ELY WEATHER

Rep. Lislegard’s emergency aid for EMS becomes law


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Rep. Lislegard is pictured in Hoyt Lakes with Gov. Walz. Submitted photo.

Rep. Lislegard is pictured in Hoyt Lakes with Gov. Walz. Submitted photo.

HOYT LAKES – Governor Tim Walz signed into law a bill on Thursday, May 23, in Hoyt Lakes. The law creates a new Office of Emergency Medical Services in Minnesota charged with addressing insufficient oversight, outdated service areas, and persistent sustainability challenges for EMS providers.

The bill incorporates $30 million of emergency aid for the departments, a request carried in the House by Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL–Aurora).

“Our EMS departments in Greater Minnesota are in a precarious situation as they face dire funding and personnel shortages. Not only are many of them struggling to remain viable, the community members they serve are having to wait too long for calls,” Rep. Lislegard said. “There’s a lot of work left for us to do, but this funding is a tremendous first step to address the viability of our rural ambulance providers.”

Of the $30 million package, $24 million will be dedicated to emergency aid for EMS providers while $6 million will go toward a new Sprint Medic Pilot Program which will operate on the Iron Range. Rep. Lislegard served on the legislature’s Task Force on Emergency Medical Services which developed the recommendations. The panel held a series of public hearings across the state to examine new ways the legislature can strengthen the lifesaving services EMS personnel provide in communities.

Minnesota has more than 250 licensed ground ambulance services, which in 2021 responded to approximately 540,000 emergency calls to 9-1-1. 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.

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