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Interim Study Explores EMS Reform (Sep 20, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma lawmakers and emergency medical service operators are exploring ways to make ambulance services more available and sustainable.

Lawmakers launched a legislative study Thursday to explore ways of improving funding for ambulance services. Rodney Johnson of the Medic Institute says fully funding EMS services statewide would cost up to $40 million.

Lawmakers and ambulance operators say funding and availability varies statewide. Rep. Doug Cox of Grove, an emergency room physician, says some Oklahomans have excellent service but others live 45 minutes away from the nearest ambulance. Cox says supporting ambulance services is a problem because many people don't value EMS services.

Ambulance operators say a variety of methods should be explored to increase the number of ambulances in the state, including regional ambulance operators that serve more than one county.

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