Bassett’s efforts to combat burnout recognized

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized Bassett Healthcare Network recently as a recipient of the 2021 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program. The AMA awards this distinction to health systems that actively demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of health care team members by combating work-related stress and burnout. Physician Caroline Gomez-DiCesare, Bassett Healthcare Network’s director of wellbeing, accepted the recognition on behalf of the health system.

Bassett is based in Cooperstown and operates Little Falls Hospital in Herkimer County.

“The chronic crises throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on everyone, with particularly high stressors on all of us in health care,” said Gomez-DiCesare. “It is especially meaningful to receive this recognition of Bassett’s leadership at a time when working toward wellbeing in the health care workplace is even more important than ever before.”

“Our employees are the single most important asset we have at Bassett Healthcare Network,” says physician Tommy Ibrahim, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network. “We strive to empower our people with a support system that allows them to thrive and give their best to our patients. An investment in our caregivers is an investment in our patients and community.”

One such investment — and an important consideration of the AMA’s evaluation — has been the Clinician Peer Support Program of Central New York (CPSP-CNY). Launched in May 2020 by Bassett with four other regional health institutions and now the American Nurses Association of New York (ANA-NY), the CPSP-CNY offers emotional and empathetic support to clinicians under stress.

The program’s referral system allows clinicians to confidentially reach out individually or on behalf of colleagues who might themselves be reluctant to seek help. The multi-institutional framework matches clinicians with peer supporters from outside of their home organization, allowing more anonymity when receiving support. Peer support has been proven to help decrease suicide rates in other high-stress professions, such as law enforcement and the military.