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News of Otsego County

Bill LeCates

Now It’s ‘OneBassett’

Now It’s ‘OneBassett’

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Dr. Ibrahim

‘OneBassett” is here, Network President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim announced Friday, Dec. 11, and it will lead Bassett Healthcare Network to profitability after four years in the red.

In an interview, Ibrahim said the reorganization of the eight-county system that began when he arrived in June from Integris Health Systems in Oklahoma is largely complete. Still, “we’re in the first stages of transformation,” he said. “Now the real work begins.”

As an example of where the 5,200-job organization is going, he cited Human Resources, which has unified all network hiring at www.bassett.org/careers, under the direction of Melanie Craig, Human Resources, Employment & Employee Relations.

Click through, and you can quickly find out about all jobs available in the system.

Until now, he said, there have been “five hospitals with five different levels of quality, service, efficiency and costs.”

As with the Human Resources piece, fully implementing the new concept is going to require broadband to be fully implemented, and Ibrahim said he’s received “encouraging news” through Congressman Antonio Delgado’s office that greater funding for that will be forthcoming.

Friday’s announcement included details of a reorganization into a North Region (Bassett and Little Falls hospitals) and a South Region (Cobleskill, Fox in Oneonta and O’Connor in Delhi).

A “System Executive Leadership Team” will administer each: North led by Bassett Hospital President Bill LeCates; South by Cobleskill Regional Hospital President Eric Stein.

Each team has three vice presidents – for operations, medical affairs and nursing – that report to LeCates or Stein, and implement a horizontal management structure aimed at achieving consistent levels of expertise across the region.

This is in addition to a Leadership Team announced over the past few months, led by Ibrahim and including CFO Paul Swinko, COO Jeff Joyner, LeCates and others.

The announcement also included eliminating 41 positions by March, in addition to 15 leadership positions that have already been eliminated in the restructuring. A network-wide program called SCORE (Securing Career Opportunities for Redeployed Employees) will seek to find places for those employees in the new structure.

The network executives will be taking 5-10 percent “voluntary reductions” in pay, with Ibrahim himself taking a 20-percent pay cut.

This, of course, has caused consternation among employees, but Ibrahim is striving to move forward with “compassion, dignity and respect” toward employees who, through the reorganization, are being shifted out of their jobs.

As part of this effort, a seven-page, single-spaced FAQ was emailed to employees Monday, Dec. 15, seeking to allay concerns and detailing available options.

With the reorganization and streamlining, Ibrahim said, the hospital network is aiming to “break even” in 2021, and a return to profitability after that. He said the network has operated in the red for the past four years.

Asked if the restructuring of the network from hospital-centric “silos” to a cross-network system based on areas of medical expertise was one of his successes as chief physician at Integris, he said yes. But similar approaches are being implemented in all successful hospital systems across the country, he added.

 

LeCates Promoted To Colonel In NYS Army National Guard

LeCates Promoted To Colonel

In NYS Army National Guard

State Army National Guard Surgeon Bill LeCates received his promotion to colonel from wife Debbie this morning in Lathan. (National Guard photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Dr. William LeCates, Cooperstown, president of Bassett Hospital, was promoted to colonel in the state’s Army National Guard during a ceremony this morning at the National Guard headquarters in Latham.

LeCates, who joined the New York Army National Guard in 2009, currently serves as the National Guard state surgeon, in addition to his duties as president of Bassett Hospital. As state surgeon, he is chief medical adviser to state Adjutant Gen. Ray Shields.

Chief Clinical Officer Heneghan Leaving Bassett After 28 Years

Chief Clinical Officer Heneghan

Leaving Bassett After 28 Years

Dr. Heneghan

COOPERSTOWN  – Bassett Healthcare Network today announced the departure of Dr. Steven Heneghan, the network’s chief clinical officer and a key player in recent successful efforts to limit the coronavirus locally.

Dr. Bill LeCates, Bassett Hospital president, will assume interim responsibilities of chief medical officer for the hospital and the network on an interim basis.

