RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Betty Jo Chase, 69, a native of Florida who served for many years as a nurse’s aide at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, passed away following a brief illness Saturday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2019, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.
Born Jan. 29, 1950, in Milton, Fla., Betty was one of nine children of Clarence and Leona (Mack) Richardson. Raised in Santa Rosa County, Fla., she graduated from Milton High School and then attended nursing school in Pensacola.
EDMESTON — Elizabeth G. “Betty” Mumbulo, 88, of Edmeston, a nurse’s aide and home-care nurse for many years, passed away Friday March 16, 2018, surrounded by her loving family.
Betty was born in Newark, between Syracuse and Rochester, on March 13, 1930, and was the daughter of the late Archibald and Zora Welch Caulder. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband William on Oct. 15, 2011.
Betty graduated from Edmeston Central School Class of 1948, and attended nurse’s training in Newark. She married the love of her life, William on Dec. 25, 1949, and raised a family on their dairy farm on New Berlin Road.
SPRINGFIELD CENTER – Betty Linney Bosc, 88, who spent her career as an EEG technician and head secretary at Bassett Hospital, passed away peacefully with her family by her side on Thursday evening, Nov. 9, 2017, at Focus Otsego in Cooperstown.
She was born Feb. 21,1929, in Cooperstown, the daughter of the late William and Alice (Bebee) Linney. Betty graduated from Springfield Central High School in 1946. On Feb. 21, 1947, Betty married Ernest A. Bosc.
ONEONTA – To Brittany Hall of Milford, Hartwick College’s three-year-degree program – now marking its 10th anniversary – isn’t just about saving $40,000 on a bachelor’s degree, although that’s enticement enough.
Before making her decision, she scouted all nursing programs within an hour, and realized the hour commute each day would prevent her from working part time while in school.
Now in her third year, the daughter of Cynthia and Mark Miller spends one day a week in classes – a 15-minute drive away – and two days, 12 hours each, in a practicum at Bassett Hospital – 15 minutes in the other direction.
Because of the convenience, on one of her Bassett days she’s still able to scoot into Oneonta and collaborate with teammates in preparing their senior thesis, “Music Therapy and Pediatrics.
A Milford Central School graduate, Brittany learned what Hartwick had to offer from MCS classmate Neala Havener, daughter for Jeanne-Marie Havener, the college’s former director of the nursing program.
Originally, she intended to get her associate’s degree, then work while studying for her bachelor’s. But the profession is evolving, she concluded: You’ll soon need a bachelor’s for jobs you can do with an associate’s today; and a master’s for what you can now do with a bachelor’s.
In three years at Hartwick, she was able to hopscotch ahead. “I was able to get to my end goal faster,” she said, “and that was important to me.”
When Margaret L. Drugovich arrived on Oyaron Hill as president in 2008, the three-year degree was one of her priority initiatives. “It was our responsibility to offer it,” she had concluded in her previous 10 years as Ohio Wesleyan’s vice president for enrollment and strategic communications.
She had seen how parents wanted their children to experience a Liberal Arts education in a private college like Hartwick, and how they struggled financially to achieve it.
In 2009-10, the first year, 22 members of the college’s freshman class joined in the three-year program. This year, 95 are enrolled over four years. The peak year, 120 students participated.
That’s about 6-8 percent of the study body. “We’d like to have that higher – 15 percent,” Drugovich said.
The three-year degree creates internal challenges for faculty, in particular setting up the sequence of classes so requirements can be met in less than four years.
“We didn’t tell academic departments that they had to participate,” according to the president. Nonetheless, they stepped up: 27 or the 35 courses of study are participating.
And subject matter is widespread, in nursing, biology, psychology, poli-sci, business. In three- and four-year programs alike, “year in, year out, these are our most popular majors,” she said.
Sensitivity to student finances has brought results in other ways that might surprise many people: For instance, 40 percent of Hartwick students receive federal Pell grants that are based on income eligibility.
“They need us to deliver their education as economically as possible,” Drugovich said. “Economic diversity – we see it on this campus.”
As Brittany Hall pointed out, tuition savings isn’t the only motivation. Participants include students who know what they want to do, and know an advance degree is required. “They want to enter their careers early,” said the president.
As case in point: Lauren Gifford, also in her final year of three.
She was salutatorian of her Deposit Central School class, and a standout field hockey and softball player with lots of community service through her and her mom Mary Kay Gifford’s involvement in St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in her hometown.
As for motivation, she’d earned 35 college credits by the time she got her high school diploma.
