The paramedic program is funded with a $60,000 grant from the Good Samaritan Foundation that was acquired through the efforts of Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation.
The grant provided scholarships to pay half of each participant's tuition to attend the class, with the remainder paid either by the participant or his or her EMS agency.
"We were fortunate to have received this grant for paramedic training and are pleased that we could share it among the emergency medical services in our communities," said Harry C. Nickens, president of the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation.
Normally, a paramedic class costs between $2,000 and $2,500.
This paramedic training costs $1,500 per participant, with the Good Samaritan Foundation grant funding half of the cost for each participant.
The course is coordinated by Terry Casey, an education facilitator at Ephraim McDowell Health. She is assisted by Malcolm Miller, deputy director of Boyle County EMS.
Both also are instructors for the course, along with Brandon Jenkins, Brad Ellis and Andy Sayer, all of whom are paramedics.
Dr. Craig Enlow is the medical director for the program.
Stamper and Miller said the class was offered to all emergency medical services in Boyle and surrounding counties.
"Some of the participants in this class have said they passed up other training programs that were being offered just so they could attend this class," Miller said.
"That's evidence of the quality of this program."
To enroll, participants had to already be certified as emergency medical technicians.
The class includes textbook instruction as well as clinical rotations, which will be done at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.
Participants must maintain an 80 average throughout the program and then successfully complete a skills test on all areas required by the state certification program.
The class meets five days every three weeks, for eight hours a day.
During the clinical rotation, each participant will be required to spend 125 hours in the emergency department, eight hours in the psychiatric unit and 16 hours in the operating room.
Then participants will have to work a 500-hour internship, where they will have a designated number of patient contacts that have to be made as part of the certification process.
Once those requirements are met, participants are eligible to take a national board exam offered through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians.
Individuals who successfully complete the exam will be licensed as paramedics.
"The purpose of this class is to further the education of emergency medical services in Boyle and the surrounding counties and advance the level of care available to those communities," Stamper said. "There was a need identified for paramedic training."