LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two days after saying there wasn’t enough in the city budget to continue the program, Mayor Linda Gorton now says the city will keep its Community Paramedicine program, at least until the end of the year.
“When I presented my proposed budget to the Urban County Council on Tuesday I thought we could not fit Community Paramedicine into our tight budget,” Gorton said in a statement. “But we’ve found a way to keep it open through the end of the year, and that will give me time to work with our health care community to see if we can find co-sponsors for the program.”
Gorton says keeping the program open until the end of the year will give the city time to develop community partnerships to help support the program long-term.
“It is an outstanding program. As a registered nurse, I understand how important it is,” Gorton told the council on Tuesday. “But it has been grant funded. It costs $637,000 a year and of that, $500,000 is a recurring personnel cost.”
The Community Paramedicine program started in 2017 and continued through 2018 funded by a grant.
The program is designed to help those people who call 9-1-1 frequently for help with chronic, non-emergency problems, like mobility.
Community Paramedicine works to get at the root of those problems and find permanent solutions, according to the city.
It says since the Community Paramedicine program started, emergency run volume dropped by 2.5%, giving the city’s 12 ambulances more time to respond to true emergencies.