News of Otsego County

bassett healthcare network

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Online Planetarium Show 03-26-21

Online Planetarium Show


PLANETARIUM – 7 p.m. Explore the universe, learn whats new in the field of astronomy in fun virtual planetarium show with the SUNY staff and Nebula society students. Free, registration on Eventbrite required. Presented by the A.J. Read Science Discovery Center, SUNY Oneonta. 607-436-2011 or visit

Bassett Hits Home Run

Bassett Hits Home Run

Goal Is 120,000 Shots
In One Hundred Days

State Approves ‘Massive Vaccination Site’
In SUNY Oneonta, To Begin On Thursday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

In a “vaccine desert,” suddenly there’s an oasis.

After weeks of lobbying and some heightened expectation, it’s here: Bassett Healthcare Network announced Tuesday afternoon, March 16, that a COVID-19 “massive vaccination site” would be opening two days later, the 18th, in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Field House.

The clinic, staffed by 30 “clinical professionals” from Bassett and a National Guard unit, will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Registration, via, began the following morning, Wednesday the 17th.

The goal is to ramp up to 1,200 vaccinations a day for three or four months, according to Brinton Muller, Bassett’s Emergency Preparedness manager, who is managing the site.

Ballpark, that could be 100,000 people in the next 100 days.

SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena hasn’t been the focus of such regional attention since Tony Bennett sang at its opening in 1999.

People from across the state can get vaccinated here, but most people surrounding counties – Chenango, Schoharie and, to a lesser degree, Delaware – were already only a half-hour from “massive sites” at Binghamton, Utica or Albany.

That isolation is why former state senator Jim Seward, who lobbied for the site on Bassett’s behalf, said he used the “vaccine desert” term in his conversations with the Governor’s Office.

It just makes sense that Otsego County’s population will benefit most from the new site’s convenience.

“It’s been a long haul already,” said Seward, who himself was stricken with COVID in March 2020. “It would be wonderful to close it up by the Fourth of July, like President Biden said.”

Persistence, Luck Wins Margaret Wolff Vaccination

310th Out Of 310

Persistence, Luck Wins
Margaret Wolff Vaccination

After receiving her Moderna shot Saturday, Jan. 30, Margaret Wolff cuts fabric at Heartworks, her Fly Creek store, for Wendy Alley of Oneonta. (Michael Forster Rothbart/


Margaret Wolff was one of the lucky ones.

She was one of the first 310 members of the general public to receive their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Bassett Hospital’s first public clinic Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Clark Sports Center.

For three weeks she’d tried to get a vaccine appointment. Some days she got online at 6 a.m., figuring she might find an available slot when few people were awake. She heard a rumor that the state Department of Health made appointments available at noon, so she logged in then, even though it was difficult to do so during work. Nothing was available.

Last Friday evening, a friend called to say there were open appointments at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica. She got right on her computer and tried for three hours. “It said they had appointments, but the website was down for maintenance,” she said. “I kept refreshing it ’til 9 o’clock and then I thought, ‘The heck with this, I’m just not going to do this,’” and went to bed.

Cuomo Calls Out Fox

Cuomo Calls Out Fox

Use Vaccine Or Lose It, He Says



In a daily press conference Monday, Jan. 4, Governor Cuomo called out Fox Hospital: If the Oneonta facility doesn’t use its anti-COVID vaccine allocation more quickly, it won’t get any more.

The governor said Fox had only used 18 percent of the doses it has.

Bassett Healthcare Network’s spokesman, Karen Huxtable-Hooker, said that figure is actually 30 percent as of Tuesday the 5th, both at Fox and its Tri-Town Campus in Sidney.

In all, she said, more than 2,000 Bassett Network staffers had been vaccinated, with 52 percent of the Moderna virus supply used up. The network employs 5,200 people over nine counties.

Bassett Hospital received its Moderna allotment Dec. 23, and immediately began vaccinating, Huxtable-Hooker said, and continues “to offer vaccination clinics for our health care staff, as do all of the hospitals in the Bassett network.”

