Hauschild, Lislegard, Zeleznikar named to task force for EMS workers

Strengthening EMS services in rural areas
The panel will be charged with examining new ways the Legislature can strengthen the lifesaving services EMS personnel provide.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 4:07 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Three Northland lawmakers have been appointed to Minnesota’s first task force dedicated to solving the biggest issues EMS workers face.

State Senator Grant Hauschild of Hermantown, Representative Dave Lislegard of Aurora and Representative Natalie Zeleznikar of Fredenberg Township were appointed by Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman to serve on the Joint Task Force on Emergency Medical Services.

The panel will be charged with examining new ways the Legislature can strengthen the lifesaving services EMS personnel provide, including in rural areas where providers are facing challenges.

“I have been hearing from constituents through my Northland Strong initiative that EMS is a top concern in our rural communities on the Iron Range and in Northern Minnesota,” said Hauschild. “Just two weeks ago, I held an EMS roundtable in Soudan where I listened to concerned residents who carried a sense of urgency around fixing this issue. I’m happy to be named to this task force to prioritize this issue statewide and bring solutions to the Legislature next session.”

The group will focus on solving challenges related to EMS funding gaps and will focus on how state and local governments can be better supported to provide critical lifesaving care in their service areas.

“We never know when we may need to count on them, but when we do, paramedics, EMTs, and first responders are ready to provide care to people at a moment’s notice. As legislators, it’s our duty and responsibility to ensure these communities and local departments have the funding and personnel necessary to keep people safe and cared for. But right now, especially in greater Minnesota, many departments that provide this essential service are facing an uphill battle to remain in operation,” Representative Lislegard said. “I’m honored to serve on this task force, where we will closely listen to stakeholders within these departments and the communities in which they serve to get a better understanding and dig deep in a bipartisan fashion to solve the challenges those providers of emergency medical services are facing and explore steps we can take to strengthen these vital services.”

According to officials, Minnesota has more than 250 licensed ground ambulance services.

In 2021, they responded to approximately 540,000 emergency calls.

A report released by the Office of the Legislative Auditor in February 2022, a variety of concerns were outlined including the overall viability of EMS providers, persistent funding, and staffing challenges.

The report also noted concerns related to the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board’s oversight capabilities and authority to set certain standards.

The task force will have its first meeting later this fall.

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