“I was interested in Hartwick,” she recounted while working the cash register at Table Rock, the on-campus convenience store. “At some point in my tour, I found out about the three-year program. I was very interested in that.”
It was a “huge factor” in her decision, and she’s focused, staying on campus during Hartwick’s January study-abroad program and completing a semester-long course in three weeks.
Nonetheless, she’s experienced campus life. She’s a teaching assistant in the “Introduction to Psychology” course, works in the psych research lab, tutors writing, and is a member of the Theta Phi Alpha sorority.
She hopes to be a school counselor and, if she wishes on graduation, can immediately go into a master’s program.
“I haven’t found there are any downsides to the three-program,” she said.
RICHFIELD SPRINGS — Mary Jane Jackson, 63, a nurse’s aide at the county’s Meadows Nursing Home for 35 years, passed away on Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, 2019, in Bassett Hospital. She had the support and comfort of her loving family at her side.
Mary was born on Aug. 5, 1956, in Amsterdam, daughter of the late Victor B. and Dorothy R. Damulis. A lifelong area resident, she was a graduate of Richfield Springs High School.
ONEONTA — Ann Lewis Enright, 79, Fox Hospital’s former director of nursing services and a nurse anesthetist at Bassett Hospital for 20 years, passed away on Dec. 1, 2019, with her loving husband, Dennis, by her side.
Ann was born on June 26, 1940, in Bainbridge, the daughter of Randolph and Helen Foote Lewis. She graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1958.
After graduating, Ann attended the nursing program at C.S. Wilson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Johnson City. Upon graduation in 1961, Ann was presented with the Medical Nursing Award and became a registered nurse after successfully passing the New York State Professional Licensing Exam.
Q&A WITH DR. VANCE BROWN, NEW BASSETT PRESIDENT/CEO
Dr. Vance Brown, MaineHealth chief medical officer and future Bassett Healthcare president/CEO, answered these e-mailed questions from Hometown Oneonta/Freeman’s Journal editor Jim Kevlin about his decision to take the Bassett helm.
1. What was it that interested you in the Bassett CEO position specifically?
Bassett is one of a small number of organizations that I have kept my eye on for quite some time. I have been well aware of their physician employment model for many years after reading about this in the New York Times. I believe that providing clinicians with a salary is an important consideration in helping them make decisions that are in the best interest of the patient rather than anyone else’s economic interests. Bassett has also done a really good job in recent years of building an integrated delivery system—in other words, lining up all the resources necessary for good patient care and a good patient experience. This has been a lot of my work here in Maine the last few years, and the work and model in your region has been of interest to me. When one looks nationwide, there are not many organizations that have the commitment to rural health and the structures that you see in place at Bassett. I had determined a while ago that I would like to have a leadership role in an organization like Bassett; thus when the opportunity presented itself, it was a simple decision to explore this in earnest.
2. When you visited, what impressed you about the place and confirmed your original interest?
The thing that really impressed me on my visits was the commitment of the organization to the missions of patient care, teaching and training of the next generation of practitioners, and advancing the science of what we do. It is also very clear that there is a strong commitment to community health improvement that is very important to me as well. For an organization of Bassett’s size, this is a very ambitious agenda and it is easy for many organizations to get distracted from these multiple missions, but I saw continued commitment to these efforts
despite strong potential distractions.
3. Obviously, with the ACA and other imperatives, challenges await. What would you say are the top three facing hospitals in general and Bassett in particular?
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the changes that are taking place in healthcare delivery and financing are staggering right now. I believe that the major challenges facing all healthcare organizations are in providing access to care for a larger number of individuals, but doing so in a far more cost effective fashion than we have historically done. This puts strains on everyone, but particularly rural delivery systems which face challenges in terms of competition for clinical providers, financial challenges from the relatively poor reimbursement available in caring for more rural populations, and the needs to scale the delivery system across a geographically distributed population in smaller settings.
At some level it causes everyone to ask, “where is this all going?”. I think that it is particularly difficult to bring some of these changes about while engaging in front end care. The situation is not terribly different from trying to both build and fly the airplane at the same time. It is particularly challenging to engage the providers of that care in meaningful discussions while they are so busy solving the day-to-day crises that are inherent in clinical medicine.
4. Can you talk (write) a bit about similarities between MaineHealth and Bassett system? Salaries doctors, rural setting (outside Portland), etc. Have you been involved in a particularly successful innovation at MaineHealth that might be transferrable here?
