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News Release: Rep. Backer, Minnesota Legislature Approve $30 Million Aid Package for EMS

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

SAINT PAUL –The Minnesota Legislature recently passed a $30 million aid package for rural emergency medical services (EMS), which includes more than $4 million for West Central Minnesota. The legislation provides $24 million in emergency aid for EMS providers who are focused on services in Greater Minnesota. Another $6 million is dedicated to sprint medic pilot program for Otter Tail, Grant and St. Louis counties.

Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, played a key role in negotiations on the bill and was a leading advocate on the issue throughout the legislative session.

“As a volunteer EMT and member of the EMS Task Force, I have had a front row seat to the problems facing EMS and ambulance services in our communities,” said Rep. Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley. “I am so grateful that all of us were able to come together in a bipartisan manner to provide the emergency funding that these lifesaving services need to stay afloat. There is still much work to be done to address the structural problems facing these services, but in the meantime, this will go a long ways in helping to fill in the gaps.”

The EMS aid package also includes $6 million to launch a sprint medic pilot program in Otter Tail, Grant and St. Louis counties—authorizing trained medical staff to be the first response and determine if an ambulance is necessary.

Additional reforms in the bill help address EMS staffing concerns in rural areas. The changes make it easier to be qualified or certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Emergency Medical Responder, or Ambulatory EMT.

The bill now heads to Governor Walz for his signature.