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Rural EMS Listening Sessions

The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health held a series of EMS listening sessions in rural areas across the state in October and November of 2018.

The intent was to give a platform for rural EMS providers to describe their work, and the conditions in which they operate. Wisconsin has seen a steady decrease in volunteerism over the last two decades, and municipal budgets are stretched very thin, leading to the closure of several rural services in the last few years. The final portion of each evening was devoted to sharing ideas for solutions that could help rural EMS providers to keep their doors open while providing quality patient care.

State legislators, county and municipal leaders, hospital leadership, and citizens were invited to attend.  But our intent is that the messages from these meetings echo beyond those rooms, to the policymakers that can address the situation.

These events were held in collaboration with the WI EMS Association (WEMSA), the Professional Ambulance Association of WI (PAAW), the WI State Fire Chiefs Association (WSFCA), the Professional Firefighters of WI (PFFW), and the WI EMS Board.

Locations and Dates

Arcadia: Tuesday, May 22nd, 5:00-7:00pm
at Joe Pietrek, Jr. County Park – sponsored by Gundersen Tri-County Hospital

Spooner:  Monday, October 8th, 6:30-8:30pm at
Spooner Health System Hospital

Woodruff: Tuesday, October 9th, 6:30-8:30pm at
Howard Young Medical Center

Oconto Falls:  Wednesday, October 10th, 6:30-8:30pm at HSHS St. Clare’s Memorial Hospital

Boscobel:  Wednesday, November 7th, 6:30-8:30pm at Boscobel High School, sponsored by Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital

Media Response

“A theme throughout the conversation was that people dial 911 and expect a well-trained ambulance crew to arrive promptly at their door, without understanding what it takes to get that ambulance there.” —News Editor Julie Hustvet joined us in Spooner (October 11th issue of Spooner Advocate, Sawyer County Record, and Price County Review; paywalled).

“On any given day, all a person needs to do is listen to a police scanner here in rural northern Wisconsin to get just some of an idea what emergency medical responders and emergency medical technicians deal with.” — The Lakeland Times joined us in Woodruff. (October 12th, 2018; “Rural EMS/EMR Listening Session Held at Howard Young”; The Lakeland Times; paywalled).

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