Dr. Ibrahim: No Easy Answers for Complex Challenges
Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, President & CEO, contributes a regular column to The Freeman's Journal, Hometown Oneonta, and AllOtsego.com. The piece below was published in March 16, 2023 editions.
Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Colleagues,
Our patients and communities are at the center of everything we do, as you have been for more than 100 years. We believe that the best way to do this is as a local, independently governed health system. With this goal in mind, it is vital that we are always looking at where there may be inefficiencies in our operations or redundancies in services.
Like our colleagues in healthcare around the country, we are navigating a complex set of challenges without easy answers. This is especially true for rural hospitals and health systems that grapple with seemingly impossible decisions. Over the past few weeks, you may have seen some of the news out of Bassett Healthcare Network. As we continue this transformative work, you may be wondering how these changes improve healthcare for our patients and make our community healthier.
We’re making changes that I am confident better serve the needs of our patients by ensuring that we operate more efficiently as a system, with the bigger picture in mind. Some of this means consolidating clinics that are offering the same services within a mile or two of each other. In other cases, we’re building new and improved spaces to provide streamlined care. In still other areas, like fitness, we’re seeking partners who share our mission to step in and provide services and expertise. We are continually evaluating opportunities to ensure we invest our resources in the smartest ways possible, to ensure the next century of care for all of you. Everything we do starts and ends with that bigger picture and our mission in mind.
At FoxCare Center in Oneonta, for example, we have begun construction to expand the Women’s Health clinic. The much larger space will offer more exam rooms and bring our talented group of Oneonta practitioners in obstetrics and gynecology under one roof to offer well visits, family planning care, pre-natal and post-natal care, and other specialized women’s healthcare. Also, this past fall, A.O. Fox Hospital partnered with the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to open a new veteran’s clinic at FoxCare Center. We are proud to provide this vital service to veterans in our community.
Additionally, I am pleased to share that Bassett Healthcare Network is in the early stages of discussions with the Oneonta Family YMCA to explore a potential collaboration. I am inspired and heartened by the overwhelming responses we’ve received in support of FoxCare Fitness. Many people who have taken the time to write and call have expressed their appreciation for FoxCare Fitness as a facility that helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle and build community. I am excited about this opportunity to explore a collaboration with the YMCA, who shares Bassett’s mission to improve the health and wellness of our communities. Thank you for sharing with me how important this facility is to you and the community.
Bassett aspires to be a model of rural health in the U.S. and globally. We have a strong network of hospitals, clinics, long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, and school-based health centers, among other services. These resources are essential to our communities. Beyond these important traditional pieces of the care continuum, a whole new world is opening before us around digital health. I believe digital health holds the possibility for us to transform what healthcare looks like—whether our patients are meeting with world-class cardiac care specialists in Manhattan from a Bassett clinic, receiving home-based services and monitoring, or benefiting from other creative solutions that directly address the unique challenges patients in rural settings face, like transportation barriers and wide geographic distances.
Bassett has been here for more than 100 years, and I am proud to work with our caregivers every day to honor this rich history while focusing intently on the next century of care. Good things are happening.
Thank you for your engagement, passion and devotion to community health. It is a privilege and honor to serve you.
Dr. Tommy Ibrahim
President & CEO
Bassett Healthcare Network