Saturday, June 18, 2011

Towsley Tourney Turns $150,000

When the sun set on Friday's Towsley Pro-Am Tournament, the Community General Foundation had raised more than $150,000. The photo by Dan Cameron shows the sun as it appeared over the first hole at the Shenedoah Golf Course at the Turning Stone Resort, where the event was held to honor the memory of Bill Towsley, the well-known business manager of IBEW Local 43. Bill died last year, following a battle with cancer.

This was the Foundation's 27th annual pro-amateur golf tournament, but it was the first named for Bill. I had the privilege of meeting with Bill's family when they joined us at the awards dinner at the end of the day. That's Ken (who also played in the tourney), along with Tracy, Jen and Bill in the photo, at left.

IBEW 43/ NECA was the Presenting Sponsor for the tourney, which was supported by IBEW chapters from across the state, including Long Island, Westchester, and Rochester.

My special thanks for the successful to the Central New York PGA and its Executive Director Al Seamans. The character of this tournament day comes in large part from the unique chemistry that results when area golf pros are teamed with foursomes as they play a challenging course.

Thank you, Greg Cohen and Rock Shirtz, the Co-Chairs for the Foundation's golf committee. Thanks also to Scott Matukas, Board Chair, and to the entire Community General Foundation board.

I'd like to acknowledge TK99's Gomez and Dave, who provided MC services (and they play well too).

This was another successful golf tournament due to the thorough preparation and attention to detail by John Zacharek, Community's VP of External Affairs, along with Gillian Ottman, Amy Gulotta, and a host of tourney volunteers. My thanks to all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"A job well done"

Because of the Department of Health meeting in New York last Friday, I was not able to return to Syracuse in time for the annual Service Recognition Dinner for Community General employees and for recent retirees.

This was, I think, the first Recognition Dinner I have missed for Community. I am sorry to have missed it, it being a poignant evening as the last one under Community’s independent status.

My thanks to Sharon O’Neill, Human Resources Director, and her staff for organizing the event again this year, and thank you too to Vice President Dennis Trepanier and to Medical Staff President Dr. David Halleran who “did the honors” in saluting employees and retirees at this milestone event.

A highlight of the evening was an “ode” by Jan Filsinger, an Emergency Department Coding Data Analyst. Here's what she said:

Jan Evans-Filsinger

When I was very young you took me in.

You had patience with me and showed me skills.

You watched me grow under your tutelage and there were expectations.

I worked hard over the years and in return you helped me provide for my family.

You paid for some of my education and most of my insurance.

You provided me with the means to save for my children’s education, Christmas club, and even my own separate retirement.

When my children were born, I came to you and you took care of me and the expense.

When I or my family were sick or injured we came to you and again you took care of us and the expense.

Just like any other family, we had our ups and downs but you always stuck by me; even in some really rough patches when I left you in the lurch you were still by me and helped work things out.

Oh sure we have some siblings that have felt you should have done more, given them more, but with the economy changes that got harder to do. Yet year after year you have recognized us, given us gifts, some free lunches and never forgot a Christmas.

But just like any other family member on a fixed income, you began to falter under the weight of the economy.

You made some changes and tightened your belt.

But at the end of the day it proved to be too much and now you need assisted living.

As we move forward I will do all that I can to help you transition with your dignity and self-respect intact.

Tonight we recognize you for 48 years of hard work and a job well done.

I will always look back with fondness and say thank you to Community General Hospital!

The vote to approve

On Friday morning the Upstate Medical University's Certificate of Need (CON) application was the “main event” at a committee of the newly-reconstituted Public Health and Health Planning Council of the Department of Health.

The Establishment and Project Review Committee voted to approve Upstate’s application, a significant step in completing the combination with Community General Hospital.

The CON discussion took the greater part of an hour as committee members reviewed the transaction, considered the financial arrangements, heard about union issues, and considered what was best for the community.

The Department of Health noted that Community General’s services are essential in the area, and it specifically made reference to emergency capacity with Syracuse hospital emergency departments full to overflowing with some frequency.

Apart from the financial issues and policy questions involving the State University of New York (Upstate is part of the SUNY system), a committee member asked about the role and decision-making of Community General’s board of directors.

I explained that Community's board had considered the question of a strategic affiliation for several years, engaging outside consultants and undertaking extensive merger discussions with Crouse Hospital -- before deciding that the community’s interests would be best served by the combination with Upstate.

The support from the community-at-large was also well-established. Dr. John McCabe, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, explained that the combination has been endorsed by all local review panels -- the Central New York Health Systems Agency, the Hospital Executive Council, and the Affiliation Council that involves Upstate and Crouse Hospital (formed as a result of the state’s Berger Commission).

The Department of Health noted the support for this arrangement from health insurers, as well.

Last week was the debut meeting of the Council after it has been reorganized by New York State. New Council members were appointed by the Governor in May, and the State Senate moved promptly to approve them in time for a series of meetings this month. The Department of Health digested a voluminous amount of information to get ready for the committee review.

All of us at Community are very grateful for the cooperation and the time and effort devoted to this important project by state officials and by the Council members.