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Rep. Zeleznikar Speaks to Critically Needed EMS Funding

Rep. Natalie Zeleznikar, spoke at the Emergency Medical Ser­vices (EMS) press conference on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Rep. Zeleznikar appreciated the oppor­tunity to tour the state to listen and learn what those who do the job need. She listened, learned, and determined the issues that have been noted by Greater Minnesota since 2002. In fact, a study by the state confirms this in the Office of Legislative Audit reports.

Unfortunately, the House major­ity chose to prioritize other items and not this bipartisan issue that affects every Minnesotan. Rather, a task force was developed in De­cember 2023 after a $17.5 billion historic surplus was spent in 5 months. The task force made rec­ommendations without the neces­sary resources available. The real­ity is that the need has not changed and regardless of zip code, Minnesotans expect to have an ambulance arrive timely when they call 911. This ex­pectation is in jeopardy, because it requires needed staffing as deter­mined by the state to run the am­bulance.

In addition, approximately 70% of the ambulance runs are not emer­gency events like a heart attack, a car accident etc. Rather, ambulances respond to calls for transport, help with patient lifts, etc. With a histor­ical surplus, Greater Minnesota did not receive the necessary funding for non-emergency transportation to assist in escorts from hospitals to home and the list goes on. This is unfortunate.

Make no mistake. There was a his­torical 17.5-billion-dollar surplus, and while the need for investing in ambulance services (EMS) was known, it was not prioritized. Yet, a $730 million palace for pol­iticians is under construction and nearly $200 million allocated for a train to Duluth. Neither of these funding initiatives will provide crit­ical transportation to those in need of medical appointments, or trans­port critical care needs to the hos­pital.

Ambulance services are truly a bi­partisan need, no matter where you live, work, or visit. Minnesota can and must do better. Rep. Zeleznikar looks forward to initiatives for ad­dressing long term solutions for non-emergency transportation and emergency medical services (EMS) to assure ambulance services state­wide.

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