Representative Zach Nunn of Bondurant said Myrna Hunt’s story about her husband’s heart attack in late 2013 helped spur the action. Hunt told legislators her husband died on their front steps in Runnells, just a couple of blocks away from the volunteer fire department.
“She called 911 for the volunteers to come and after 20 minutes she called 911 again and more than an hour later, when the volunteers finally arrived and escorted her husband to a hospital here in Des Moines, he’d already passed away from cardiac arrest,” Nunn said. “This is just one of many tales that come from our volunteers across the state who are doing the best they can with limited resources.”
The bill would let residents in unincorporated areas — outside city limits — petition for a vote that would raise property taxes in the township to pay for emergency medical services. Representative Amy Nielsen, the former mayor of North Liberty, said the lack of access to ambulance services in rural areas is troubling.
“I believe that this bill is a good first step in making EMS an essential service, just like fire protection,” Nielsen said.
Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton said legislators have been working on this bill for six years.
“I think all of us enjoy going to our EMS ambulance service pancake breakfasts, but that’s ridiculous that they have to do that just to be able to fill the gaps in their budget,” Kaufmann said. “…This bill is just a start, but I think it’s a great start.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for review.