CLARKSVILLE, IN (August 9, 2023) – The Clarksville Fire Department is getting some additional assistance in launching a new program aimed at alleviating overcrowding in local emergency rooms and improving response times for ambulances. The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) recently notified Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs that his department was awarded a grant of $180,000 for the new Paramedicine program.
Earlier this year, the Clarksville Fire Department was awarded a $315,000 grant to start the new Paramedicine program, which would be the first of its kind in Southern Indiana. Working with Clark Memorial Hospital and LifeSpring Health Systems, the CFD will create a database of patients with approved treatment plans. The patients could be dealing with health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, respiratory issues, or postpartum concerns. Using the grant funds, the CFD will hire part-time nurses or paramedics to schedule short, in-home appointments with these patients to provide care, change dressings, and other related medical needs.
“We will make sure they are sticking to their treatment plans, taking their medication properly, and following up on appointments with their primary care doctor,” said Chief Skaggs.
The hope is that these scheduled visits will help keep patients on their treatment plans, which will then help prevent them from having to call 9-1-1 or going to the emergency room. Skaggs says Southern Indiana is dealing with overcrowding in hospital emergency rooms and that many people are using ambulance services for low acuity, or non-emergency runs.
Skaggs says his first grant proposal to the Indiana Department of Health was for $400,000, but the department ended up receiving an award of $315,000. He says this additional grant of $180,000 is from the Health Innovation Partnerships and Programs division of the IDOH, a different source from the original grant.
“Although we could have made the program work with the original grant, this additional funding will serve as a valuable resource for helping to get the new Paramedicine program up and running,” said Chief Skaggs. “These funds will allow us to purchase additional medical equipment and hire additional program staff to serve the community.”
The in-home visits provided by the Paramedicine program will be free, but the CFD will not cover expenses such as medications or other needed medical items. Those will be the responsibility of the patient. Chief Skaggs says the grant funds will be in place through 2026, and should cover things such as equipment, a vehicle, and salaries for the part-time paramedicine staff. If the program is a success, Chief Skaggs says his department will look for additional grant funding opportunities to keep the program going.