Parkview Huntington Hospital Ambulance Service in Jeopardy

By Nicole Pence

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 31, 2007 at 11:26 PM EDT

Officials at Parkview's Huntington Hospital say there's a "severe need" to fund their ambulance services, and they hope County Council gives them enough money. Since 2002, Parkview's Huntington Hospital has been in the red. This year is no exception. Nicole Pence reports.

Last year, Parkview's Huntington Hospital lost more than 700-thousand dollars. Bills out-weighed money brought-in. Each year, hospital officials ask Huntington County Council to help subsidize their ambulance service; something that's in jeopardy. Their request this year?
270-thousand dollars... 30-thousand more than last year's request.

Kathy Branham/President, Huntington County Council: "It's a very important request that goes through the Commissioners budget. The largest budget that we review. So, it's always been a good service that's been provided. It's just we haven't had enough funding to meet all their requests."

Nicole Pence/Indiana's NewsCenter: "Some in the community have said the reason Parkview's Huntington Hospital and the ambulance service here is losing money is because patients travel to places like Fort Wayne for services. But hospital officials say that's not true."

Darlene Garrett/COO, Parkview Huntington Hospital: "Our runs have actually increased this year. Over all as far as what we expected so certainly volume of runs of what our paramedics are doing were greater than what they were last year."

PHH has five ambulances that serve the area. Garrett argues no matter how much or how little money council approves, nothing will be cut... and that's because there's a "plan b."

Darlene Garrett/COO, Parkview Huntington Hospital: "We are going to find some way to maintain the level of quality of care to the community, and we think there are ways that may come but it has to come from this group."

The task force, will include county council members, a county commissioner, and representatives from the hospital. Garrett hopes they begin brainstorming by mid-September.

Darlene Garrett/COO, Parkview Huntington Hospital: "No matter what comes out of that the county as far as funding this group will help us drive this service into the future as far as making sure the level is there, quality service."

County Council will discuss the request at their meeting August 21st. A final budget won't be approved until the first of September. Hospital officials are hoping, with help from the task force, services won't need to be cut.

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