MaineHealth and the Bassett Healthcare Network are similar in many regards, although the Bassett system is smaller than MaineHealth. Both serve a large geographic region and a largely rural population and experience some challenging weather conditions. Many folks don’t know this about Maine, but it is one of the most rural states in the country—well over 60% of Mainers live in
communities of less than 2,000 which is the highest percentage of any state. We have four critical access hospitals in our system. A very large percentage of physicians within our system, particularly in the smaller communities, are salaried as the economics of private practice are very difficult here in Maine. Maine is also the oldest state in the country on a statistical basis so the challenges of meeting the needs of an older rural population that is aging in place are very
familiar to me.
Being a state with a small population (1.3 million), almost everyone in healthcare in Maine knows almost everyone else. As a result, there is a lot more collaboration rather than competition although no one is a complete stranger to this. As most of our hospitals and healthcare providers are “sole source”, this gives us an extra set of responsibilities to make sure that we are meeting the needs of the community. This has lead to some great opportunities for learning together, and there is a lot of innovative activity going on in the state as well as within our healthcare system.
I am particularly proud of some of the outcomes we have collectively been able to achieve in improving quality. Our organization has almost a 50% statewide market share in the delivery of care and Maine is one of the top 2-3 states in the country for the quality of care that is delivered based upon objective criteria. This requires virtually constant efforts at improvement and a culture dedicated to continuous improvement. I hope to bring continued emphasis on this to the
5. Growing up in small town Maine, what got you interested in medicine?Family members in medicine? A particular experience? An inspiring teacher?
While I am a Maine native, I largely grew up in a small town in Ohio and only over the last 6 years have I had the opportunity to return to Maine to live and practice. For someone from a small town who is a primary care doctor by training, I have had a somewhat different background. I did not know that I wanted to go to medical school until the close of college. I went to Stanford University in California and as an undergraduate was exposed to some of the most brilliant minds in the world of biomedical research. I was inspired by these scientists (many of them originally trained as physicians) and applied to medical school sure that I was going to do basic science research. In between college and medical school, I spent a year in the VISTA program (similar to today’s
AmeriCorps) living in a rural community outside of Muskogee, Oklahoma. I saw there for the first time how many people in rural communities did not have access to great health care or any care at all and the sometimes dire consequences that had on their health and families. That experience stayed with me, and once I got exposed to patient care in medical school, I really wasn’t as interested in becoming a basic science researcher any longer.
I am the first medical doctor in the family, although I have three uncles on my Dad’s side of the family who were veterinarians with two of them having a general practice including large animals here in Maine. They constantly have chided me over the years that human medicine was the easy way out. Having done some barnyard rounds with them a couple of times when I was young, I have to say that I think they were probably right.
6. When you look back on your career to date, does a particular “learning experience” come to mind, something that surprised you, caused you to change your approach or view of your profession?
Anyone who is honest with themselves and gets to the point in their career where I am realizes that they, at times, made decisions about patients which were well intentioned and seemed right, but sometimes turned out to have been wrong. Despite our best efforts, ours is still an inexact science.
This is continuously humbling and difficult to understand when the consequences of our decisions are often so significant. While circumstances and experiences where you have less than optimal outcomes are disconcerting, they are the best teachers—they teach you about yourself, your colleagues, and more importantly about what you and the organization that you work in need to do to continue to improve.
7. Are you married? Children? Are you bringing family to town?
I am fortunate enough to have been married to my wife Lauren for the last 29 years. She is by background a Nurse Practitioner and is originally from Connecticut. We have one son, who graduated from college this last spring and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Remaining close to both sides of our family, which we will be able to do in Cooperstown, is an important priority for both of us. We have had a camp in the northern Adirondacks for about 10 years that we share with my sister’s family, and we hope to be able to be able to use it more now that we will be living in central New York.
8. Is there something in particular, not covered here, that you would like to communicate to your future community?
Given the organizational reputation and the good work that I have seen in my visits to Cooperstown and other parts of the network, I am really pleased and honored to have been selected to help lead Bassett and the Bassett Healthcare Network. I recognize that it is an enormous responsibility and will make every effort to help the organization succeed in its critical missions. I am sure that I have a lot to learn from everyone in the community and hope to be a good listener. Lauren and I are already very grateful for the warm welcome that we have received. I look forward to meeting you!
