Harriet Busch, a doctor for Hudson Headwaters Health Network, takes a break after seeing a full schedule of patients Wednesday at Chester-Horicon Health Center where she's worked for 31 years. Friday Jan. 6 is her last day at the center, as she is transferring to HHHN's health campus in Queensbury off Aviation Road.
A doctor who's been caring for patients in the Chestertown area since Ronald Reagan was first elected president is now relocating her practice to Queensbury.
As of Monday Jan. 9, Harriet Busch -- a physician at Chester-Horicon Health Center for 31 years -- will be working out of the Queensbury Family Health complex at 14 Manor Drive in Queensbury. Both are clinics of Hudson Headwaters Health Network.
Busch said this week that patients are welcome to seek out her services in her new location.
She said that her move was prompted by the increasing hardship of traveling from her Queensbury home to work in Chestertown, particularly in winter weather.
Busch said that while she's looking forward to a shorter drive, she's relocating her practice with mixed feelings.
“I'll miss the people of northern Warren County who are wonderful – kind, helpful and appreciative,” she said, referring to both patients and health center staffers. “I'll really miss the people I work with, who have a long history of helping people out – more than is ever expected.”
Recalling that some time ago health center office manager Sue Gill arranged to get heating fuel delivered to an elderly citizen's home, she noted that staff members have often helped out people far beyond medical issues.
She continued that staff members, concerned about the welfare of their neighbors, have at times kept the health center open after hours to take care of a patient's emergency needs.
During Busch's tenure, she's seen all kinds of afflictions, from minor to critical – from emergency brain tumor cases and head trauma to merely scrapes and bruises, she said.
In the early years before emergency squads were equipped with Advanced Life Support services, she'd ride with a patient to the hospital if the situation called for it, Busch said.
From her first day on the job at the Chester Health Center – birthplace of HHHN -- she appreciated small-town life, the rural environment, and the strong bond among local citizens in the lower Adirondacks, she said. “Moving from Long Island, I thought it was a wonderful place to live and practice, and I still believe that,” Busch said after seeing her last patient Wednesday.
Dr. John Rugge, founder and CEO of Hudson Headwaters, said this week that dedication of HHHN employees like Busch is what has allowed the chain of health centers to thrive and boost the quality of life for area citizens. He recalled how Busch would travel through blizzards, hail or sleet to get to the Chestertown health center and make sure her patients got the care they might need.
Dr. Busch not only believes in the work of Hudson Headwaters, she helped create it's mission,” he said. “She's an amazing physician and she did so much to get the Chester Health Center on its feet.”
Rugge added that Busch has always put in extra effort to coordinate her patients' care, including making calls to patients and other health care providers on her days off, if necessary.
“The towns of Chester and Horicon as well as Hudson Headwaters owe a lot to Harriet Busch,” he said.
Busch said she was saddened by the thought of leaving her work in Chestertown.
“I'm leaving with great guilt and a heavy heart, as I will miss the patients and staff,” she said. “But I feel so much better about leaving knowing that a really fine physician is taking my place.”
With Busch transferring to Queensbury, Dr. Mary Clarisse Kilayko will now be practicing in the Chester-Horicon Health Center, Busch said.
“She's kind, wonderful, knowledgable and caring, and I'm pleased she'll be taking my place,” Busch said.