October 28, 2020 — The Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) Board of Trustees voted today to terminate the contract with American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR) effective Nov. 30, 2020, as a result of multiple contractual defaults by AMR. The Board also approved that effective Dec. 1, 2020, EMSA will directly provide the in-field and dispatch services currently provided by AMR. The contractual defaults by AMR include failure to comply with the response time requirements; failure to meet the non-discrimination requirements; failure to provide documentation to EMSA for purposes of billing; failure to pay amounts due and owing to EMSA under the contract through its failure to honor the gain sharing provision; and failure to ensure that its workforce was licensed as required.
On Sept. 29, in response to EMSA’s notice of default dated Sept. 22, 2020, and the ongoing litigation regarding AMR’s breach of contract and refusal to pay more than $16 million it owes as part of the contractual obligations, AMR notified EMSA that it was seeking to terminate the contract, effective Jan. 31, 2021. AMR unilaterally decided to walk away from the EMSA system, which was a further event of default under the contract between EMSA and AMR.
“EMSA’s top priority is to provide the highest quality emergency medical care possible, and I want to emphasize that there will be no interruption to EMSA’s services,” said Wiley Williams, Chairman of the EMSA Board. “The Board is confident that the decision to terminate the contract with AMR is in the best interest of those EMSA serves, who deserve an emergency service provider that operates to provide the level of performance. EMSA is committed to ensuring those standards are met as part of our public utility model to ensure care for the people we serve.”
The Board also authorized EMSA’s CFO to draw upon the line of credit with Prosperity Bank to cover immediate and necessary costs related to EMSA taking over the provision of in-field and dispatch services directly.
“EMSA’s leadership, including CEO Jim Winham and Chief of Staff John Graham, has extensive experience leading emergency service provider operations and transitions such as this. We are confident in their ability to successfully transition and enhance our services,” said Williams. “As EMSA takes over the provider services, we are committed to increasing the number of medics in the field, better response times, and generally enhanced services.”
EMSA will also take over the EMS academy, which gives paramedics and EMTs the training and education needed to succeed in a high-performance system. EMSA will also recruit and encourage current AMR team members to join EMSA in continuing to provide high-quality emergency care.
EMSA, Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care, is a public trust which was established to provide ambulance services to the cities of Tulsa, Oklahoma City and other cities within the regulated service area. EMSA holds the ambulance license with the state of Oklahoma. EMSA owns or leases the capital assets, including ambulances, equipment and other infrastructure, and collects revenues, and has contracted with AMR since 2013 to provide the ambulance services, including staffing for those services.
EMSA services will continue as usual, and EMSA will, in accordance with the Trust Indenture, seek to identify a new provider, while maintaining its number one priority to ensure EMSA is providing the highest quality emergency medical care possible to the Oklahomans it serves.