Editorial For the Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 11-12, 2014
The future of hospitals is murky, certainly to the general public (and general newspapers), perhaps even to the experts at One Atwell Road, Cooperstown, who are paid to think about it and react to their best estimations. We may reach a point where hospitals struggle to find enough talented doctors capable of doing the most skilled work. However, as long as there are professional recruiting services such as avidian in the medical industry, there should be a sufficient number of talented doctors at our hospitals
It doesn’t take a fevered imagination, however, to conclude that Bassett Hospital and its presence in Otsego County – Oneonta’s Fox included – won’t be the same 10 years from now as it is today.
Earlier this year, an e-mail from Dr. Vance Brown, Bassett’s new president/CEO, suggested it might make sense to shift pediatrics and some other specialties from Cooperstown to Oneonta. Then, earlier this month, the hospital announced it is moving 40 tech-support jobs into a downtown Utica office building, and plans to shift 125 in all over the next five years.
That’s the equivalent of a 125-job plant closing.
Bassett has been saying its strategic plan is seven years old, largely not implemented because of the impact it would have had on its Cooperstown neighborhood. And a new one is not yet ready.
The lack of such a plan, it seems, isn’t preventing action.
At the end of September, Bassett’s Cooperstown neighbors filled the Village Board meeting with bodies and strong objections to a proposed “hospital zone,” fearful such a designation would simplify approval of any hospital projects.
In particular, fears were voiced that a “dormitory” is planned for the 20 students here part of the year through the Bassett-Columbia Presbyterian medical school, which aims to train physicians interested in practicing in rural settings.
A few weeks later, Jane Forbes Clark, who chairs the Bassett trustees’ facilities committee, Dr. Brown, and Jonathan Flyte, vice president/facilities planning, convened a meeting in the hospital’s Clark Auditorium to hear neighbors’ concerns, and such sensible, doable ideas as replacing gasoline-run shuttle buses with quieter, cleaner electric ones were discussed. The neighbors were praiseful.
Such positive outreach should be welcomed by all. But the concerns of neighbors – a couple of dozen households, compared to 24,000 countywide – shouldn’t stifle the larger question:
Are Cooperstown and Otsego County doing enough to create optimum circumstances wherein a Bassett system, headquartered locally, can continue to thrive?
(While we’re at it, whatever housing situation is optimum for med students, who may practice here after graduation, is what they should get.)
The Village of Cooperstown spent 18 months studying what became the controversial “hospital zone” proposal, but officials involved say they have little idea of Bassett’s vision for the future. That’s getting the horse-drawn ambulance before the horse.
In explaining the Utica initiative, it was noted that the new location would allow collaboration with local colleges – SUNY/IT, Utica College and USC, presumably – to ensure Bassett can hire the needed tech-support personnel. We have a SUNY campus, Hartwick College and a USC branch. Why didn’t those conversations happen here?
And parking! Frequently, patients can’t find it around the Cooperstown hospital. And 200 spaces for employee parking were recently moved from behind the Clark Sports Center, where an expansion is planned, to Gary Enck’s former Corvette dealership in Hartwick Seminary; for nurses and technicians commuting from Schoharie or Ilion, that adds 20 minutes at each day’s beginning and end. If parking can’t work for patients or staff, something’s got to give. Please, build a deck.
The late Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, who, among other things, had served on a hospital board in the Rochester area, believed the successful healthcare system of the future will need to serve a population of 1.2 million. Bassett’s eight counties comprise about half that. And there’s the more populous Mohawk Valley, waiting, waiting.
This is clear: Bassett, the county’s largest employer, its convenient and well-regarded healthcare services are among the county’s signature assets, is exploring options beyond Cooperstown and Otsego County.
Perhaps it should. Perhaps it must. But we should expect our community leaders, in Cooperstown, Oneonta and Otsego County, to be fully up to speed on the pressures Bassett is facing, and doing what they can – whatever they can – to ensure the healthcare system’s presence here is as robust as possible for as long as possible.
Mayor Katz, Mayor Southard, county board Chair Kathy Clark – find out how we can achieve that. Dr. Brown, bring the community into this critical conversation.
At this point, let’s not ask what Bassett can do for us, but what we can do for Bassett.
COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare is looking to bring Oneida Healthcare into the Cooperstown-based network as a “full member” at the end of a two-year agreement reached this month, Bassett President/CEO Vance Brown reported today in a letter to employees.
“Under the terms of the two-year agreement (signed Dec. 9), OHC will remain an independent organization governed by its current board,” Brown wrote. However, “if the initial working relationship proves beneficial for both organizations, it would be both parties’ ambition to bring Oneida Healthcare into BHN as a full member.”
