HEFLIN — The Cleburne County Hospital Board voted unanimously Thursday to buy a passenger van for the nursing home. According to Cleburne County Nursing Home Administrator Tony Culberson the current 20-year-old van is dangerous for staff and residents because it stalls in traffic. Culberson had asked for the van a year ago but it was put on the back burner because of the lack of funds.

The van will be used to carry residents to doctor appointments and to the wound-care clinic.

Culberson reported that the nursing home is at capacity and had three admissions Thursday.

Culberson also said that four pipes for the nursing home’s sprinkler system broke and were repaired by a certified dealer out of Marietta, Ga.

The nursing home’s profit for December after depreciation was $53,972 and the current bank and accounts payable balance is $180,000.

EMS Director Tracy Lambert reported that he filed a grant for $175,000 to get a new ambulance. He also asked the board to set aside $75,000 each this year and next year to buy a four-wheel-drive box truck, a vehicle which could reach patients that a typical ambulance can’t get to if a road or long driveway is in poor condition.

Lambert reported the EMS is losing $9,000 a month because Medicare is no longer paying a supplement that benefits rural counties’ ambulance services by paying them a little more for mileage and for each call. Congress has to reappropriate it and did not this year. Lambert said that legislators are negotiating currently to get the money for all rural carriers nationwide.

Staff writer and photographer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter: @BWilson_Star