This mini-editorial is prompted by our next two editions’ editorials: This coming week, the topic is, of course, Christmas. The following week, Citizen of the Year.
We all depend on Bassett, particularly in Otsego County on the mother ship, Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, and Fox Hospital in Oneonta, for our health, for employment, as a magnet for brainy people, for economic development and for the general vitality of our communities.
So every one of us has a stake in Bassett’s success, as do the seven counties beyond Otsego that the system serves.
In announcing OneBassett a week ago Friday, the Network President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim reported the eight-county system has run in the red for the past four years. Obviously, that can’t go on.
OneBassett aims to put the system at break-even by the end of 2021, Ibrahim said, with a goal of profitability after that.
The new system being implemented seeks to level five “silos” – the five hospitals – spreading expertise across the system. For instance, the Cooperstown-based Radiation Oncology, which has a growing reputation, would be managed “horizontally” across the system, elevating treatments in all hospitals to the same high level. Orthopedics is likewise acclaimed.
As implementation goes forward, this type of horizontal management will become the rule, assisted by the Telehealth initiative you’ve seen advertised everywhere.
OneBassett is just being rolled out, but take a look at the Human Resources portal, which has centralize all hiring functions in a single place. You can see how this approach, expanded across the system, will improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness across the board.
This, of course, has required some job shifts. In his announcement, Ibrahim announced 41 jobs will be eliminated over the winter, and the people holding those positions, through a program called SCORE, will mostly be found new jobs. That amounts to shifts in less than one percent of employees, pretty remarkable.
The management ranks are harder hit, proportionally, as makes sense. Five manager, one in each hospital, can now be replaced by one.
For years, some people in Cooperstown mourned the hominess lost when stand-alone Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital began to expand. Now, it’s generally realized expansion was necessary for survival.
The point is, there’s a plan to strengthen the Bassett Healthcare Network, one that’s working at Ibrahim’s former employer, nine-hospital Integris system in Oklahoma, and at healthcare systems across the country.
Big plans can be scary; but the alternative is moreso. Bassett has served Otsego County well; given the Otsego focus of its board, we can expect it to. Let’s get behind OneBassett, with the expectation it will work.