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2009 Pinnacle Offers Strategies for Recession-Weary Managers

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EMS managers and executives from across the country converged Aug. 3Ï7 in St. Petersburg, Fla., for Fitch & Associate's fourth annual Pinnacle conference. The leadership forum, held once again at the Don Cesar Beach Resort, kicked off with Pinnacle power seminars on Monday and Tuesday, which covered such topics as deployment/resource management, leading a multi-generational workforce and "lessons from the trenches." The strain of the recession and looming healthcare reform proved a common thread throughout many of the discussions.

A four-hour Tuesday session, "Special Financial Workshop: A Systematic Approach to Raising Revenues and Reducing Costs," addressed the unprecedented pressure EMS organizations are under due to the depressed economy. The workshop, facilitated by Fitch & Associates partner Richard Keller and senior consultant Dianne Wright, focused on budget and finance issues, offering tips for increasing collection rates and stretching dollars without impacting service quality.„

Robert Lloyd, PhD, delivered the opening keynote on Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Lloyd is the executive director of performance improvement for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and has a strong background in healthcare. In "The Fast Track to Innovation: Improve Quality and Reduce Costs Using the Model for Improvement," the keynote discussed healthcare reform and quality improvement, and how we must "connect the dots" within our fragmented healthcare system.

"Transformation requires a vision and bold aims coupled with relentless execution of small, repeated tests of change," he said.

In Wednesday's session, "How to Make Good Things Happen During Turbulent Times," Jay Fitch employed the metaphor of piloting a plane through turbulent weather to illustrate the challenges and choices EMS leaders must make to survive. "Getting distracted during turbulent times can lead to disaster," Fitch said. He stressed that now is a good time to renegotiate with vendors, implement efficient system design changes, increase transparency, and improve engagement and communication with employees who are likely experiencing significant personal and professional stress.

"In times of turbulence, what kind of pilot are you?" he asked, noting that there are significant "opportunities" during even the stormiest weather.

Highlights from Thursday included a general session -- facilitated by AMR's Scott Bourn, PhD, and Mike Taigman -- that noted recent studies and the potential implications for local systems, and a session on the "Hidden Savings in Employee-Wellness Programs," led by Allen Johnson, chief executive officer of the Montgomery County (Texas) Hospital District. Johnson's discussion, which paralleled the overall push in healthcare toward prevention as a means to control medical costs, detailed how his district was able to curb double-digit increases in health insurance premiums through several innovative and well-received employee wellness initiatives.

For detailed information on the full 2009 program and faculty, visitwww.pinnacle-ems.com.Click here for additional coverage of Pinnacle onJEMS.comand in the September issue ofEMS Insider.Mark your calendars: Pinnacle will return to San Diego July 26Ï30, 2010.

Related Articles from 2008 Pinnacle Conference

"Pinnacle Conference Keynote Encourages Imagination"by Jennifer Berry

"Third Annual Pinnacle Brings EMS Leaders Together"by Lisa Bell

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