SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL – Brooklyn Park) and Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (DFL – Minneapolis) announced the formation of a 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 in communities across the state.
“Paramedics and EMTs drop everything at a moment’s notice to do their lifesaving work,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman said. “I’m confident the Joint Task Force on Emergency Medical Services will work together to develop solutions to strengthen these vital services and ensure providers have the proper funding and staffing they need to keep people safe.”
“In every community across the state, emergency medical services are often the only thing that stands between life and death for the Minnesotans who need them,” said Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic. “It’s critically important that we prioritize giving EMS personnel the tools and resources they need to effectively provide those services, and this Joint Task Force will help give state leaders the information necessary to achieve that goal.”
The legislative leaders appointed Rep. John Huot (DFL – Rosemount) and Sen. Judy Seeberger (DFL – Afton) to serve as co-chairs of the panel, both of whom have experience working as paramedics.
“Minnesotans deserve efficient and reliable emergency medical care in times of crisis, especially when seconds matter,” said Rep. Huot. “As I listen to Minnesotans from across the state, it’s abundantly clear we need to do more at the legislature to find solutions that help us guarantee that quality of care for our neighbors. I’m looking forward to serving on this new task force with Sen. Seeberger so we can gain more input from the public on areas of needed improvement in our EMS infrastructure and delivery.”
“Every day across our state, Emergency Medical Services workers are called upon to deliver the critical, urgent care necessary to save the lives of their fellow Minnesotans,” said Sen. Seeberger.“Unfortunately, our EMS workers are at a breaking point, and action must be taken to ensure that these workers have the support they need and that these services are available to the Minnesotans who need them. I look forward to working together with my colleagues on this task force to ensure these critical services are provided the support and infrastructure they need.”
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.
House members appointed to serve as members of the task force include Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL – St. Peter), Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora), Rep. Jeff Backer (R – Browns Valley), Rep. Natalie Zeleznikar (R – Fredenberg Township), and House Health Committee Chair Tina Liebling (DFL – Rochester), who will serve in an ex-officio capacity.
Senators appointed include Sen. Grant Hauschild (DFL – Hermantown), Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL – Moorhead), Sen. Jordan Rasmusson (R – Fergus Falls), Sen. Andrew Lang (R – Olivia), and Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Melissa Wiklund (DFL – Bloomington), who will be an ex-officio member.