Kevin Paslay, chairman of the Osage County Board of Commissioners, said Monday that Samaritan EMS is not interested in renewing for 2018-19 its contract to serve the Barnsdall-Avant area.
Samaritan is under contract for Barnsdall-Avant through June, but not beyond. Paslay said the company has also expressed a desire to be released from the last month of the contract.
That didn’t sit well with District 3 Commissioner Darren McKinney.
“As far as I’m concerned, Samaritan signed a contract,” McKinney said. “They will fulfill it.”
He said that he thought he spoke for the commissioners as a group on that point. The county board took no action Monday that would indicate any intention of releasing Samaritan from its contract.
The board did, however, hear from the owner of an EMS company that would like to take Samaritan’s place in Barnsdall and Avant.
Matt Miller, owner of Miller EMS, which is based in Medford, was on-hand Monday in Pawhuska to tell the commissioners he would like to add Barnsdall and Avant to the work his company already does in Osage County, in the Fairfax area.
Miller said he has reviewed service-load statistics and financial figures for the business Samaritan is doing in the Barnsdall-Avant area, and thinks his company could provide 24-7 emergency care for the same amount of money, beginning July 1.
McKinney said he’s pretty sure the right to succeed Samaritan in the Barnsdall-Avant service area is something that will have to be put out for bids.
Miller and the commissioners agreed that things are already “down to the wire” in terms of the timeline for addressing administrative and legal details involved with a service-provider transition. Hiring of personnel is another issue, and Miller said his company typically tries to give personnel who have been working for a previous provider the right of first refusal when it comes to filling positions when his company takes over an area.
Still, those personnel have to go through an application and interview process, Miller said. He clarified for the Osage commissioners that the transition would be too fast if Samaritan left at the end of May and his company had to immediately take over.
County Clerk Shelia Bellamy indicated there are also decisions about an EMS provider transition that will have to be addressed by Barnsdall municipal officials.
Miller said his company has 12 ambulances at bases across the state. His company works out of Fairfax and Owasso, he said. The company’s website says it also has bases in Medford, Cashion and Crescent.