EMSA Contract Decision Due

Monday, October 9th 2006, 10:41 am
By: News On 6

The City of Tulsa faces a decision soon on whether EMSA should continue providing ambulance service. A decision has to be made by the end of the month.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it is a routine review that comes up every five years. This time, instead of letting EMSA's contract renew automatically, the city is considering another option, choosing the Tulsa Fire Department instead of EMSA to provide the city's ambulance service.

It's not the kind of work that just any organization can do, and that's why EMSA and the Tulsa Fire Department are the only contenders for the job.

EMSA believes it's doing a good job now and wants to keep the contract. EMSA spokesperson Tina Wells: "EMSA provides an unparalleled level of financial accountability for the city, we are a value for the citizens we serve."

EMSA gets good marks for response times, quality of care and containing the spiraling costs of providing health care - especially when so many patients don't pay full price. But the city administration wants to know if the fire department could do as well, or better.

City of Tulsa spokesperson Kim MacLeod: “the fire department has asked the mayor to review some financial information from the department so she is looking at some costs efficiencies there, as well as at EMSA, just to compare the two.”

It's a shift from five years ago when EMSA's five-year contract was renewed automatically. Tina Wells: "this year we've had a number of inquiries from city staff wanting to know financial data, response times, things of that nature."

If the city decided to cancel its deal with EMSA, it would be a complicated and expensive changeover. That might be enough incentive alone to make EMSA the better choice, but the first time in 10 years, the Tulsa Fire Department is on the table as an option to be the ambulance provider for Tulsa.