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EMS struggles with EMT, paramedic shortages as they celebrate EMS Week 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (May 18, 2022) —This week, organizations across the U.S. are celebrating EMS Week, a time to honor EMS health care workers who are dedicated to providing emergency medicine that saves so many lives every day. At the same time, Allina Health, like EMS services across the country, are also working to recruit new emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics into the field due to a shortage of EMS staff that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Caregivers throughout health care have been under a great deal of stress,” said Jeff Czyson, director of workforce for Allina Health EMS. “Although Allina Health EMS has 300 paramedics, we would like 350 to make scheduling easier. We've been in this pandemic for two years and our teams are tired.”

“To help this effort, we are awarding year-for-year wage credit for experienced paramedics we hire, along with a bonus for those with more than two years experience. This has helped generate interest with providers currently working in other parts of the country.”

A new program, Payment of Paramedic Students, is used to encourage current EMTs to train to become paramedics. Allina Health EMS is offering fulltime pay while working three-quarter time when an EMT is attending a paramedic training program.

“It is very challenging to maintain income along with a healthy work-school-life balance, so we have created the Payment of Paramedic Students Program to allow our EMTs time to attend school while still maintaining fulltime income,” Czyson said. “We’re also providing tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and hiring bonuses.”

During EMS Week, Allina Health is holding recognition barbeques at its EMS bases throughout the system to thank its staff for their dedication, particularly during the pandemic. One of those events is Thursday at noon at its Mounds View base. Allina Health EMS leaders will be joined by Senior Vice President, Allina Health Operations Sara Criger to share appreciation for the work being done and enjoy a meal together.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.