BA Residents Can Opt Into LifeRide Ambulance Service

Monday, August 24th 2015, 6:42 pm
By: News On 6

To help Broken Arrow residents pay for emergency ambulance rides, they are using a new program similar to one Tulsa has.

For about five years, EmsaCare has been, essentially, giving people a free ride to the hospital during emergency medical situations; that's in contrast with the normal $1,500 price tag.

Taking a cue from Tulsa's EmsaCare, Broken Arrow is hoping residents opt into LifeRide.

For someone in an emergency situation, even with so much at stake, opting to call an ambulance versus driving yourself may depend on if you can afford it.

Broken Arrow hopes to eliminate that worry with LifeRide, according to Chief Jeremy Moore with Broken Arrow Fire.

"It is an inexpensive way to pay for a very expensive service," he said.

In June, a citizens task force came together to develop an idea that would offset the cost of medical transportation for Broken Arrow citizens.

As it stands, one ride can cost $1,500, so the task force came up with LifeRide; and in a unanimous vote the city council approved it.

"LifeRide is our emergency services subscription program that will be on the citizen’s utility bill,” Moore said. “It's $5.42 per month, and those who are participating in the program won't have any out-of-pocket expenses if they ride in one of our ambulances," Moore said.

Everyone is automatically enrolled, and payments will be on the water bill. Residents can opt out but have to do so before August 31.

This is the first time for Broken Arrow to implement this type of service, but it's not a new idea - Adam Paluka with EMSA said it's been doing it for years.

"I know we did speak with the folks in Broken Arrow about how our program works, and we gave the some advice," he said. "We're neighbors, that's what we're supposed to do, we're supposed to help each other."

EMSA representatives said the program has been successful.

With the yearly cost of the service around $65 nearly 80 percent of Tulsa's population opted in. Broken Arrow hopes to see the same level of participation or better.

Moore said, "We don't think, and we hope we don't ever have to have an ambulance, but if a person needs an ambulance in the next 20 years, I would say this is an easy way to pay for it."

People living in nursing homes and apartments that aren't opted in have to sign up by themselves. As for people who are already in the program, the deadline to cancel is August 31.