Midwest City-based Victory EMS, the only emergency medical service for a sparsely populated part of western Osage County, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Victory serves the towns of Fairfax and Gray Horse in Osage County, as well as Ralston, just across the Arkansas River in neighboring Pawnee County. The company staffs the mostly rural area with a lone ambulance that covers 900 square miles of territory. Victory also provides transfers between facilities in the metro area.
The company filed for bankruptcy Feb. 10, reporting less than $50,000 in assets and between $100,000 and $500,000 in debts. Victory remains in business and is responding to calls, but needs time to reorganize as it works with its creditors, said Joe Weaver, a manager for Victory.
“It’s just a slowdown in the collections. The bankruptcy is just to give us a few minutes to reorganize how things are collected and how things get paid,” Weaver said.
The company is based in a gray corrugated metal building inside a mostly vacant Midwest City office park. A single ambulance was parked outside the building Friday afternoon.
The Osage County town of Fairfax, which has a population of about 1,300 people, contracts with Victory EMS for emergency services. The town pays $7,000 a month to Victory to provide ambulance services. Funding for the service comes from a portion of the town’s sales tax revenue.
Fairfax depends on the emergency services provided by Victory to serve a nursing home in the town, as well as the 15-bed Fairfax Community Hospital, Town Clerk Raeann Smith said. Without Victory, Fairfax would have to rely on ambulance service from the Ponca City area, about 30 miles away, Smith said.
“We have to have ambulance service for this part of the state because there is no other service in this area. I’m hoping this is a just a temporary problem,” Smith said.
A pay emergency?
In January 2013, Fairfax paid $6,000 to cover part of Victory EMS’s insurance premiums when the company was short on cash. Fairfax agreed to cover the insurance costs in exchange for a $1,000 reduction in its monthly payments to Victory over six months, according to a report from a local newspaper on the payment.
“They can’t make enough money, but we have to have them here,” Smith said.
It’s just a slowdown in the collections. The bankruptcy is just to give us a few minutes to reorganize how things are collected and how things get paid.”
A manager for Victory EMS