TULSA, Okla. — An emergency medical care provider in Oklahoma has authorized a $300,000 payment to settle a federal kickback lawsuit.

A lawsuit filed in January 2017 alleged that the Emergency Medical Services received $20 million in kickbacks from a former Texas contractor.

The EMSA Board of Trustees unanimously approved the settlement during a special meeting Monday, the Tulsa World reported.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said in a news release that the settlement is important to avoid disruption to ambulance services.

“Prolonging the litigation would inevitably incur more expense for the state and EMSA and could have life or death ramifications for individuals who find themselves needing emergency transport,” Hunter said.

Federal officials said in court filings last week that a settlement had been reached in principle with EMSA and its former president and CEO, Stephen Williamson.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown, whose Eastern District of Texas office brought the lawsuit, declined to comment to the newspaper on the settlement.

EMSA Trust Chairwoman Jan Slater said pretrial filings contain “clear evidence” that there never was any fraud.

“We’d love to go to trial. The case was just that strong, but it just made more sense for us to stop bleeding expenses,” Slater said.

The agency spent over $4 million in attorney fees in the case.

“Our decision was if we can come to a settlement for less than what it would cost to go to trial, we are meeting our fiduciary duty to our beneficiaries in order to settle for as little as possible,” Slater said.


Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com