Administration and Leadership

Jay Fitch Delivers Closing Keynote Address at Pinnacle 2016

EMS luminary Jay Fitch gave a powerful keynote today at Pinnacle 2016, using the narrative of The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s perseverance against the wicked witch to alert the audience to the EMS road map and the changes ahead.

He pointed out how vulnerable healthcare is today with competition, quality challenges and the excessive number of empty beds that generate revenue troubles across the healthcare industry. He noted that there is a lot more we must be thinking about beyond mobile integrated healthcare, because reimbursement is moving closer to competency than ever before.

Some key areas on Fitch’s radar for EMS management included:

  • Working closer with consumers and payment
  • Better claims management
  • Value-based purchasing

He referenced data “infarctions” occurring at services, despite all that lies ahead with the EMS Compass initiative. Few agencies monitor whether their crews are getting their shift breaks, provide stress management, track the sepsis patients they see and follow other key Compass recommendations.

Fitch compared the characters in Oz to EMS managers:

  • There’s the brainless straw man who fails to realize his own potential even though he’s highly innovative.
  • The heartless tin man was compared to EMS managers who do not have compassionate, heartfelt relationships with their staff and employees.
  • The cowardly lion is representative of managers who lack courage.
  • And then there’s the wizard balloonist pretending to be something he’s not—hiding behind a curtain.

key attributes of EMS leaders

True EMS leaders must delegate, work transparently, be accountable and set rigorous standards for themselves and others. We must worry about how others perceive us. Fitch also emphasized that when we are overly critical of our employees or hide behind a curtain, we hinder our ability to realize our full potential.

Fitch moved on to stress that we must all be better at talking to our patients and telling them not just what we are doing, but why. His example: 

“I’m Jay (WHO) and I’m here to make your breathing better (WHAT) so that you can go to your daughter’s wedding (WHY).”

Fitch moved back to the Oz parallel and pointed out how Dorothy never gave up, and listened to her comrades as they figured out how to traverse the strange world of Oz. When the wizard realized his shortcomings, he became a better man, offered sage advice to each character and developed a solid plan to get Dorothy back to Kansas.

It was a powerful keynote by a knowledgeable and respected leader.