The chief executive officer of Samaritan EMS told the Pawhuska Journal-Capital in an email Wednesday night, and again by telephone Thursday morning, May 31, that his company will remain in place to provide ambulance service for the Barnsdall-Avant area until mid-day July 1.
Osage County commissioners had voiced concern in a meeting Tuesday about a written notice from Samaritan that it would be terminating its contract as of 8 a.m. June 30. Commissioners were not expecting to have a new ambulance service in place until July 1, and were uncertain if they would be facing a possible gap in service from 8 a.m. June 30 until 12:01 a.m. July 1.
“We intend to continue service through noon of July 1 to assure a smooth transition to the new service provider,” Samaritan CEO Randall Herrin said in an email Wednesday night. He said the written notice the company had given of its intent to terminate service as of 8 a.m. June 30 had been the result of a misunderstanding or miscommunication regarding the terms of its contract.
“We’re happy and, of course, want to stay until the contract is up,” Herrin said by telephone Thursday morning. He said Samaritan’s decision to leave the Barnsdall/Avant area at the end of its contract with Osage County is the result of financial losses while serving the area.
“We lose several thousand dollars a month serving that contract,” Herrin said. Despite a subsidy from Osage County, the total revenue Samaritan receives for its work in Barnsdall/Avant “does not come near meeting our costs,” Herrin said.
Herrin said Samaritan notified Osage County leadership Wednesday that it will ensure a smooth transition.
The Journal-Capital checked Thursday morning with District 1 Commissioner Jerry Howerton, to see what he had been told about Samaritan’s status.
Howerton said he had received word second-hand on Wednesday that Samaritan would stay in place to prevent any gap in ambulance service for Barnsdall and Avant.
Osage County commissioners are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Friday, June 1, to talk about any ambulance service proposals they may have received for Barnsdall and Avant.
It is anticipated that Miller EMS, based in Medford will submit a proposal. Matt Miller recently told Osage County commissioners he would like to have the Barnsdall/Avant business. His company already serves the Fairfax area.