Hennepin Healthcare looking to add more paramedics

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The EMS Chief at Hennepin HealthCare, Marty Scheerer, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that staffing of ambulance paramedics is “lower than I want,” but said he does have a plan to close the staffing gap.

“We would like to have 195 full-time paramedics, but right now we have around 170 and things have been stressful for ambulance crews because the number of calls for service continues to rise,” said Scheerer.

According to Scheerer, there were more than 75,000 calls for service in 2022, which is a 21.7% increase from 2021.  Scheerer also said that response times were slightly higher than seven minutes, a number he would like to see around six minutes instead.

“They go from call, to call, to call. They’re at the hospital and not even finished with their report and dispatch will say ‘Can you clear for a call?’,” said Scheerer. “Our call volume per paramedic is much higher than we want it to be.”

Hennepin HealthCare EMS Medical Director, Dr. Aaron Robinson, told KSTP the call volume now is the highest he’s experienced since he started seven years ago.

“And, the number of calls, the number of patients waiting to be seen at ERs all over the cities is just astronomically long,” said Robinson.

Scheerer said he intends to share this same information with the Minneapolis City Council Wednesday to answer any questions they have and to explain his plans on hiring more paramedics to combat the rise in response times.