The pace of vaccinations is just one challenge Bassett is facing, along with rising hospitalization – “double what it was in November,” she said. “The continued escalation of COVID-19 cases is challenging resources, but (at Bassett Hospital) we are managing.”

This is the chart Governor Cuomo released  Monday, Jan. 4, showing Fox Hospital near the bottom in the number of staffers vaccinated.

“Fortunately, with five hospitals in the network, we are able to make use of all available beds to meet patient needs to identify space within our hospitals that can appropriately be converted for patient care needs as demand dictates,” she said.

On a “case-by-case basis,” she continued, some elective surgeries that require hospital says have been postponed “ to have those beds available for seriously ill patients,” Huxtable-Hooker said.

Despite such challenges, healthcare workers see the vaccine as a light at the end of the tunnel.

Some staffers have declined the vaccine, “but this has been the exception,” the spokesman said. “Most staff members are anxious to receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible and can be scheduled.”

While there are two bills in the state Legislature seeking to mandate that healthcare workers and others be vaccinated, they have not yet been acted on. (See related story, Page A1).


Nor has the state Department of Health issued any such order, so “we cannot require staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but we are strongly encouraging it,” Huxtable-Hooker said.

Meanwhile, she said, masks, social distancing, hand-washing and the like is being encouraged to reduce transmission, she said.

At his Sunday, Jan. 3 press conference, Cuomo said 70-90 percent of New Yorkers need to be vaccinated to push back COVID-19, part of his dismay at the vaccination rate.

If hospitals do not use up their allotment they may face fines and/or possible disqualification from future vaccine distributions, according to Cuomo’s statements.

“Bassett Healthcare Network continues holding vaccination clinics with the goal of using the vaccine allocated to us,” Huxtable-Hooker said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Jan. 9 and Jan. 16, asymptomatic rapid testing will be available to the public as long as supplies last at Bassett’s Oneonta location on 125 Main St.

Reservations are required by calling 607-433-6510 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The network is working to schedule other locations and dates for asymptomatic testing.

Hospital Awaits 1st Vaccine

Hospital Awaits 1st Vaccine

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


With the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine just days away from a likely approval, Bassett Hospital is prepping to give the first vaccination to one of its healthcare workers as the New Year starts.

“It will be a celebration by our organization,” said Dr. Kelly Rudd, Clinical Pharmacy technician. “It’s a way to celebrate the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”

Though 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were shipped across New York State this week, Bassett has opted for the Moderna vaccine, which has similar efficiency against COVID-19, but requires less refrigeration.

“Because it doesn’t need the ultra-cold storage like the Pfizer vaccine, it’s easier to store and transport throughout our region so we can reach more patients in our service area,” said Rudd.

According to news reports, 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be distributed by the state Department of Health, the first going to “high risk” hospitals and nursing home patients.

“We submitted our total number of employees to the state,” Rudd said. “We’re not anticipating that the whole supply will come in one shipment, so we’re working on stratification, determining who is in the closest proximity to COVID patients, age, who is at the highest risk with underlying conditions, so we can vaccinate them first.”

The Moderna vaccine, like Pfizer’s, is given in two doses, 28 days apart. “One of the things we have to look at is how to structure those vaccinations,” said Rudd. “If one of our healthcare workers begins showing symptoms, we want to be able to monitor to see if it is because they are sick or if it’s side effects, so we don’t want to vaccinate everyone at once.”

Though not made up of the live COVID virus, the vaccine can cause similar side effects, including fevers, chills and joint pain for a few days after the shot is administered.

After all “high-risk” people are vaccinated, the second tier is “essential” workers, such as county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.
However, it could be several months before the vaccine is ready for the public, Rudd said.

“People need to know that they’re not going to get it for Christmas,” said Dr. Charles Hyman, attending physician, Infectious Diseases.

But when the vaccine is available to the public – Hyman suggests end of April – plans are beginning to form about how to get it out to the public.

