Meet Your 40 Under 40 Winner - Ashley Ballah, Director, North Central EMS, Fisher-Titus Health

Sept. 18, 2023
Congratulations to Ashley Ballah for being named to the inaugural Healthcare Innovation 40 Under 40 awards program!

Congratulations to 40 Under 40 Winner: Ashley Ballah, Director, North Central EMS, Fisher-Titus Health

Get To Know Ashley:

Why is this candidate a good fit for 40 under 40?

Ashley Ballah, MHA, FACHE, RDMS, RVT, leads, manages, and directs North Central Emergency Management Services, a non-profit ambulance company owned and operated by Fisher-Titus Health. In this role, Ashley is responsible for the day-to-day operations, including oversight of the six locations and 55 staff providing EMS services to the greater rural North Central Ohio community, as well as maintaining operational and financial systems and controls to ensure efficiency. Ashley is responsible for recruitment and retention of EMS staff, employee and patient safety, and building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, including surrounding township and municipality EMS divisions.   Ashley Ballah graduated in 2007 with her bachelor’s degree in Medical Imaging from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania and completed her ultrasound training from The Johns Hopkins Schools of Medical Imaging in Baltimore, Maryland.  She graduated with her master’s degree in healthcare administration in 2017.  Ashley is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Ballah began her career at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio where she was awarded the Cleveland Clinic Caregiver Excellence Award in 2012.  Ashley then began working at North Central Mobile Diagnostics in 2013 where she expanded a mobile x-ray company to include mobile ultrasound services and became director in 2015.  That same year, traveled to Guyana, South America with PAHO/WHO, serving as a temporary advisor in an effort to reduce maternal mortality rates during childbirth.    In 2018, Ballah was appointed the Director of North Central EMS and was the recipient of the Fisher-Titus Health President’s Award in 2020. Ashley currently serves on the EHOVE Career Center Safety Service Program Advisory Board, the Bowling Green State University DMS Advisory Board and the Leadership Huron County Board of Directors.  Additionally, Ballah is a guest lecturer annually for the Bowling Green State University Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program and has been an adjunct professor for the university since 2015.   Within Fisher-Titus Health, Ashley serves as an Arbinger Outward Mindset facilitator, and spearheads several internal committees, including the “Caught in the Act” and “My Two Cents” programs, both of which are aimed at ensuring that employees voices are heard and that their work is appreciated.

Explain this candidate’s professional accomplishments.

Under Ashley’s leadership, North Central EMS went from having an approximately $3 million loss in 2018, to just $1 million in 2019, and positive margins year over year after that. By changing the core service area to meet community need, updating subsidy contracts for the first time in 30 years, and partnering with new townships that did not previously pay for EMS services, Ashley not only enhanced the financial health of the organization, but increased staffing, improved morale, and increased patient satisfaction.   In March 2020, Ashley secured funding for Fisher-Titus North Central EMS to implement a Community Paramedicine Rural Pilot Program in response to longstanding gaps in primary care services within its rural community. Ohio Department of Health funding for this three-year pilot has led to reduced 911 calls, decreased emergency room utilization and unnecessary hospital readmissions. By expanding the role of paramedics to also provide in-home scheduled medical care through this pilot, community members with transportation barriers, chronic disease, and no connection to a primary care medical home have seen better outcomes and an improved quality of life.  When paramedic turnover became a major challenge for the organization, Ashley implemented several opportunities to support and retain staff. North Central EMS began providing paramedic scholarships to EMTs, created the paramedic incentive program, and implemented an adjunct staffing option, all of which assisted in overcoming workforce challenges.  Due to her success within North Central EMS and service to the community, in 2020 Ashley was awarded the President’s Award for Fisher-Titus Medical Center, which recognizes a team member who makes significant contributions to our organization by delivering exceptional work across patient experience, innovation, and teamwork.   Additional accomplishments Ashley has achieved include:  • Creating a structured employee onboarding/orientation process and Class A Status process • Advocating for, and successfully obtained, wage increases for all staff • Improving the dispatch process of accepting non-emergent transports, ensuring medical necessity and removing excess barriers to access • Significantly decreasing insurance loss rate by hundreds of thousands of dollars • Improved relationships with local departments and political subdivisions • Creating a partnership with the Erie County Community Health Center to obtain free Narcan and training for all EMS transport vehicles and personnel.  • Entered into a contract with MetroHealth- Cleveland for Medical Direction, leading to improved clinical care, quality assurance and availability of numerous free educational/CE opportunities for staff.

How does the candidate show commitment to the industry and bettering their professional career? 

Ashley consistently goes above and beyond in everything that she does. When a staff member brings a concern forward to Ashley, she will do everything in her power to correct it, which has built significant trust during such an adversarial time in healthcare. She achieved Fellow status of the American College of Healthcare Executives within one year of attending her first congress meeting. Ashley is committed to lifelong learning, most recently earning her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.    If Ashley has an idea that is going to improve services to the community or improve safety of her team, she will search out and apply for additional funding to support the work.  Finally, Ashley is always looking to take on new opportunities and challenges, making a goal to move into a higher responsibility position in the organization in 5 years, which she recently achieved. In the coming months, Ashley will be stepping in as the new Senior Director of Ancillary Services, where she will have direct responsibility and oversight of the Pharmacy, Imaging and Laboratory Services for Fisher-Titus Health.