Yukon ambulance provider requests rate hike

Call volume up 60% in two years; higher operational costs cited

Pafford EMS (previously Samaritan) has been Yukon’s ambulance provider for the last eight years. (Photo courtesy El Reno Tribune)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Citing rising operational costs and increasing call volumes, officials with Yukon’s ambulance provider are seeking a $2 monthly rate increase.

Pafford Medical Services (previously Samaritan) has operated the City of Yukon’s ambulance service for seven years. Its current ambulance service agreement is due to expire Aug. 29.

Clay Hobbs

Chief Operating Officer Clay Hobbs and Chief Development Officer Jason Likens, in a presentation at the July 6th Yukon City Council work session, requested raising the subscription surcharge from $3.65 to $5.65 for Yukon residents who “opt in” on their monthly utility bills.

Likens told Yukon city officials that a similar rate increase will be proposed for other nearby cities that Pafford EMS serves – El Reno, Warr Acres, Bethany, and Mustang.

About 6,500 Yukon households subscribe to Pafford’s ambulance service with nearly 2,500 others having opted out.

Pafford EMS now operates two ambulances 24/7 and a dedicated staff based at the former Yukon Fire Station #2 on S Ranchwood. The company has invested $111,000 to make renovations to the building.

Pafford witnessed a 60% call increase in Yukon from the second quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of ’23. This has resulted in an average of two more responses per day:

  • Q2 ‘21 – 922 responses
  • Q3 ‘21 – 1,052 responses
  • Q4 ‘21 – 1,011 responses
  • Q1 ‘22 – 991 responses
  • Q2 ‘22 – 1,006 responses
  • Q3 ‘22 – 1,265 responses
  • Q4 ‘22 – 1,503 responses
  • Q1 ‘23 – 1,479 responses

The increased call volume is partially due to the fall ‘22 opening of OU Medical Center’s new “micro-hospital” on Czech Hall Road just south of Yukon city limits.

Pafford’s average ambulance response times have been 7:20 over the past two years and about 6:30 during the last few months, Hobbs pointed out.

“We have very good response times to 911 calls in the city,” he said.

To maintain low response times, Pafford is asking to change language in its Yukon ambulance contract to increase “unit hours” from 48 to 60 per day.

This would allow Pafford to have a third ambulance in Yukon for 12 hours each day during peak call volume – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We will soon need to add a third ambulance to keep up with demand,” Hobbs explained.



Ambulance services across the U.S. have had to increase rates because of rising costs, Likens emphasized.

Hobbs described these increases to Pafford’s operational expenditures since 2018:

  • 35% for labor
  • 45% for non-durable medical goods
  • 30% for durable medical goods
  • 46% for ambulances

These are costs that the “entire industry” is experiencing, Hobbs noted.

Pafford is working with many of its communities to increase subsidies that would offset these increased costs.

Shelli Selby

Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said Pafford’s monthly subscription fee is “such a low cost” for anyone who needs its service.

An ambulance ride is “so expensive,” she noted.

“I can’t imagine opting out,” Selby said.

Yukon Fire Chief Shawn Vogt referred to his department’s positive relationship with Pafford EMS.

“We’ve worked well together and train together,” Vogt told city council members.

Response times were 20 to 30 minutes when EMSA contracted to provide Yukon’s ambulance service, the fire chief pointed out.

“Pafford is compliant 95% of the time,” said Vogt, referring to contractual response time requirements.

Pafford EMS has provided pre-hospital healthcare since 1967, now operating in four states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Pafford’s fleet features 280 advanced life support (ALS)-equipped ground ambulances, five helicopters and three aeromedical fixed wing aircraft.

The company has more than 1,800 team members, most of whom deliver patient care on the front lines.

In their July 6th presentation to Yukon city officials, Hobbs and Likens shared their desire to maintain a long-lasting relationship with the citizens of Yukon.

They explained Pafford EMS will continue to work “hand-in-hand” with the City of Yukon Fire Department and city council to provide an ambulance service “that the community can be proud of.”