SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman has appointed Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) and Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic has appointed Sen. Grant Hauschild (DFL – Hermantown) to serve on the Legislature’s new 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.
“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.”
“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 Senator 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.”
Minnesota has more than 250 licensed ground ambulance services, which in 2021 responded to approximately 540,000 emergency calls to 911. A February 2022 report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor outlined a variety of concerns about the overall viability of EMS providers and the persistent funding and staffing challenges they’ve faced in recent years, particularly in greater Minnesota. 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 convene its first meeting later this fall.