Connecticut & Kentucky Get New State EMS Directors

EMS providers in Connecticut and Kentucky got new leaders this summer with the appointments of Raphael M. Barishansky, MPH, as director of the Office of Emergency Medical Services in the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Michael E. Poynter as executive director for the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services, respectively.

Barishansky has been involved in EMS for the past 22 years in various capacities and has experience as a field provider in both career and volunteer EMS systems. Previously he served as chief of public health emergency preparedness and response for the Prince George’s County (MD) Health Department, as well as executive director of the Hudson Valley Regional EMS Council in New York. His new responsibilities with the Connecticut Office of Emergency Medical Services include the operation of the state EMS office, managing its employees and ensuring the sound handling of regulatory and other responsibilities.

In speaking with EMS World, Barishansky says communication is a key part of the role of a state EMS director: “As relationships are primary, I think it’s important to ensure all stakeholders are involved in the decision making process when change is necessary to move the system forward.”

Poynter brings more than 30 years of public safety experience to his new position. He has managed operations and led personnel in emergency environments of all types, representing EMS, the fire service and law enforcement, including 16 years of service as a tactical paramedic with an FBI SWAT team. Poynter also worked internationally as an EMS and tactical operations consultant, training healthcare providers for the Coast Guard and Ministry of Health in Finland.

Poynter believes an ideal state EMS director is a strategist, “looking at both current logistics and future opportunities to elevate the profession, and helping provide the best education and resources for all EMS providers so they can provide the best care possible to the sick and injured.
“With the advancement of EMS practices, procedures and technologies, it’s vital to offer both support and the latest resources to our EMS providers so they’re able to provide the highest level of care to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and advance our industry as EMS professionals,” Poynter says.

Both men acknowledged the financial hurdles facing the EMS industry over the next half decade.

“Reimbursement is an issue that we are currently facing and will be experiencing for years to come,” Poynter explains. “We are going to have to be strategic in our planning to continue operations as we know them.”

“Myriad issues impact EMS systems on a regular basis; the ones I think will keep rearing their heads include workforce issues (including recruitment and retention), financial/funding issues and managerial competence,” Barishansky adds.

Poynter and Barishansky are both members of the EMS World Advisory Board. Barishansky has been a board member for eight years, while Poynter has been on the board for close to 20 years.

Jason Busch is an Associate Editor for EMS World.