Stillwater News Press

Government

May 18, 2012

LifeNet ambulance reports numbers from first year serving Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — The LifeNet ambulance service hit its one-year anniversary in Stillwater at the start of this month.

LifeNet Operations Manager Kelly McCauley told Western Payne County Ambulance Trust Authority board members the year hasn’t been without its challenges.

“There has been a much larger volume than expected,” McCauley said.

LifeNet was selected by the ambulance trust authority to provide ambulance service to Stillwater and the surrounding area after the city of Stillwater looked to curb rising costs from having the Stillwater Fire Department provide emergency transport services.

“This is really a big day for all of us,” board member Rex Horning said.

From May 2011 through April 2012, LifeNet dispatched an ambulance 5,632 times and made 4,252 transports. That comes out to 11.6 transports daily.

According to available data, Stillwater accounted for 84 percent of calls, unincorporated rural areas of Payne County had 7 percent of calls, Perkins accounted for 6.5 percent and Coyle, Glencoe, Ingalls, Orlando, Ripley and Yale combined for 2.5 percent of calls.

During the first year, the average ambulance trip bill was $1,049.

One thing the ambulance service has after its first year is data. The highest call volumes came during the months of August, September and October. Oklahoma State University is expected to gain roughly 800 more students next year, but McCauley said he didn’t think it would affect ambulance runs too much because young and usually healthier students don’t make up a large percentage of ambulance calls.

Ambulance response times — for the most part — have dropped and stabilized over the course of the year. Urban emergency calls, which are from within Stillwater, started in spring 2011 above 5 minutes. The average response time for those calls has been below 5 minutes for the past four months, and the average time in April was 4 minutes 18 seconds.

Average response time for urban immediate calls, which are for non-life-threatening issues, has remained fairly steady in the 7-minute range since LifeNet started.

The service has had more of an issue with rural calls — those outside Stillwater city limits. Response times were on mark when the service started in spring, but the average rural response times rose in fall 2011 as call volumes increased.

In early 2012, LifeNet completed its third station, south of the Highway 177 and Highway 51 intersection, which officials hoped would allow ambulances to go south and east of Stillwater faster.

Average response times have been lower in rural areas in 2012. The average response time in April was 10 minutes 53 seconds  for emergency calls and 13 minutes 47 seconds for immediate calls. Call volume over that period has been lower than it was during the fall months, but the response time compliance rate has increased.

 

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