Mayor’s budget doesn’t fund program that helps frequent 911 callers

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton says the city can’t pay for a program designed to cut down on 911 calls by helping frequent callers.

The Community Paramedicine program started about a year ago.

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It expanded the city’s emergency medical care by giving frequent 911 callers tools and education.

“It solves the problem at it’s root, it reduces our run volume throughout the year, and reduces the burdens on local hospitals,” says Captain Jessica Bowman with the Lexington Fire Department.

Captain Bowman says the fire department had been seeing about an eight percent increase in EMS runs over the last couple years, but this year, the fire department saw a two percent drop.

“It’s a huge concern for me. I’m a registered nurse. I understand that program,” said Mayor Gorton.

Mayor Gorton says the city can’t pay for it in her proposed budget. She says the program costs around $637,000 a year.

Not being able to fit Community Paramedicine funding into the budget, is a painful decision for Gorton.

“That program was funded for one year with grant funds. With no plan for future funding,” said Gorton.

She says she’s optimistic private donations can save the program.

“We have a lot of community partners who could help fund this. And that is one of the things that’s done in other places. So, it’s very important to me and we’re going to look for other kinds of funding,” says Gorton.