Should paramedics help fill the rural health care gap? Check out the debate.

If rural Minnesota is so short of doctors, why not let other professionals, like paramedics, fill the gap, taking up duties that until now have been reserved for people with MDs?

It was one question we focused on last month with Ground Level’s reporting on rural health care, and this week colleague Michael Caputo is continuing the conversation, asking it at his Insight Now debate forum.

If you haven’t checked Insight Now out lately, take a look. Every week Caputo enlists two knowledgeable people to tackle an important issue and chew on it for several days. There’s a semi-formal back-and-forth structure but ample opportunity for everybody to weigh in if you have a thought.

Paramedic Gary Wingrove takes the “pro” side, arguing that expanding what midlevel practitioners like paramedics do can help keep a lid on health care costs.

Carrie Mortrud, of the Minnesota Nursing Association, argues that the state’s new community paramedic law will be potentially harmful by supplanting duties nurses should be doing.

Read and weigh in.

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