Southern Kiowa Co. towns lose ambulance service

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 6:13 PM CST
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KIOWA COUNTY, Okla. (KSWO) - A few rural towns in Kiowa County are working to provide ambulance services for people who live in the area.

That’s after Jackson County Emergency Medical Service terminated its contract with them.

Nearly 2500 people who live in or outside of Snyder, Roosevelt and Mountain Park no longer have a reliable emergency medical service.

The contract was supposed to go through June 2022, but Jackson County EMS ended it early.

Mayor of Mountain Park Adam Ney said these are a critical part of any community.

In July, Director of Jackson County EMS William Stevens told the mayors of Snyder, Roosevelt and Mountain Park and Kiowa County Commissioners that they would no longer be providing ambulance service to those towns and rural areas outside of it after 5 years.

“They basically said there was no money,” Ney said. “That they did not have the money to do it. It was costing them a lot more than what we were paying and he was even going to have to cut back over at Jackson County.”

Jackson County EMS took over for Kiowa County District 3 Emergency Medical Service in 2016 when the towns could no longer pay employees.

Stevens claimed since that time, the towns breached the contract by not properly maintaining the crew’s workstation and housing the ambulance.

He also said it cost almost $20,000 dollars a month to provide the service, much more than the towns paying with a 1% sales tax could afford.

According to Ney, without any businesses to tax, most of the town’s revenue comes from public utilities.

“We’re a small town,” Ney said. “We don’t have a lot of money, we don’t have any businesses per se and it’s very hard to figure out a way to pay for that without increasing something on our citizens somewhere and that’s something we don’t like to do.”

Now, the mayors are discussing contracting out Survival Flight to do the job.

Ney said this basic necessity is something Mountain Park absolutely cannot go without.

“We’re an aging population, mostly senior citizens, elderly here,” Ney said. “My parents included and it’s very important that we have an ambulance service here. Having them here, minutes away is a lot better than being 30 minutes away.”

Kiowa County Commissioner for District 3 Gary Jennings lives in Snyder.

He said he hopes the proposal works out so the towns can have a more permanent and closer service.

“We’re a small rural community and we need to have a service here just for the people,” Jennings said. “When something happens, we need somebody close by to take care of us.”

They’re trying to get the contract official as quickly as possible because it could take up to 90 days after signing for Survival Flight to get there.

Stevens told 7NEWS on Monday first responders are still going to calls in that area when they can.

Ney says he’s seen them in Mountain Park on calls and appreciates it.

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