Mustang.

William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›

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