Physician Spotlight with MEMA CEO Tim Lietz, MD, FACEP
Tim Lietz, MD FACEP, an active emergency medicine physician and current CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates, LLP (MEMA) sits down for a candid interview to shine a light on how he feels about the state of healthcare and MEMA’s unique and bright future.
Tell us about your schooling and how you came to find MEMA.
After attending Vanderbilt for undergrad and The Ohio State University for Medical School, I was lucky to be matched with Eastern Virginia in Norfolk for residency. There, I met my wife, and together we searched for the right place to begin our life and careers. With her being from Florida and me coming from the New England area, we knew the East coast was ideal and luckily, MEMA had an opening here in Charlotte.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
I was always interested in the sciences and growing up I loved watching the TV show Emergency!. I figured out I could study sciences and put it to good use by doing something good for society and helping others. Healthcare was a natural fit.
As a kid, my dream job was to be a doctor for the Detroit Lions. While I’m far from working with a professional football team, I’m grateful to have a career that serves the community.
What was attractive about working with MEMA?
In 1994, being just out of residency, I was searching for an independent practice who valued their physicians, where the physicians were part of the business with the ability to make meaningful decisions and changes to the practice.
What do you enjoy most about your day to day practice?
I love the challenge of no two workdays being the same. The high volume we see and with every patient being different, we are required to be a jack of all trades which makes what we do both exciting and challenging.
Has there been one patient, staff member, or caregiver story that has stuck with you during your MEMA tenure?
I remember vividly, during one overnight shift, we took in a 16-year-old female patient who had overdosed and suffered a mild stroke by the time she had come in. I was able to treat her in the ER and she did have some complications from the stroke. Two years later, a young woman comes into the ER walking with a cane and introduces herself as that 16-year-old patient who had overdosed. She had come to thank me and our team for not giving up on her. Fast forward another two years, and I run into this young woman again, but find her working in our Emergency Department as a tech! The opportunities this job provides isn’t just for us physicians but leaves lasting imprints on our patient’s lives and that feels amazing to be part of.
Are you a member of any associations, societies, or organizations?
Since 2013, I have served on the North Carolina Medical Board and am the Immediate Past President (2019). The past 6 years have given me a great perspective to the way medicine is regulated at the state level and it has been a privilege to watch our state tackle difficult obstacles such as the opioid crisis. Sitting on this board has helped me to be a better clinician and leader.
I am also a proud member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the North Carolinas Medical Society.
Regarding your time serving as CEO, please share with us what are you most proud of.
I have seen MEMA grow throughout my years here. A lot has changed for the better in my seventeen years as the medical director at Novant Matthews and then transitioning into the CEO role. Since taking on this role, my focus has been to work with the administration to focus on coordinating MEMA’s strategic plan with our hospital partner’s goals, our current value proposition, and what we plan to offer in the future.
There have been several large “wins” since becoming CEO including the motivation to phase out old buy-in platforms for incoming MEMA physicians. This took a lot of work; the new plan is a huge accomplishment for the future of physician recruiting for MEMA and staying competitive in today’s market.
When MEMA lost two contracts in 2010, all our physicians were able to keep their positions. We are still feeling the effects from 2010 believe it or not. However, MEMA is proud to remain a strong, independent physician group that stands on the belief that protecting the patients comes first.
If you were not CEO of MEMA, what would you want to be doing?
If you’re asking me about another career, I’m not sure I could see myself doing anything else. Being a physician is who I’ve become.
What’s your vision for MEMA in the next 5 years?
There are a few initiatives we are looking into and all center around continuing to create an extraordinary patient experience. We are a unique entity these days being an independent practice and honestly, it gives us a lot of freedom to maneuver easily and be creative with our hospital partner in the delivery of healthcare. We will continue to be the premier emergency department staffing practice in the Mid-Atlantic by focusing on our patients, our hospital partner, and our clinicians.