Bassett Healthcare Network limits services amid staff shortfall

FileThe Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, on Atwell Road in Cooperstown, is shown in the 2017 photo.

Bassett Healthcare Network announced some temporary changes to services beginning Tuesday, Sept. 28, because of a staffing shortage.

The changes are: outpatient laboratory blood draws must be done by appointment only, the temporary closure of the Cooperstown Convenient Care location and that call wait times may be longer, a media release said.

“The service changes announced today have been put in place temporarily after yesterday’s New York State COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline,” Gabrielle Argo, interim network manager, marketing and communications, Bassett Healthcare Network, said. “We are redeploying staff and resources where needed to continue maintaining services and meet the needs of our patients. We are optimistic these service adjustments will only be temporary.”

Argo said a little more than 100 employees failed to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Monday’s state mandated deadline. Bassett employs more than 5,200 people across its eight-county network, she said.

Appointments to get blood drawn are available Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with some Saturday appointments available at some locations, the release said. The release encouraged patients to schedule appointments online through the MyBassett Health Connection portal.

The release said the Oneonta Convenient Care and Herkimer Convenient Care sites would still be open and accepting patients for same-day and next-day appointments.

Otsego County Department of Public Health Director Heidi Bond said the Cooperstown Convenient Care temporary closure would have an impact on people getting tested for COVID-19 or being seen if they are ill.

She noted the state vaccination mandate also applied to the county’s Department of Health, adding: “I did not have anyone refuse to be vaccinated.”

Because of longer call wait times, Bassett’s release encouraged patients to use the MyBassett Health Connection portal to ask their providers questions and schedule appointments.

In addition to the aforementioned service changes, patients at the Morris Health Center received a letter last month telling them the physician who had office hours there, Fawn Mumbulo, FNP, was leaving Oct. 1. It listed three providers in Norwich who were accepting patients, and said offices in Sidney and Oneonta were accepting patients.

“We are re-scheduling appointments at other locations in the meantime until a new practitioner is assigned to Morris Health Center,” Argo said. “Bassett Healthcare Network has been navigating staffing challenges for the past year, like most health care systems.”

For up-to-date information, visit bassett.org.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.

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