This month’s NEMSMA Member Spotlight is Brian LaCroix from Allina Health EMS. Brian is a member of the NEMSMA Board of Directors, and will be the incoming President-Elect. Brian took the time to talk with NEMSMA Secretary Ryan Greenberg to share with our membership about himself and his organization.
Can you introduce yourself to our members, and a little bit about your agency?
I lead the organization, Allina Health EMS. We are a non-profit in Minnesota. We are a traditional 911 EMS agency. We also provide other Mobile Integrated Health services and other services related to paramedicine. We have a staff of about 600, and we had last year approximately 112,000 patient interactions. We serve urban areas like the International Airport and the Mall of America, and we serve rural areas, where I joke there are more deer than people.
How long has Allina been a member of NEMSMA?
So, we’ve been involved about 8 years. I was first introduced to NEMSMA through the list serve, which I thought was just a fantastic resource where friends that I knew in the EMS industry from other parts of the country introduced me to a place where I can go and get information, and advice, and ask questions of people from all over the country who were having the same issues that I had. And, that list serve, I think, is still one of the valuable member benefits.
What is something different and/or innovative about your agency?
Every year we develop a series of goals, under what we call pillars, and they are related to people, care, service, growth, financial, health, and community. They are all equally important, so our philosophy is you need to have this balanced approach to serve your community in the best way you can.
What is the one thing your agency is most proud of?
Everybody has a culture, whether you deliberately try to have a culture or not. All organizations have a culture, whether it is a paramedicine organization, or a grocery store. What we really deliberately try and do in our organization is create, and cultivate, a culture that is about caring. That sounds a little corny, but we have landed on a mantra about caring for our patients, caring for our communities, and caring for each other. We have a chaplain on staff, and that chaplain’s role is not to do necessarily scene response, but to do what we call self-care with our staff. We have high expectations of our staff. Here is the flip side to that;. We got your back. People that come and do that work for us, and serve our communities, and serve each other, we are there for them. We do our best in terms of providing a good living for them, providing strong equipment, support both inside work, their outside personal lives are not our business, but you’d be surprised how many people invite you into their personal lives when they are having challenges, and we provide resources, if they ask. Our chaplain sums it up in a bumper sticker of “high expectations, high support”.
What makes your leadership team work well together?
My senior leadership team has been together for a long time. We know that we need to lean on each other and be part of the solution for the whole system. We welcome contrary points of views. We have ground rules about being respectful when we have those tough conversations, but we aren’t afraid to say that’s a wrong direction and here’s why and let’s talk through it.
What are some words of encouragement you would give to another agency who isare trying to achieve some of the things you have achieved?
One of the things I talk about is our patients, to get their input on things, to lay down on the cot and look to see if there is blood on the ceiling. Our mission is to serve them, and they often get left out of the equation.
What idea or concept do you feel would be valuable for new leaders to know in order to help them succeed?
I would give them a phrase that “none of us is smarter than all of us”. It’s a reminder every day to keep an open mind., Yyou don’t have all the answers,. Ddiversity of thought and direction makes us all better.
What recommendation would you give to a leadership team?
In my experience, it’s not hiding the conflict. There needs to be procedures in place to figure out how to have healthy communication, how to be respectful about it, how to listen to a contrary point of view, and at the end of the day come to some sort of consensus. Focus on the issues that are truly important.
What would you say to people about the value of NEMSMA?
I go back to the very first thing that peaked my interest, which is the list serve. It is one of those things that if you have a problem, you are not alone. You can put a question out there and get answers back. NEMSMA inspires leaders to serve our community. The group advances legislative and regulatory issues.
We thank Brian for taking time to share with our members about himself, his organization, and wish him the best in his new leadership position. If you would like to know more about Allina Health EMS you can visit their website at www.allinahealth.org
and you will find the EMS section under the Medical Services tab.