The Bassett CEO calls Oneida Healthcare “an ideal partner,” as it is financially sound and has a 101-bed acute-care hospital on Genesee Street in the City of Oneida, “just down the road from Bassett’s primary care clinic in that city.”
Here is the full text of the memorandum of understanding:
RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Barbara Atwell Roberts, 87, formerly of Richfield Springs and a retired operating room nurse at Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, died Feb. 21, 2019, of heart failure at Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H.
She lived at Havenwood Heritage Heights in Concord for the past nine years.
Raised in the Baptist church, Barb’s unshakable faith guided and strengthened her throughout her life, in happy times and sad times. She lost her son at age 10 and survived domestic abuse. “Let your life speak,” say the Quakers, and Barb did so, with her gentle and forgiving nature, optimism, generosity, and most of all, loving kindness. She walked “cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.”
COOPERSTOWN – Dr. Bill Streck, Bassett Healthcare Network CEO, told the county’s Emergency Task Force Tuesday, March 17, that there’s still a shortage of Coronavirus test kits available locally.
Nonetheless, a lot of people have been swabbed at the testing tents set up outside Bassett facilities. “They are out there, and coming back slowly,” reported county Board Chair Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, who has been attending the task force meetings morning and afternoon for the past few days.
Streck “said he would not be surprised if some of them do come back positive,” said Bliss.
Still, Bliss and Task Force Chairman Allen Ruffles said, the hospital chief believes, “Things are going as well as can be expected.”
As of presstime, no cases of Coronavirus had surfaced in Otsego County, Bliss said. A Herkimer County case was being treated in Cooperstown.
Streck was meeting with the task force four days after calling a press conference at Bassett Hall, where he and three of his lieutenants, Drs. Bill LeCates, Bassett Hospital president; Steven Heneghan, clinical director, and Charles Hyman, infectious disease specialist, outlined Bassett’s protocol for tackling the disease.
The entrypoint for treatment, they said, was a newly established hotline, (607) 547-5555, that everyone with a cough, fever and other symptoms should call.
People will be reassured, or assigned to receive a swab test. Those results may lead to further evaluation. Bliss and Ruffles said many of those evaluation may be in people’s homes, via tele-medicine.
The idea is to keep people who may be infected out of the hospital, where they may spread the disease. To protect against that, on Monday Bassett also banned visitors from its hospitals.
Meanwhile, the hotline took off: More than 500 people placed calls on Monday alone. No numbers were available from Tuesday, but over the weekend, 200 people called on Saturday and 200 on Sunday.
“There is clearly a lot of demand for that phone line,” said Karen Huxtable-Hooker, Bassett spokesman. So much so that the healthcare network is looking to expand the number of staff fielding the calls.
As of Tuesday, more than 1,500 people in New York State had tested positive for the virus, up from 950 the day before; 814 of the cases were in the city. Twelve people have died from the virus in New York State, including at least seven in New York City.
About 20 percent of Bassett hotline callers are simply anxious and seeking information, and they are directed to the Bassett website or other sources that may answer their questions, Huxtable-Hooker said.
The majority of the calls are people with cold symptoms who are concerned they might have the virus. Staff questions each caller to determine their risk level, and if deemed necessary, they give them an appointment to go to one of the screening tents that have been set up at Bassett facilities. Those locations have the capacity to test for both the flu and to swab for COVID 19.
Flu tests can be processed by Basssett, but COVID 19 tests are sent to outside labs. Huxtable-Hooker could not immediately give statistics for how many COVID 19 tests had been sent out.
Individuals whose condition is more serious are routed to separate heated tents outside Bassett facilities, many of which are equipped with portable X-ray machines.
Most of those seen do not meet the risk criteria for the disease, Huxtable-Hooker said. She stressed that area residents should not go to the screening tents without first calling the hotline and getting an appointment.
Patients who are found to have the virus are sent home and must remain quarantined at home if they are not very ill. They can then be treated at home, in some cases remotely using electronic media, and only brought to a Bassett facility if it is deemed necessary.
The strategy is aimed at helping as many area residents as possible to determine if they have the virus, while protecting people with other health issues by minimizing the risk of bringing the virus into the hospital itself.
Earlier in the day Tuesday, Governor Cuomo gave a speech Tuesday sounding the alarm about the expanding scope of the COVID 19 crisis, and asked hospitals to seek ways of expanding their capacity to treat the sick ad to prepare for the worst.
