HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Hazard Community and Technical College (HCTC) officials announced they would be eliminating their paramedic program Thursday.
Dr. Jennifer Lindon, HCTC President/CEO, wrote, " HCTC has made an administrative decision to suspend the paramedic associate degree program due to low enrollment."
Medical providers in Hazard say they are now worried about a shortage of paramedics in rural Kentucky.
Bart Francis, ARH EMS Medical Director, says paramedics provide medical support that EMT's cannot much like treatment in the field, airwaves, stabilization, and ventilator support.
"I don't think people realize how much a paramedic can actually do in the field to save a life or stabilize a patient," Francis said.
And with the only local training program being suspended, he says he's becoming more concerned.
"If we don't train people locally, then we are not going to have people from this region travel and then come back to the region to work."
Once officials with Hazard's Kentucky Fire Commission State Fire Rescue training heard of the decision they decided they would eventually pursue offering a similar program in the future.
Greg Reams, Area 12 Coordinator, says the region needs more paramedics to be available for ambulances.
"[We] can really benefit in the long run for the longer transport times that you have in rural Kentucky," Reams said. "And as long as there is an interest for students to participate in the programs we are going to try to provide those programs for the students."
Fire Commission officials say this new goal could take nearly a year to accomplish but hope to bring the opportunity back to the region.