“I think it will be a slow roll-out,” said Bond.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Covid-19 Vaccine Webinar 12-17-20

Covid-19 Vaccine Webinar


COVID19 VACCINE – Noon – 1 p.m. Find out what you need to know about the Covid19 vaccine before it arrives. Sign in on Zoom or call on your phone to listen. Presented by Bassett Healthcare Network. Dial 1-646-876-9923, Meeting ID 472-571-706, Password 141314 or visit with passcode 729538 to watch.

Bassett Appoints Vice Presidents To Lead Physician, Nursing Corps

Bassett Appoints Vice Presidents

To Lead Physician, Nursing Units

Dr. Robinson
Dr. Knight

COOPERSTOWNDr. Reginald Knight has been appointed the new senior vice president, chief physician executive for Bassett Healthcare Network, Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president/CEO announced today.

Dr. Denise Robinson has accepted the role of senior vice president, chief nurse executive for the network, Ibrahim also announced.

Bassett CEO Announces 5 More Key Promotions

Bassett CEO Announces

5 More Key Promotions

Hellenthal, Weil, Wiley Joining

Dr. Ibrahim’s Executive Team


COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare Network this afternoon announced five more key appointments to new President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim’s executive team.

The four will join “internal leaders from across the network who will be the core team to help drive system change,” said Ibrahim, in making the announcement.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our industry and change can’t wait,” he said. “We have a solid foundation across the network on which to build and we are fortunate to be operating from a stable financial position.”

Appointed are:

Oklahoma Doctor, Integris Executive, To Succeed Streck

Oklahoma Doctor,

Integris Executive,

To Succeed Streck

Tommy Ibrahim To Oversee

8-County Healthcare System

Dr. Tommy Ibrahim is next president/CEO of the Bassett Healthcare Network

COOPERSTOWN – Dr. Tommy Ibrahim has been appointed as the next Bassett Healthcare Network president/CEO, succeeding Bill Streck as head of the eight-county hospital system.  He is expected to arrived here in mid to late July.

Extending a Bassett tradition for its chief executives, he is a physician.

Dr. Ibrahim, 39, has held leadership positions within the healthcare industry for the past 14 years, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief physician executive for Integris Health System, the largest not-for-profit and state-owned health care system in Oklahoma.

U.S. News & World Report placed Integris on its list of Top 25 healthcare systems in the U.S.

Tri-Town Hospital Moves Under Fox Hospital’s Wing

Tri-Town Hospital Moves

Under Fox Hospital’s Wing

Tri-Town Hospital becomes Fox Hospital/Tri-Town Campus on Jan. 1.

SIDNEY – Due to a state regulation requiring satellite emergency departments to be within 35 miles of an acute care hospital, Tri-Town Regional Hospital will come under the purview of Oneonta’s Fox Hospital on Jan. 1.

The facility will be renamed Fox Hospital – Tri-Town Campus with the new year, according to Andrew Manzer, Bassett Healthcare Network vice president/COO.

Bassett Splits Duties Of CEO, President

Bassett Splits Duties

Of CEO, President

Dr. Brown Will Run Network;

New Hospital President Sought

Vance Brown is focusing his efforts on overseeing the Bassett Healthcare Network.

COOPERSTOWN – The Bassett Healthcare Network today announced it is breaking off the responsibilities of Bassett Hospital president from those of network CEO after the network board adopted an “active parent” model of management on Jan. 1.

Dr. Vance M. Brown, who has held both positions, said will remain as network CEO, and that Dr. William LeCates, medical director and VP of medical affairs, will become deputy president of the hospital while a transition team recruits a president.

Midstate Executive Appointed Bassett Chief Operating Officer

Midstate Executive Appointed

Bassett Chief Operating Officer

Andrew R. Manzer
Andrew R. Manzer

COOPERSTOWN – Andrew R. Manzer,  a hospital president/CEO in Schuyler County, has been selected as executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Bassett Healthcare Network, effective March 1, Bassett President/CEO Vance Brown announced today.

As COO, Manzer will be responsible for the operating performance of Bassett Hospital and for leading operational efficiencies and performance across the Bassett Network, including Fox Hospital.  He will also be tasked with helping to envision and create models of operational integration, structures and systems that will best position the network for success, Brown said.

He succeeds Bertine McKenna, who announced her plans to retire last April.

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