BASSETT HOLDS  OWN – SO FAR
Reprinted From This Week’s
Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal

BASSETT HOLDS 

OWN – SO FAR

Numbers Climb, But More Tests

Available, Beds Not Lacking Yet

By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Heneghan
LeCates

COOPERSTOWN – Nine days ago there were no Coronavirus patients among people who called Otsego County home.

As of Tuesday, March 31, there were 16. And one of those, Brenda Utter of Morris, has died.

Patients range in age from 20 to 75, county health officials said. There are 53 people more on mandatory quarantine because they have been in close contact with a positive case.

As the state’s numbers have climbed to the highest in the nation – some 75,000 as of Tuesday, March 31 – doctors at Bassett Healthcare Network have been anxiously preparing for an onslaught of patients here.

Though our numbers are growing, they have not leaped as high as feared.

“We are able to manage the patients that are coming in and need to be cared for,” Dr. Steven Heneghan, Bassett’s Network chief clinical officer, who is overseeing the network’s clinical response to the virus.

CLICK TO READ FULL STORY

BASSETT HOLDS  OWN – SO FAR

BASSETT HOLDS 

OWN – SO FAR

Numbers Climb, But More Tests

Available, Beds Not Lacking Yet

By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Heneghan
LeCates

COOPERSTOWN – Nine days ago there were no Coronavirus patients among people who called Otsego County home.

As of Tuesday, March 31, there were 16. And one of those, Brenda Utter of Morris, has died.

Patients range in age from 20 to 75, county health officials said. There are 53 people more on mandatory quarantine because they have been in close contact with a positive case.

As the state’s numbers have climbed to the highest in the nation – some 75,000 as of Tuesday, March 31 – doctors at Bassett Healthcare Network have been anxiously preparing for an onslaught of patients here.

Though our numbers are growing, they have not leaped as high as feared.

“We are able to manage the patients that are coming in and need to be cared for,” Dr. Steven Heneghan, Bassett’s Network chief clinical officer, who is overseeing the network’s clinical response to the virus.

The precautionary measures the public is taking, along with Bassett’s triage system, are working, he said. But he cautioned that the picture could still change.

“We are expecting the worst and preparing for the worst,” he said. “And we are hoping for the best.”

Bassett Healthcare Network has given about 500 tests in its eight-county region, and of those about 10 percent are positive, Network officials said. That stands in stark contrast with parts of New York City, where that number is as high as 65 percent.

“I am not saying everything is over and everything is fine,” Heneghan said. “What I am saying is that everything people are doing is working and keep it up.”

EMOTIONAL TOLL

Even though the county’s numbers are still small, the death of a single resident holds significance for the entire community, as well as the hospital, Dr. Bill LeCates, Bassett Hospital president, said in an interview.

For instance, Phillip Utter, husband of Brenda Utter, 63, of Morris, the county’s first victim, told his wife he loved her as she entered Bassett Monday, March 23.

Prevented from being with her by measures designed to protect the community, “It was the last thing I told her,” the husband said. Brenda died Thursday, March 26.

Hospital staff did keep in constant contact, letting him know all her ups and downs, and he is thankful to them for their kindness, he said.

LeCates said he could not speak about specific cases, but that the COVID crisis is taking a toll on medical staff.

“Everyone here at the medical center shares in the difficulty of this illness, and the sadness and difficulty that comes to people who are separated from their family members, especially at times like the end of life,” he said.

“We recognize how difficult this is for everyone. For the families and people who are hospitalized and the staff who are caring for these patients. It is a tremendously difficult aspect of this pandemic that people are separated at their time of greatest need.”

The stress on patients and their families is always felt deeply by hospital staff as they do their work, but with the coronavirus it’s worse. Because of the danger of spreading contagion, family members of those with the virus are not able to be with their loved ones who are hospitalized.

POPULATION RESPONDING

So far, Heneghan said, the hospital can handle the number of cases coming in.

“Our population had enough warning to use handwashing and social distancing,” he said. “It is proof of what other countries have shown us, that this is an effective way to reduce the spread.”

The network’s video conferencing system has enabled many of the patients to remain in their homes when they are sick, and at the moment “most are doing quite well and recovering,” he said.

