Rep. Jeff Backer

Representative Jeff Backer, R-Browns Valley, has been appointed to the legislative Task Force on Emergency Medical Services, made up of members from both the House and the Senate. Backer, a volunteer EMT with Browns Valley Ambulance since 1995, is looking forward to strengthening Emergency Medical Services infrastructure in Greater Minnesota and across the state.

“Since taking office, I have worked hard to improve health care access in Greater Minnesota,” said Backer. “Top of that list is making sure that emergency medical services can respond to a call in a timely manner. In an emergency, every second counts and I look forward to working more closely on this issue as we streamline the emergency response process to make it more efficient and effective.”

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.

Minnesota has more than 250 licensed 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.