Bassett Chief Looks to Future

Bassett Chief Looks to Future

Jeff Joyner Leaving, Changes on Horizon


February rumors of a “big shakeup” on the horizon for Bassett Healthcare Network appeared to have been realized last week when information surfaced indicating that Jeff Joyner, senior vice president and chief hospital executive of A.O. Fox Hospital, would be leaving and some clinics would be closed. Bassett President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tommy Ibrahim addressed these reports on Tuesday, March 6 at his Cooperstown office

“Jeff Joyner has resigned to pursue other opportunities. He will be here for another three months,” said Ibrahim.
No details have been released as yet regarding plans to replace Joyner.

A.O. Fox Hospital is part of the Bassett Healthcare Network, along with Bassett Medical Center (formerly The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital), Cobleskill Regional Hospital, Little Falls Hospital and O’Connor Hospital in Delhi.

Attributing a scarcity of human resources, Ibrahim also confirmed that Bassett would be consolidating two women’s healthcare facilities in Oneonta and two primary care practices within the network. Some personnel are being relocated, he said, but there will be no layoffs as a result of the changes, and services will be relatively uninterrupted.
According to the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey, workforce challenges ranked number one on the list of hospital CEO’s top concerns in 2022. Financial challenges ranked second in the 2022 survey.

“This is a national phenomenon that is not going to improve any time soon,” Ibrahim agreed with regard to growing staffing challenges within the healthcare industry. “Two hundred thousand physicians left the healthcare system last year alone,” he said.

When asked how he reconciles all the positive news coming out of Bassett–the new telemedicine partnership with Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center, the network’s Primary Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission, Ibrahim’s own recent designation as a “Becker’s Hospital Review Rural CEO to Know”—with the negative public outcry in response to last week’s announcement that FoxCare Fitness will close on June 1, Ibrahim was unflinching in his resolve.

“There is no question that there are areas of the organization which require a lot of attention,” he replied. “We’re very in tune to what challenges exist.”

Financial concerns are driving many of the choices made by today’s hospital administrators. The decision to close FoxCare Fitness, for instance, came only after careful deliberation—“with the decline, it didn’t make sense.” Hospital and network leadership reached the decision to close following an extended period of declining membership and operational challenges, many of which are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ibrahim said he and his team are exploring different uses for the fitness center and evaluating other alternatives for the community. He thanked community members for reaching out with their concerns and suggestions.

Overall, Ibrahim spoke about operating performance and “making appropriate adjustments to ensure long-term success” in keeping with the changing healthcare climate, clients’ needs and industry trends.

“We’re working as fast as we can to meet those needs and support the community. We’re trying to reconstruct the Care Delivery Model. We’re working to augment our resources with other tools–virtual, digital, automated, AI.”
Ibrahim views the changes being made by Bassett transformational, but admits that change can lead to anxiety in the community.

As for Ibrahim and Bassett, moving forward under the public eye?

“We’re going to keep focusing on fulfilling our vision and our mission. The best is yet to come.”

Bassett Consolidation Details

The Stamford Health Clinic on State Route 23 closed temporarily last winter. It is now permanently closed. The Stamford Clinic on Main Street remains open and serving patients.

The Sidney Health Clinic on River Street will be closing permanently on March 31. After that time, these services will be consolidated to the network’s Sidney Health Clinic located on Pearl Street, which will remain open to serve the community.

Oneonta Women’s Health located next to Oneonta Specialty Services on Associate Drive will be permanently consolidating to the Women’s Health Clinic at FoxCare Center. Construction to expand the FoxCare Center Women’s Health Clinic begins this month. The consolidation is slated to take place sometime this summer. After Women’s Health on Associate Drive moves into FoxCare Center, Oneonta Surgical Associates (currently located on Main Street) will move into the building that was formerly occupied by Women’s Health on Associate Drive.
All patients who receive care at these practices have been or are being directly notified.

5 thoughts on “Bassett Chief Looks to Future

  1. Teresa Winchester

    Thank you for this informative and well-written article. The Morris Health Clinic was also shut down, abruptly ceasing operations in August, 2021. Patients were asked to “transition” their care the Norwich Health Center. As alternatives, they were also referred to Bassett centers in Oneonta and Sidney, all of these locations adding distance to health care access. Morris Health Center serviced approximately 900 patients. Area demographics would indicate that many of these patients were elderly, low income, and in need of transportation services for healthcare. Having to travel greater distances makes health care less accessible to them.
    At the time of its closing, the Morris Health Center offered a wide range of patient services, including: annual physical exams, cancer screenings, family planning, flu shots, and a dozen more.
    A Sept. 28, 2021, Gabrielle Argo, identified at the time as “interim network manager, marketing and communications, Bassett Healthcare Network,” as stating: “We are re-scheduling appointments at other locations in the meantime until a new practitioner is assigned to Morris Health Center.” Nevertheless, the clinic has remained closed for a year and a half.
    An August 31, 2022 Bassett Healthcare announced receipt of an $82 million grant from the Scriven Foundation, an arm of the Clark Foundation. With the grant, Bassett stated its intention to make “rapid improvements resulting in greater patient care access.” One of the specific applications for grant monies was to “fund new programs to address the challenges rural health care operations encounter every day.”
    Bassett’s media release regarding the grant states, “Bassett has strived to provide excellent patient care as a leader in fostering healthy rural communities for more than a century.” By closing health centers in Morris, Sidney, and Stamford, Bassett is falling short of its stated mission.

  2. Elaine

    The networks “Words” of serving the rural communities don’t appear to match its “Actions”. Changes are inevitable but why do most of the closings of service seem to be in populations that need them. Looking at figures and data can move your eyes away from who the orginization is to serve, the people. And by the way, when was the last time the people in the village of Cooperstown lost health care services? It is hard to understand how an organization actions are so far from their mission statement.

  3. Rach K

    I could not agree more with the sentiments posted above. Bassett Network leadership has no desire to truly serve to advance the health of rural populations…its resume padding and “innovative” trifling that makes leadership “look good”; unfortunately, our rural, impoverished, and most vulnerable residents are the ones to suffer. Well done, Dr. Ibrahim…well done…

  4. Gidget

    It is a fact that; the majority of providers leaving the medical profession and facilities is connected to the mandate of vaccines and masks.
    Hospital inpatient floor care is an unsafe and disaster, due to short staffing.
    We personally experienced neglect and health decline as an in patient at Bassett. Bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, lack of hygiene care. Thank God for the wonderful care and safe staffing in ICU & SCU. Life was saved in these units.
    Staffing is a serious problem. Need to end the mandate control of vaccines and masks.

  5. Fran LaRocca

    It was hard to keep up with all the moving around. I could understand it may help if all related services could come to one
    location. What I liked about Bassett is that most of the services have already come to one location. Bassett is a 50 mile ride for me and it would be helpful if I could have not just one appointment at a time. We need PT and the warm water pool as is, this just adds to our health and mental health. If the pool closes the appointments will be overwhelming for pains, no way to exercise. PT will be overwhelmed with appointments. Now 6 weeks is a long time to get an appointment. If you are in a car accident, they have the machines to lower you into the water to teach you how to walk again. I have seen this done to help a young man get into the water. You can’t find that at the Y. You can’t find parking at the Y. I can’t climb stairs to get up to the cold pools. The elevator can’t fit a wheelchair. I got stuck in the elevator once and that was it. The hot tub is for one person. If you are old, you have nothing for us to keep us fit and social visits are out which helps older people enjoy for mental health.

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