Walters changes their ambulance service - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walters changes their ambulance service

WALTERS, Okla._For the second time in three years, Cotton County will have a different ambulance service provider.

The county's volunteer ambulance crew was shut down in 2010 after county commissioners cut off their funding. In 2012, the county reached a deal with a for-profit company, Samaritan, and renewed that contract last summer for one more year. At the time, county officials were concerned that they wouldn't be able to cover the rising cost of that contract which grew from $10,000 a month to the current rate of $13,000 a month. Wednesday night, Cotton County reached a new deal with Comanche County Memorial Hospital at a much lower rate.

Even though the service may be the same, it came down to one important factor between the two bidding companies…money.

"Samaritan was $13,000. Comanche memorial was 8,000."

It's a one-year contract where Comanche County Memorial Hospital takes over on July 1. Cotton County is going to receive one ambulance and with that one ambulance they are going to get one EMT and one paramedic. Since it's the same service, some worry that one ambulance isn't enough...even though Samaritan also used only one. Hospital officials reassured everyone saying they will be taken care of.

"For that area, that is what they are accustomed to. The call volume, meaning the number of calls you might run a day, that's about all that is required to cover that area," explained EMS Manager Richie Bohach.

And just because it's CCMH's ambulance doesn't mean you have to go to their hospital.

"They will still have a choice. They can go to Southwestern Hospital, Wichita Falls, Texas, and Comanche County Memorial but of course it depends on the situation," said Leta Coats, vice-chairman of the Cotton County ambulance board.

For right now, the ambulance is going to be housed at the Walters Fire Department. It's only temporary until Comanche County Memorial Hospital finds a spot in Walters to build a substation.

Others wonder what will happen if that ambulance has to respond to an emergency outside of the county.

"There will be times when the ambulance is out of service and they will have back up coverage. But the goal, in the event something else happens or occurs in that area, we respond an ambulance from here now or from Kirks, our other provider for this area, will send an ambulance down there," said Coats.

Although Cotton County officials are thankful for the service Samaritan provided, they are looking forward to the next year, and maybe more, with Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

"We have a nursing home in Temple, Oklahoma that would need our services, we have elderly people, we have a lot of rural people so providing an ambulance service is very important to our county," said Coats.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital also runs two other ambulance substations in Cache and in Elgin.


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