Bassett outsources business functions

Ibrahim

Bassett Healthcare Network last week announced organizational changes that will affect hundreds of employees and, according to top officials, streamline delivery of healthcare services.

Bassett and Optum, a global health care services provider based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, announced a “strategic collaboration to further enhance Bassett’s clinical and operational performance, and advance delivery of high-quality, convenient, and affordable health care,” a media release said.

Optum will provide Bassett Healthcare Network with services including revenue cycle management, data and analytic capabilities, and information technology.

Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, president and chief executive officer of Bassett Healthcare Network, told The Daily Star the changes will allow Bassett to “more expeditiously serve our communities and our patients.”

He cited a call center and scheduling services as examples of where patients can expect to see improvements. “We want to create more access points for the communities Bassett serves,” he said.

Mike Valli, Optum executive vice president, told the The Daily Star, “We’re extremely excited about this relationship.” He said Optum supplies services worldwide and bills $150 billion annually.

“We really feel like we can enable Bassett to focus on patient-centered care,” Valli said.

According to the media release, “... approximately 500 Bassett employees performing in-scope functions will have the opportunity to transition to Optum. These employees will continue to directly support Bassett Healthcare Network’s work and mission.” Ibrahim said that does not mean layoffs.

“We’re not cutting any jobs,” he told The Daily Star. He said affected employees will “get an offer to join the (Optum) organization,” but said employees who choose not to join Optum will remain employed by Bassett, though they will report to Optum’s management structure.

“Building on our long history of strategic relationships, our collaboration with Optum will create career opportunities for our employees and infuse Bassett with leading innovations and expertise that will greatly modernize and enhance experiences and access to clinical services for patients. It also will expand our ability to partner with other health care providers in the region, to better serve patients in Central New York,” Ibrahim said in the media release.

Ibrahim said a key part of the deal is that it will allow Bassett to remain “as an independent health care organization.”

“We are honored to support Bassett Healthcare Network’s commitment to delivering exceptional patient care for the communities it serves,” Rick Hardy, chief executive officer of OptumInsight, said in the media release. “In addition to providing proven services and technology to meet Bassett’s clinical and operational needs today, we are committed to working with Bassett to transform health care for the people of Central New York for many years to come.”

“This collaboration with Optum is an important element of Bassett Healthcare Network’s strategic plan, affording Bassett the opportunity to upgrade our technological capabilities and modernize our support services,” Doug Hastings, chair of the Bassett Healthcare Network Board of Directors, said in the release. “Given the rapidly changing nature of the health care system, Bassett’s relationship with Optum will provide tools for serving our communities in ways we could not do on our own, enhancing not only effectiveness and efficiency, but also safety, patient-centeredness, timeliness and equity.”

Ibrahim said transition planning has begun and will take several weeks. He said Optum’s management will begin on July 18, though it is not yet known what differences patients will see on that date.

Robert Cairns, managing editor, can be reached at rcairns@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7217.

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