By JOSH JAMES
A program meant to provide non-emergency care to Lexington citizens while cutting down on the number of ambulance runs will stay on track into 2020. The Community Paramedicine Program had been in line for funding cuts as the city tightens its belt.
The program – which will now receive part of its financial backing through the city’s main hospitals – provides home visits to help residents with things like scheduling doctor appointments, checking blood sugar, and making sense of an often confusing healthcare system.
“A lot of these things can be navigated in another direction versus calling 911 and tying up an emergency vehicle for something that’s truly not an emergency,” says Lexington Fire Chief Kristin Chilton. “We’ve seen a decrease in the amount of runs, plus we kind of put a stop on increases that we had been having for the last several years.”
Prior to the introduction of the program in 2017, EMS runs had been on the rise by 8-9 percent a year as more citizens were increasing their reliance on 911 services.
The city had only found enough funding to cover six months of the paramedicine program in 2020, but UK HealthCare, St. Joseph, and Baptist Health Lexington will be covering the other half – around $200,000.