STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Citing staffing issues with the city's fire department, Stillwater officials are asking a Stillwater hospital to take over non-emergency ambulance transfers.

City Councilor Hank Moore says 20 % of all ambulance calls are for transfers, such as transporting a patient from a retirement home to Stillwater Medical Center and back.

He says the hospital could improve coordination of the transfers, most of which are scheduled, if it initiated the service.

Presently, such transfers are handled by city firefighters, who often are called in during their time off to take care of them. When the Stillwater Fire Department cannot handle transfers, the hospital must find other ways to do so.

Recently, ambulances have been called in from as far away as Oologah, about 90 miles from Stillwater, to transfer patients.

A proposal has been made for a transfer service at the hospital that would have two ambulances available.