“There is a curve, everyone’s talked about the height and the speed of the curve, and flattening the curve,” he said, referring to graphs seen in the media showing projected numbers of cases rising steeply past national hospital capacity. “I’ve said that curve is going to turn into a wave and is going to crash on the hospital system.”
He called on hospitals to come out of retirement to help with teh effort, and for medical students to roll up their sleeves and do what they can. Hospitals need to find room for more beds in their existing wards and locate additional spaces to expand into.
New York has 53,000 existing hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds but 19.5 million residents, he said. About 19 percent of those who become sick must be hospitalized.
Huxtable-Hooker said she believes Cuomo’s focus is largely on New York City, because it its population density. Nonetheless, she said, Bassett is expanding its bed capacity for isolation rooms to treat people with the virus.
“We have adequate physician support at this time,” she said. “Medical students at Bassett are assisting in follow-up calls to patients.
COVID 19 tests taken as part of the triage process related to the hotline have not yet come back from the outside labs, so there are no new findings to date, she said.
MORRIS – Marion Ruth Augusta Jacobsen Dodge, 94, nurse/teacher at Morris Central School for 25 years who enjoyed a full role in community life, died Wednesday, July 13, 2016, in the company of her family and her devoted caregivers at Hampshire House in Oneonta.
Marion was born June 4, 1922, in New York City, the eldest child of Bernhardt Jacobsen and Ruth Gregory Jacobsen. She grew up in Morris with her four brothers and two sisters and graduated from Morris Central School in 1939. Marion attended the Crouse-Irving School of Nursing in Syracuse, graduating as a registered nurse in 1944.
SPRINGFIELD – Harriette D. Weeks, 80, surgical nurse at Bassett Hospital who then spent 23 years at school nurse at Owen D. Young Central School in Van Hornesville, died Wednesday, Jan. 13, 12015.
She was born on May 16, 1935, the daughter of Edna and Kenneth Dunckel. She was one of three children. Survivors include her sister Audrey Nasby, sister in law Madeline Dunckel and family, several nieces and nephews, and her husband James Weeks. She was predeceased by her brother Harland Dunckel and her parents.
COOPERSTOWN – A $2.7 million start-up grant – one of only eight nationally – has been awarded to Bassett Hospital to train nurse practitioners to handle primary-care responsibilities in the eight-county network.
Bassett was one of eight institutions nationwide to receive the Health Resources and Services Administration grant.
The grant from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration will integrate the nurse-practitioner primary-care residency, to begin with, into primary-care practices at FoxCare Center in Oneonta.
Bassett Healthcare has located a five-story building in downtown Utica, and plans to move 40 “non-treatment” tech-support positions there from Cooperstown in the next year. That may expand to 125 over the next five years, according to Bassett’s spokesperson.
The 50,000-square-foot M&T Bank annex was part of a complex that includes the landmark “Gold Dome” building, but that’s not part of the real-estate Bassett obtained, according to spokesperson Karen Huxtable.
The decision on the building was announced in recent days and heralded by Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, who said, “This is another exciting day for the City of Utica. Having reputable regional companies like Bassett wanting to grow and expand in Utica speaks volumes of how far the City of Utica has come over the past three years.”
“The mayor agreed to give us 125 parking spaces, which was important,” said Huxtable.
Huxtable said the mayor dedicated 125 parking spaces in the vicinity for use by Bassett employees.
If Palmieri was elated, Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz was pensive. “I would like Bassett to remain focused on Cooperstown,” he said. “The absence of Bassett would be a crushing blow to the village.”
“That’s ‘the game,’” he said of the news. “Any other place is going to welcome it. Some people in Cooperstown will say, ‘Fine, let them go.’ That’s not a good vision for the future.”
This is Bassett’s first foray into Utica, although it has a clinic in Clinton, which is also in Oneida County, and it had been negotiation an affiliation with Rome General Hospital, on the other side of the city, but the negotiations fell apart earlier this year.
According to the official announcement, Bassett had been looking at office space in Utica for the past year. Huxtable said six sites were considered before this one was chosen. A Utica location, she said, is as convenient as Cooperstown for many of Bassett’s employees who live in northern Otsego County and the Mohawk Valley.
The location will also allow Bassett to develop connections with SUNY/IT in Marcy and Utica College to help fill the healthcare system’s hiring needs, Huxtable said.
Bassett’s new president/CEO, Vance Brown, called the new location part of “an exciting partnership” with the City of Utica. “We’re very appreciative of the support of Mayor Palmieri and his team.”