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Broken Arrow to Stop Waiving Ambulance Fees

KWGS News File Photo

Broken Arrow residents will soon be on the hook for ambulance fees not covered by their health insurers.

"Let's say an insurance provider paid $600 on a $1,200 ambulance bill," said city spokeswoman Krista Flasch. "In the past, we would have waived the remaining balance of $600 for residents, but with this new change, residents will now be required to pay the balance."

The change was unanimously approved by city councilors and goes into effect Nov. 6. Flasch said Broken Arrow needed to do something because its emergency medical services division is losing money.

"It's not sustainable to keep providing services at a loss when it costs the city $4 million to run the EMS and we're only bringing in just over $2 million," Flasch said.

Last year, 77 percent of the fire department’s calls were EMS related. The city estimates the ordinance change will bring in more than $300,000 for the rest of fiscal year 2015.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.