Transport Questions
Who owns EMSA?
EMSA is a public trust authority of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City municipal governments. A Trust is a legal entity separate from and created by a municipality to serve a particular public benefit – in EMSA’s case, Emergency Medical Services.
How many ambulances does EMSA own?
EMSA has *** ambulances in its system (** stationed in the Oklahoma City area and ** are located in the Tulsa area).
Why do I see EMSA ambulances parked at several locations around town?
EMSA uses system status management to position ambulances at strategic locations to better respond to emergencies. If you see an ambulance parked at a location such as a convenience store in the morning, chances are you won’t see that same ambulance in the same location later in the day. Crews respond to emergencies and are rotated to new posts continuously throughout the day and night using historical data that helps us best anticipate where our next call will be.
What is the most common type of medical emergency?
Emergencies range in type and severity and can happen to anyone. Our most common chief complaint for a patient when responding to a medical emergency is “sick person,” meaning the person is ill and does not know exactly why they are not feeling well.
How fast is EMSA required to respond?
In Oklahoma City and Tulsa, EMSA is required to respond to Priority 1 calls within 10 minutes and 59 seconds 90 percent of the time. For Priority 2 calls, EMSA is required to respond within 24 minutes and 59 seconds 90 percent of the time.

Priority 1 calls are critical situations, such as heart attacks, strokes, drownings and traumatic motor vehicle collisions.

Priority 2 calls are non-life-threatening situations such as falls, broken limbs and minor injury motor vehicle collisions.

For the suburbs of the metro areas, EMSA must respond to Priority 1 calls within 11 minutes and 59 seconds 90 percent of the time, and 24 minutes and 59 seconds 90 percent of the time for Priority 2 calls.

The Tulsa-area suburbs include Jenks and Sand Springs. The Oklahoma City-area suburbs include Lake Aluma, Nichols Hills, The Village, Valley Brook, and Arcadia.

When I call for an ambulance, why does the fire department come too?
Firefighters serve as first responders on some emergency calls in the EMSA service area. Though EMSA ambulances can arrive on the scene of emergencies before or at the same time as the fire engine, firefighters provide valuable assistance during the first few minutes – hence the name first responders. Firefighters help by extricating patients from vehicle collisions and burning buildings, managing hazardous materials and assisting EMSA paramedics with lifting and other tasks.
How is EMSA funded?
About 85 percent of EMSA’s operating budget comes from patient billing revenues. The rest is covered primarily through EMSA’s EMSAcare subscription program via Rate Stabilization Funds in the City of Tulsa and City of Oklahoma City. Membership fees come from subscribers who enroll in the program directly with EMSA or indirectly through a monthly EMSAcare fee placed on their city utility/water bill.

EMSA receives no general fund tax dollars from the cities of Oklahoma City or Tulsa. However, a few cities which EMSA serves still choose to provide funds through general fund tax dollars.

Due to inadequate reimbursement by Medicare and the cost of providing services to uninsured patients, most ambulance providers are unable to operate on patient billing revenues alone. But, EMSA’s EMSAcare program fills the gap, providing an affordable, stable funding mechanism for citizens while minimizing or eliminating general fund tax subsidies.

How does EMSA set its rates?
EMSA’s Emergency and Non-emergency transport rates are set by the EMSA Board of Trustees and require approval by the Oklahoma City and Tulsa City Councils.
What are EMSA rates?

In accordance with the Oklahoma Statutes as Section 1-725.1 of Title 63, EMSA shall make available to the public, in a single document, either electronically or by posting conspicuously on the provider’s website if one exists, their health care prices.

Health care price means the cash price that EMSA will charge a patient for health care services that will be rendered.

HCPC is Healthcare Common Procedural Coding referenced below.

HCPC Code HCPC Description Health Care Price
A0425 Mileage $19.00 Per Mile
A0426 Advance Life Support Non-Emergency $900.00
A0427 Advance Life Support Emergency $1,300.00
A0428 Basic Life Support Non-Emergency $900.00
A0429 Basic Life Support Emergency $1,300.00
A0433 Advance Life Support Level 2 $1,300.00
A0434 Specialty Care Transport $1,300.00
How many miles does an EMSA ambulance drive in a year?
The average EMSA ambulance covers more than 50,000 miles each year. All of EMSA’s ambulances combined travel nearly 3,000,000 miles each year.
What should I do when I see an ambulance driving with its emergency lights activated?

According to Oklahoma law, when an emergency vehicle activates its lights and sirens, drivers are to yield by pulling to the right and stopping until the emergency vehicle passes. The emergency unit is then able to travel with lights and sirens unimpeded in the left lane. All traffic is to yield, regardless of the ambulance’s direction of travel. The only exception is if you are on a highway divided by a median and see an ambulance coming from the opposite direction.

Why is the ambulance driving so slowly?
Oftentimes when the ambulance is driving slowly it means the EMSA Paramedic is in the patient compartment providing patient care while the EMT is driving to the hospital. Driving too fast can be detrimental to the patient and the crew.
Why do some patients get taken to the hospital with lights and sirens and others not?
Depending on the severity of the patient’s illness or injury, the patient is not always taken back to the hospital with the lights and sirens activated. No patient is “more important” than another but some are more critical than others and need to get to the emergency room as quickly as possible.

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