For the first time, Johnston County EMS will receive funds to transport a patient for treatment other than an emergency department. A grant from the NC Department of Health and Human Services to the Johnston County EMS Community Paramedic Program will fund the new program.
Josh Holloman, Assistant Director and EMS Division Chief with Johnston County Emergency Services said the county has been awarded $5,000 for the purchase of breathalyzers and additional crisis intervention training. The grant will allow EMS crews in Johnston County to assess patients for behavioral or mental health issues and transport them to a local crisis center in the Johnston County Mental Health Center, as opposed to a hospital emergency room.
The grant will also allow the EMS agency to bill for their services to the Alliance Behavioral Healthcare for the services.
$164 will be paid for an on-scene assessment and intervention for a person who does not need transport for additional stabilization. $211 will be paid for the on-site assessment and transport of individuals in crisis.
Commissioner Vice Chairman Jeff Carver called the response grant a very productive use of county EMS assets, while keeping individuals out of emergency room beds. Commissioner Cookie Pope agreed saying for too long the entire nation has frowned on mental health and the needs of others.
In 2015, Johnston County launched their Community Paramedic program through a $350,000 Duke Endowment. Specially trained Johnston County paramedics focus on the citizens who most frequently need transports to the hospital, and work with those patients to prevent future medical emergencies from occurring.