County council hears pair of funding requests

Representatives of two organizations that receive funding through Huntington County tax dollars but are not part of county government appeared before the Huntington County Council on Monday evening, March 25, to provide an update on the services they provide to Huntington County residents.

Parkview Huntington Hospital Emergency Medical Service brought a team of presenters, as well as a mannequin lying mute on a hospital stretcher, to the meeting; and the Huntington County office of Purdue Extension was represented by Ed Farris, the office's agriculture and natural resources educator.

The EMS receives an annual $250,000 payment from the county, while Extension was allocated $103,642.88 in county funds for 2013.

Councilman Don Davenriner told the Parkview EMS group that, while he is satisfied that the county's money is being well-spent, he needed to be able to justify to his constituents the continued funding of the service.
That funding, council President John Hacker said, amounts to about $7 a year for each resident of Huntington County.

The Parkview EMS responded to 4,761 calls in 2012, a number that is up about 10 percent from the previous year, said Sonya Foraker, of the Parkview Huntington finance department.

Of those calls, she said, 80 percent were in the Huntington area; 12 percent in the Warren area; and 8 percent in the Roanoke area.

The number one health problem the Parkview EMS responds to is breathing problems, said Carla Gebert, EMS manager. That's followed by heart problems and strokes, with falls and fractures ranking third.

Two medics displayed some of the latest equipment being used on the Parkview ambulances, equipment Gebert says is directly responsible for increasing the number of patients who recover.

The continuity of care afforded by operating a hospital-owned EMS, which allows medics to move into the hospital with their patients, also contributes to a better survival rate, she said.

Parkview medics are teaching a basic EMT class at Huntington North High School, she said, and they are also available to provide CPR training for groups in the community.

Farris said his office is currently conducting enrollment in the 4-H program and is making plans for the annual Ag Day program, which introduces all Huntington County third-graders to the agriculture industry.

Extension's Master Gardeners offer a series of community education programs, he said.

Farris is conducting pesticide applicator training for area farmers and Karen Hinshaw, Extension's health and human sciences educator, is conducting workshops for area residents with limited resources.

In other business, council members approved the expenditure of $120,000 from the county's Public Safety Fund to pay for operating expenses of the combined city-county dispatch system for the last six months of 2013, the initial period of operation for the combined service.