By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown has named Dr. John Kelley as its new division chief of cardiac surgery.
Kelley has been at Bassett Medical Center for four years, and has almost 20 years of experience as a cardiac surgeon. He has also served as chief of cardiac surgery at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.
“I look forward to continuing Bassett’s strong tradition of providing advanced and compassionate cardiac care for the people of central New York,” said Kelley, in a release to the media from Bassett.
“I really just like the area,” said Kelley, in comments to The Daily Star, when asked why he’d chosen to stay in upstate New York.
Kelley added that he and his wife liked raising their two kids here, and that he also appreciated working in an underserved area.
“Working here I really feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives.”
In 2013 the health care ratings company Healthgrades named Bassett one of America’s 100 best hospitals for cardiac care. Healthgrades also awarded Bassett its excellence rating for heart valve repair and replacement surgery and coronary interventional procedures.
Asked about the rating, Kelley said, “I think it’s quite a great honor.”
2013 also marks the 10th anniversary of the Bassett Heart Care Institute. In a release to the media, Bassett said that the institute was created in order to give people who live in more rural counties access to the same specialty heart care available in more populated areas.
“It was primarily because this was an underserved area for heart care,” said Kelley.
The institute coordinates the efforts of cardiologists, who do non surgical heart treatment, and heart surgeons.
Said Kelley, “It’s really a way to increase the interaction between the two to improve patient (care).”
On the surgical side, Kelley said that the institute offers a full range of services, including pacemakers, open heart surgery and bypass surgery.
Said Kelley, “Really the only major service we don’t offer is heart transplants.”
Going forward, Kelley said that he would continue providing cardiac surgery and that they would soon be hiring another physician. Kelley estimated that there were about a dozen doctors working at the institute, in addition to other providers.
When asked if the center had improved outcomes for heart patients, Kelley answered in the affirmative.
“Since we’ve been here as a program, those outcomes have improved in this region.”
Kelley also said that having the institute in Cooperstown had improved the situation for older patients, as they no longer had to drive long distances for heart care.
“It’s very convenient for them to be able to have this needed care locally.”
As for his personal feelings on his new position, Kelley seemed enthusiastic.
“I’m excited at this opportunity,” said Kelley, saying that he enjoyed taking care of patients. “I look forward to doing it for many years to come.”