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24 EMTs could lose jobs with potential EMS transfer

Twenty-four EMTs with St. Croix EMS could lose their positions if the city approves negotiations to integrate the service with Hudson Hospital, staff heard at a meeting Tuesday night. No decision has been made. (file photo)

More than 20 St. Croix EMS emergency medical technicians could lose their jobs if the city of Hudson decides to transfer the service to the Hudson Hospital and HealthPartners.

This update was given at an EMS Commission meeting Tuesday night, but commissioners emphasized negotiations are still ongoing and no decision has been made.

Lakeview Vice President of Ancillary Services Nathan Pulscher, one of HealthPartners’ representatives at the meeting, said the Hudson Hospital would use the two-paramedic model that other HealthPartners organizations do, as it has found the model to be successful. Under this model, Hudson Hospital would offer all current St. Croix EMS paramedics employment, but the model has no role for current EMTs.

St. Croix EMS employs 24 EMTs and 12 paramedics, though some employees in both positions already work for HealthPartners as well.

EMT Pam Dabruzzi said it was shocking that the EMS staff wasn’t informed earlier.

“I take this as a slap in the face to myself personally that this is how we find out,” she said.

Pulscher said HealthPartners and Hudson Hospital would be willing to talk about supporting current EMTs in being trained as paramedics.

“There’s a greater need than there is supply,” Pulscher said about paramedics.

Currently the hospital and city have not landed on an answer for who will serve as first responders to the community if the transfer is approved.

Council Member Tom McCormick said the city is dedicated to public safety in the community. Services would still be based in Hudson. 

“We want to have a successful EMS system,” McCormick said.

McCormick said the city has approved retention bonuses for most EMS staff that would provide incentive for workers to stay on and ensure the service can continue to operate up until the transfer point, if the transfer is approved.

City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick said if the integration is approved, it will likely be done by Sept. 30.

Munkittrick said because negotiations are still ongoing, the commission could not provide any more details on the transfer outside of the potential employment update.

Discussions on integrating the EMS with Hudson Hospital began in summer of 2016. Most discussion regarding the potential transfer have occurred in closed session, as provided by law for negotiations.

At the Hudson Common Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Rich O’Connor said the city will begin public discussion on the topic at its council meetings. O’Connor also agreed to requests by EMS staff to have a separate special session on the issue to address all of their questions.

“Every discussion that we have had has put the service that is provided to the city above everything else. It’s paramount,” O’Connor said.

A full story on the meeting will be available in the March 23 edition of the Hudson Star-Observer.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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