EMSA, contractor dispute reason for delays in answering emergency calls | Local News

More absentee ballot guidance

Have you heard about “naked” ballots after a viral video? Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman said to worry more about completing the affidavit properly than “clothing” your ballots.

“We will most certainly accept ballots that are in the envelope unsealed. It happens frequently. We will even accept ballots that are not enclosed in the white secrecy envelope,” she said in an email to Tulsa World.

“Sometimes people lose the envelope or forget to enclose the ballot in the envelope. These ballots are accepted and counted as long as the affidavit is properly executed.”

The deadline to request a ballot is officially Oct. 27, but waiting that long can put an unnecessary burden on an already-strained U.S. Postal Service. Not to mention probably making local election board officials work a 16-hour day at the deadline to ensure voters will receive their absentee ballots with enough time to complete and mail them back.

The postmark date doesn’t matter: Your absentee ballot has to be at the county election board by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. Some have recommended returning ballots by Oct. 28 to ensure they’ll be processed and received on time.

Read more: Tulsa County Election Board works through historic absentee voting surge ahead of general election

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EMSA, contractor say split will cause no interruption in service | Local News

The public trust that oversees emergency ambulance operations in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and the contractor who provides personnel for it said Friday their split will not affect service in the two cities.

The Emergency Medical Services Authority, the oversight agency, and American Medical Response, which provides paramedics and emergency medical technicians under a contract with EMSA, are at odds over $16 million.

EMSA sued AMR over the money last month; AMR subsequently notified EMSA it plans to terminate their contract no later than Jan. 31 and then countersued.

AMR is asking for the $16 million, which it says EMSA has withheld from payments to the contractor, and for a court decision on whether the contract provision EMSA cites in claiming the $16 million is legal.

Both sides say the dispute and AMR’s decision to terminate the contract should not interfere with emergency medical services. A spokeswoman for the company reiterated on Friday that the company will continue to provide personnel under the terms of the contract until a replacement is found.

EMSA, in a press release late Thursday, said it is authorized to directly hire emergency personnel under such circumstances for up to two years.

Under the current contract, AMR is entitled to its expenses plus 10% of revenue, with anything above that going to EMSA.

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EMSA contractor threatens to terminate contract

A company that contracts to provide paramedics for Oklahoma City’s public ambulance service said Thursday it had served notice of its intent to terminate the contract as soon as Jan. 31, less than halfway through a five-year deal.

The Emergency Medical Services Authority, a public trust, and American Medical Response are wrangling over $16 million EMSA says has accumulated above AMR’s 10% profit cap. AMR questions the legality of the profit cap.

AMR said in a written statement that it filed papers in federal court in Tulsa in response to a lawsuit filed last month by EMSA. AMR asked that the $16 million withheld by EMSA be placed in the control of the court until the lawsuit is resolved.

EMSA provides ambulance service for about 1.1 million residents in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas.

Withholding the money “while we are in the midst of a pandemic” jeopardizes integrity and stability of the emergency transportation system, and patient care, said Tom Wagner, AMR’s group president.

“AMR will continue to provide the same high-quality, life-saving services with its experienced and highly-trained paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Regardless of the lawsuit with EMSA, AMR will not leave these communities without emergency medical services,” Wagner said.

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