The Henry County Commission approved two items in support of Henry County Medical Center at its Monday meeting — one of them involving a new ambulance and the other the purchase of some land so the medical center can expand.
The county agreed to spend $172,000 on a new ambulance to be used by HCMC’s Emergency Medical Services department. The county will use money from its debt service fund to pay for the ambulance.
However, County Mayor Brent Greer said he is applying for a community facilities grant through the Rural Development fund of the federal Department of Agriculture. If the county receives that grant, the money would assist with that purchase.
Lisa Casteel, CEO of the medical center, approached the county in May and asked whether it might consider helping out with the EMS financial situation. The ambulance service has been a consistent money loser for the medical center, finishing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red most years.
EMS keeps a fleet of six ambulances at any given time, with one new ambulance rotated in every year.
EMS has been a part of the medical center for nearly 30 years, after its beginnings as the independent Henry County Ambulance Service. EMS was incorporated as its own entity in 2005. Since that year, it has lost nearly $381,000 a year on average.
The $172,000 expenditure by the county will soften the financial blow for HCMC, which is county-owned but typically operates without any tax revenue assistance from the county, for this year.
In the other main happening at Monday’s meeting, the county approved a resolution that allows HCMC to buy a piece of property on Lynn Street so the hospital can expand its campus.
The property, located at 1004 Lynn St., is nearly 2,500 square feet and is adjacent to the medical center’s current campus. It has been the longtime site of Miss Betty’s Kinder Garden, a child care center, and is still owned by Bob and Betty Anderson. The hospital plans to pay the Andersons $100,000 for the property, and though no decision has been finalized yet, it appears HCMC plans to level the property and use it for more parking.
The hospital’s Board of Trustees recommended the purchase at its September meeting.
In other items Monday:
• A presentation was made of a state resolution from earlier this year that honored the late Harold Plumley, the founder of Plumley Companies in Paris, which now is part of Dana Inc.
Plumley’s widow, Opal, and his son Mike, along with Mike’s wife Jane, were present to hear the program. The state House of Representatives passed the resolution in March, the same month Plumley died.
“It’s kind of fitting that on the night we’re honoring Harold Plumley that most of our business is hospital-related, since he had such a great interest in helping the local hospital grow,” Greer said.
• State Rep. Bruce Griffey, R-Paris, read a resolution passed by the state House honoring Henry County General Sessions/Juvenile Judge Vicki Snyder for becoming the first female judge to win the top honor from the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference.
Snyder won the Judge Leon Ruben Award for Excellence, which rewards outstanding service, in late September.
• Jamey Tosh was appointed to a new four-year term on the HCMC Board of Trustees, with the term ending in November 2023.