State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett completed a two-day, seven-county tour of communities in the North Country, where she met hospital leadership, healthcare workers, behavioral health and substance abuse providers, regional conveners, as well as long-term care, public health, and primary care leaders, who make up the region’s frontline health workers.
The tour included stops at Adirondack Health Institute and Glens Falls Hospital in Glens Falls, the Fort Hudson Health System in Hudson Falls and Hudson Headwaters Health Network in Queensbury.
The visit to the North Country was the latest in a series of tours the commissioner has made as she travels the state to engage the state’s health delivery system and discuss local challenges.
“It’s difficult to deny the breathtaking beauty of New York’s North Country, but it’s also obvious that we face challenges in strengthening the region’s health system and making sure everyone has equitable access to high-quality and afford health care,” Bassett said. “By focusing on opportunities to collaborate with regional health care providers and institutions of higher education, the Department is prepared to do its part to help to build pipelines of qualified workers and bring the next generation of medical professionals to this beautiful area of New York state.”
The commissioner often heard at stops throughout the North Country about the unique challenges of creating a strong health system in a sprawling rural region. Efforts to recruit and retain the health workforce, lack of affordable housing, problems with transportation, and even the limitations of cellular phone coverage and broadband access are issues facing the North Country.
Bassett was accompanied by the Department’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eugene Heslin, who has been with the Department since 2017, and was appointed to Bassett’s leadership cabinet in July as part of the commissioner’s initiative to enhance the department’s talent, workflow and collaboration, the integration of new systems, and increase diversity as part of its overall mission to build a healthier, more equitable New York.