The Future of Rural Ambulance and EMS

DULUTH, Minn.–Thousands of people in rural areas rely on ambulances to travel long distances in responding to emergencies, but there are several challenges facing those trying to provide the services. That was what brought many people together Wednesday in Duluth.

They are trying to tackle the issues in responding to 911 calls. The problems include a lack of money and trying to find and attract enough workers and volunteers.

The Minnesota Ambulance Association says the issues are stretching EMS capacity to it’s limit.

Executive Director of the Minnesota Rural Health Association, Mark Jones, said, “Our lives have changed. Maybe what we did 20-30 years ago with staffing our ambulance service with volunteers. Even the workforce that’s available. Those people choosing to go into health care fields like para-medicine. There’s just less people choosing health care. There’s less people to pick from in our rural communities. And we have smaller, aging communities now”.

Two groups came together to try and figure out solutions Wednesday. The Minnesota Ambulance Association was joined by the Center for Rural Policy and Development.

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