Community Paramedicine Program helps hundreds in Lexington, saving taxpayers millions

Published: May. 29, 2019 at 6:40 PM EDT
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At last count, the number of homeless people living in shelters and on the street had dropped drastically in the past few years -- by almost half.

In the last couple of years, a new program in Lexington called the Community Paramedicine Program has helped connect the homeless and the people who regularly visit Lexington's emergency rooms with resources in the community to keep them off the streets and out of the ER.

Cecil Brown was a man who did both. He was homeless, and he'd show up at UK Good Samaritan emergency room regularly. So often, that Physician Assistant Julie Stumbo took an interest in his life.

"He had told me a lot about his family. Just bits and pieces through the time that I saw him," Stumbo said.

Stumbo said she'd see him so much, that if time went a few months without showing up, she'd worry.

"He was respectful and never rude and was grateful for everything we gave him," she said.

Cecil's visits with Stumbo went on for seven and a half years. He'd been hit by three cars over his lifetime. The last time landed him in the hospital for 22 days.

"I'm so grateful for the car that hit him," Stumbo said of what would be a life-altering moment.

"I just said, 'I'll never drink again God, for the mercy that you've shown me," Cecil said.

He headed to rehab after the hospital, and when he got out, the community paramedicine program hooked him up with a group that provided housing for free.

Cecil said his friends from UK Good Samaritan Hospital showed up to make the apartment home.

"When they found out I had an apartment, I didn't ask for nothing. They come with this stuff," Cecil said.

"We never set out to furnish his apartment. I just wanted him to have a bed. There's truly more good in the world than evil," Stumbo said.

The Community Paramedicine Program director said the program has had at least 290 unique individual cases since July 2018.