The Board of Directors of Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, New York, has chosen a new president. Sean Fadale is set to take over for current President and CEO Laurence Kelly on October 5.
Kelly announced his retirement in January after nearly 20 years.
The 51-year-old Fadale is a native of northwestern Pennsylvania and has served as president of Hamilton’s Community Memorial Hospital since 2012. Fadale spoke with WAMC's Jim Levulis about why he chose to join NLH.
Fadale: In my career, I was looking for my next opportunity and Nathan Littauer checked a lot of boxes for me and my family. It's in a beautiful location. It's a strong organization. It is independent. It provides an opportunity for me to grow in my career, to work with a great organization that has great people working for it. And for my family, it keeps us in Central New York. And that was a big goal of me and my family to make sure that we stayed in Central New York.
Levulis: You've worked at healthcare facilities in Hamilton and Dansville, New York as well as in relatively small communities in Illinois and Pennsylvania. With your experience and what you've seen since March, has the COVID-19 pandemic changed health care, particularly in rural communities, or will it in the future, will it change it?
I believe, you know, COVID-19 has changed healthcare, whether you're urban or rural. It is something that is it is out in front of us, we have to address it not only from, you know people getting sick. I mean that's, you know treating the disease taking care of individuals that are sick with a very infectious disease. The other side of that coin is where New York State has placed us with, you know, having a 90-day PPE or personal protective equipment mandate. A lot of the Department of Health rules and regulations, you know, that are increased costs and burdens for healthcare, but things that are necessary to make sure we're ready if there is a second spike in New York State. So it is it has absolutely changed healthcare, you know, and it will going forward for, you know, at least the next year or two.
And the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly increased attention on nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In your new position, you'll be in charge of an 84-bed nursing home. What is going to be top of mind for you in regards to that aspect of the new job?
It’s going to be working with the leadership for that, you know, for that organization and the leadership team here to make sure that you know we have the right staff, we have the right PPE and that we are doing right by our residents in the nursing home.
For many rural and economically depressed communities Nathan Littauer is their closest hospital and health care facility. How do you reach those communities outside of emergent care?
We've done a great job as an organization of outreach of primary care. We have 11 sites that is across upstate New York. Those locations are going to be the entry point for many people and where people are going to be seeking care. One of the big things especially in rural healthcare is providing appropriate access and we understand transportation is a huge issue in rural healthcare. But because we have those 11 sites out there we can we can welcome patients to our door, we can bring them in, we can give them the appropriate care and refer them back to the Nathan Littauer campus if there's something beyond what is needed at those locations.
And obviously telemedicine has come under even increased focus with the pandemic and the ability for some health care to be provided over the telephone, over video conference. We've been talking a lot about rural healthcare and one of the other issues with the modern day lifestyle in rural areas is broadband internet. Is telemedicine a viable option for a health care provider in a rural setting?
I think it has to be. The recruitment of specialists and providers and healthcare is an enormous challenge and to think that you can have all the necessary providers in every location is something that just can't happen just because of there is not enough providers to go around. So providing a telemedicine option for our locations, for our patients seems a very wise course of action. That way you can extend care to some of your more remote areas if transportation is an issue.