The Western Payne County Ambulance Trust Authority and LifeNet EMS have announced a plan to open a new ambulance station on State Highway 33 just west of Perkins.
Perkins City Manager Bob Ernst said establishing a station in Perkins has been talked about for years and the community is very happy to have a unit so close.
The building at 715 W. 116th St. is currently being remodeled but the plan is to move in by Dec. 1, LifeNet’s general manager for Stillwater Kelly McCauley said.
The ambulance service has signed a five-year lease on the building with the opportunity to extend.
The new station will house one ambulance providing advanced life support level of care 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The goal is to have the unit in Perkins as much as possible but it could still be pulled into Stillwater, where 80% of LifeNet’s calls occur, during times of peak demand, McCauley said.
The new station will serve Perkins and provide an operating base for the rural area extending north to Ingalls and to the western edge of Payne County.
“It really is a broader reach,” McCauley said.
LifeNet has at times struggled to meet the rural response time standards that are built into its contract with WPCATA.
The contract requires LifeNet to respond to emergency calls in less than nine minutes within the Stillwater city limits and less than 16 minutes in rural areas, at least 90% of the time.
LifeNet’s last report to WPCATA showed the company exceeded that standard by meeting its goal for urban response 97% of the time in August and 98% of the time in September.
The ambulance service met its goal for rural calls 94.9% of the time in August but fell just short, at 88%, in September.
LifeNet’s average response time for rural emergency calls over the past 12 months is 10:49, McCauley said.
McCauley expects the new station to shorten rural response times, especially in the southern half of the county.
“One can only expect that an ambulance responding from our new Perkins post would arrive much faster than a unit coming from Stillwater,” he wrote.
LifeNet has contracted with WPCATA since 2011 to provide ambulance service for the western two-thirds of Payne County. The ambulance service responds to calls in areas served by the Coyle, Glencoe, Ingalls, Orlando, Perkins, Ripley and Stillwater fire departments, as well as some calls in Lincoln, Logan and Noble counties.
Its ambulances have been dispatched an average of 662 times per month over the past 12 months.
LifeNet transported a total of 6,115 patients in the fiscal year ending June 30, according to reports provided by the company.
That represents a significant increase from the 4,255 patients transported in fiscal year 2012, its first year operating in Payne County, McCauley said.
LifeNet offers memberships that guarantee the company will accept whatever insurance provides as payment in full or give a 40% discount if the claim is denied or the patient doesn’t have insurance.
Utility customers in Stillwater, Perkins and Glencoe and customers of Central Electric Cooperative can add the $5 monthly membership fee to their electric bills.