The City announced Thursday that it is withdrawing the community paramedicine program that was to be funded by a three-year grant from the City-County Health Department. According to City officials, a grievance was filed by the Firefighters Union, prompting the City to decline the $865,000 grant.
The paramedicine program is aimed at reducing the number of habitual users of 911 for medical problems that are not emergencies. The plan was for the City to hire two paramedics and two nurses who would go out into the community to match available services to people who felt they had no other choice but to call an ambulance.
City spokesperson Kim Womack said the grievance would have tied up the City, which is already bargaining on a new contract with firefighters.
"They have said through their grievance that they feel like it should only be sworn firefighters," Womack said. "We disagree, and at that point, we're just kind of throwing up our hands and saying 'okay, we're done.'"
"I'm upset. I'm not happy. I'm disappointed that the program will not go forward," said Chief Robert Rocha of the Corpus Christi Fire Department.
The grant will no longer be available from the City-County Health Department, but both the City and the fire chief hope to begin a program down the road.