TULSA, Okla. – The Emergency Medical Services Authority filed a motion in Tulsa County district court today to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging it has wrongly charged patients who were enrolled in the City of Tulsa’s utility fee TotalCare program.
The motion to dismiss is based on factual accounts of the individual cases which show the plaintiffs’ allegations to not be as they claim. The motion also disputes that the plaintiffs constitute a class.
“The facts of these individuals’ cases do not support what they claim,” said Kris Koepsel, attorney for EMSA.
“Four out of the five individuals have not even paid any money to EMSA, so there are plainly no refunds or damages to obtain. Two of these individuals were clearly opted out of the program at the time of their transport and two plaintiffs were transported before the city utility fee program began.”
EMSA also disputes recent news reports, which preceded the lawsuit, that the alleged wrongful billing is widespread.
“Media reports regarding EMSA’s billing process and individual patient accounts have been inaccurate and inflammatory. EMSA has a thorough process which checks each patient account to determine if the patient is opted into the program. We do not place the burden on the patient to identify themselves as a city utility fee member,” said Koepsel.
Since the city of Tulsa utility fee program began, EMSA has completed more than 300,000 patient transports in the Tulsa area. Less than 1 percent of all patient accounts are sent to small claims court for collection.
The city of Tulsa’s utility fee TotalCare program began in 2007. Residents pay $3.64 a month on their water bill and in return are enrolled in EMSA’s TotalCare program. Members are covered for out-of-pocket costs which insurance does not cover for emergency ambulance transports. Tulsa residents can choose to opt-out of the fee.
EMSA is Oklahoma’s largest provider of pre-hospital emergency medical care. It is ranked in the top 1 percent of ambulance providers across the country for its high-quality patient care and business practices.
EMSA provides service in 17 communities in northeastern and central Oklahoma. The eastern division comprises Tulsa, Sand Springs, Bixby and Jenks and its western division Oklahoma City, Edmond, Bethany, Yukon, Nichols Hills, The Village, Piedmont, Warr Acres, Mustang, Valley Brook, Arcadia and Lake Aluma.