By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – Jeff Joyner, president of AO Fox Hospital in Oneonta since January 2016, visited the Rotary Club of Sidney Friday, July 14 to discuss the future of Tri-Town Regional Hospital as well as medicine and health care at large. Both hospitals now operate under the auspices of the Bassett Health Care Network.
Throughout his presentation, Joyner emphasized the importance of maximizing the use of technology and industry advancements with the admittedly minimal resources available to rural hospitals such as Sidney’s.
Joyner, who opened by noting, “There are a lot of challengers going on in health care right now, but a lot of opportunities, too,” said that the Bassett Health Care Network covers an eight-county, 5,600-square mile area comprising six hospitals, 30 community-based clinics, 20 school-based centers, two nursing facilities, one home care agency and one medical supply company. The network employs 514 practitioners and 4,267 total employees, including those at Tri-Town Regional Hospital.
Calling the Bassett Healthcare Network an “economic engine for this area,” Joyner cited $1.115 billion in economic activity for the 2016 fiscal year.
While recognizing the controversy surrounding the health care industry currently and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010, Joyner said, “One thing (the ACA) did was to take health care from a reactive industry … to a proactive one.” An example of this locally, Joyner said, has been the implementation of programming designed to get smokers to quit the habit. “We need to invest dollars now into people’s care to prevent rising costs down the road,” said Joyner. Noting that “the government is encouraging greater care,” Joyner extolled the aforementioned 20 school-based centers, saying, “That’s where we want to start instilling good health care habits, so that, later on, (people) are already practicing good habits.”