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EMS to stop making "free house calls"

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Excessive abuse leads to frustration for county EMS; county receives state road rebate

By Jimmie Earls

Washington County EMS is tired of making free house calls with the cost going to county taxpayers. Director Mark Hale said at a Washington County Fiscal Court meeting on Monday that something needs to be done.

“Too many people are abusing the system,” said Hale. “We get some calls where people just want us to pick somebody up off the floor.”

Effective immediately, after two courtesy calls for medical assistance, the patient will be charged $100 for each trip thereafter if no transport is needed.

“I checked with other counties and some do not even offer a courtesy call the first time,” said Washington County Judge Executive John A. Settles.

Each courtesy call will be followed up by a letter to the patient informing them of their status.

In other business:

• The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is sending Washington County a check for $43,610 that will be added to the county’s road fund. This one-time payment is meant to provide some help after Kentucky counties budgeted for road work but the state did not provide as much money as the counties budgeted.

According to Settles, Washington County budgeted $230,000 for road work, but the funding from the state was short by $63,330.

“That makes a real hardship when you expect that money but its not coming in,” said Settles. “I told each magistrate to look for ways to cut back, but now those cuts won’t be as bad as first thought.”

• The court agreed to promote Washington County EMT Corinne Barnett to full-time employee. Barnett, a graduate of St. Catharine College, has been working part-time with the service for two years. Her full-time status takes effect Nov. 17.

• The court agreed to put up approximately 125 feet of guardrail along Carrico Lane.

• The court announced that the Christmas Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 6

The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Nov. 24 at 9 a.m.