“Of course not everyone has a quick recovery,” he added. “We are managing ill patients in the hospital.”

He declined to say how many COVID inpatients the network was treating, only that the number was “relatively small” and holding steady.

The hospital also has more than enough ventilators for the number of patients they are seeing now. They also have enough masks and face shields at the moment.

But, he cautioned that the picture could change.

There is an incubation period during which patients may not realize they are sick, when they may infect others as the go about their daily lives.

Also, the disease progression takes more than a week, and people with manageable symptoms in the beginning could take a decided turn for the worse and need to be hospitalized.

Heneghan said general statistics on COVID-19 show that for every 100 patients, 10 need hospitalization and five must go to the ICU.

He does not see COVID patients inside the hospital, but he does meet with patients being treated at home via the network’s video conferencing system.

ENOUGH TESTS ON HAND

Heneghan said Bassett has enough tests right now to test people practitioners think might have the disease.
“We are not limited,” he said. “If we feel someone should have the test we will do a test.”

He encouraged anyone who believes they might have the virus to seek an evaluation, and to stay away from others until a determination is made.

“Other countries have had good results with that system,” he said.

HUG THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE

For Phillip Utter the virus has already taken a heavy toll.

Asked what others could learn from his experience he recommended following the warnings of health officials and practicing social distancing as much as possible.

“You don’t ever know,” he said. “You could be the next one, you know. It has certainly proven that it isn’t just a downstate thing. It’s everywhere. It’s all over. You can’t be too careful.”

1 (607) 547-5555 Worried You May Have Coronavirius? Call Bassett Hotline

1 (607) 547-5555

Worried You May

Have Coronavirus?

Call Bassett Hotline

Dr. Bill Streck, left, and his coronavirus team brief the region’s press at 12:30 today. Others, from left, are Drs. Bill LeCates, Steve Heneghan, and Charles Hyman (Jim Kevlin/AllOTESGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

CDC images of coronavurus

COOPERSTOWN – (607) 547-5555 is “your pathway to help.”

If you have coronavirus symptoms – fever, coughing, trouble breathing – don’t rush to the emergency room or your primary care doctor.

Call Bassett Hospital’s coronavirus hotline: (607) 547-5555.

You may be told you don’t need to worry.

You may be told you need to see a doctor or medical professional, and will be given an appointment and told what to do text.

You may be screened remotely, via telemedicine.  Perhaps you can be treated at home, to avoid coming in contact with other people.

But first, call (607) 547-5555

CLICK FOR BASSETT CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE PAGE

 

Fred Lemister Room Dedicated At Bassett

Fred Lemister Room

Dedicated At Bassett

Bassett Hospital’s President Bill, left, flanked by COO Ronette Wiley and Emergency Preparedness Chief Brinton Muller, Friday afternoon holds the plaque that will be installed in the hospital’s EMS room in honor of Fred Lemister, center in black overcoat   Fred was toasted last month by fellow EMTs from across the county at a Bassett Hall reception for 48 years with the Cooperstown Emergency Squad, where he responded to a record 9,400 call.  The plaque reads, “A. Fred Lemister EMS Room, dedicated in honor of A. Fred Lemister’s 48 year EMS volunteer.”  In his remarks, Fred said the plaque should read “Mr. and Mrs. Lemister” because of wife Karen’s sacrifices as he would dash off to emergencies.  Fred credited those who went before him in emergency medicine and set the example for others to follow. “There are a mess of other people behind this plaque,” he said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude.”  (Bassett Hospital photo)
Bassett President Is National Guard’s New State Surgeon

Bassett President

Now Also Adviser

To National Guard

Effective Jan. 1, Dr. LeCates

Will Also Be State Surgeon

Dr. LeCates

COOPERSTOWN – In addition to his duties as Bassett Hospital president, William LeCates has been selected to serve as the New York Army National Guard’s top medical adviser, effective Jan. 1.

A lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, Dr. LeCates will serve as state surgeon of the state Army National Guard.

In his new role, LeCates will be the senior medical adviser to Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the adjutant general of the state National Guard, ensuring medical readiness and adherence to state, Pentagon and national medical standards.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103