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Community paramedics, one solution to growing rural doctor shortage

Minnesota Public Radio, September 12, 2012

Minnesota could have within several years several hundred practicing "community paramedics," a new designation of healthcare providers spawned by the shortage of doctors and nurses in rural parts of the state. Once certified, community paramedics can deal with a range of non-emergency healthcare needs that otherwise, for example, might send people unnecessarily to the emergency room and wind up costing more. Minnesota is the first state in the country to establish the new classification under law. Some officials hope that as many as 20 percent of the state's 2,200 paramedics will obtain the certification.