From the Offices of Jeffrey A. Flaks and Jeffry Nestler, MD

The Seymour Street Journal is published every two weeks to communicate key messages pertinent to our hospital's physicians, and to promote alignment between the medical staff and administration. It will keep you informed on hospital news in a concise, convenient format. SSJ will be sent to your preferred email address every other Sunday at 6 p.m.

We'd like to hear from you. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, medical staff president, at 860-836-7313, or jnestler@connecticutgi.org.

November 13, 2011 Edition

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HH Facts
1945: The first cytology lab in Connecticut, for the screening of Pap smears, was established at Hartford Hospital by Dr. Ralph Kendall.


Top News

 

State of the Hospital Meeting Details Accomplishments and Challenges of 2011

Hartford Hospital’s State of the Hospital meeting was held on Nov. 8 with a theme of “Facing the Challenge.” President/CEO Jeff Flaks delivered a year end summary that touched on enhancing quality, operational excellence through H3W, physician recruitment and alignment, operational improvements, financial initiatives, facility enhancements, regional expansion, key technological improvements, research and philanthropy. Highlights included our newly defined core values; improvement of overall patient satisfaction top box scores to the 46th percentile; reduction of bloodstream infections by 50% and VAPs by 44%; appointment of Dr. Patricia Sheiner as director of the transplantation program; achieving 2% operating margin; 5,000 ideas submitted by H3W teams; recent A bond rating; and the development of the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation. (Download a detailed report: 2011 Accomplishments).

Several videos were shown, including a brain injury patient story about Tom Bloom, who was treated by neurosurgeon Dr. Inam Kureshi; and the transfer of patients here from NYU Langone Medical Center following its evacuation during Hurricane Irene.

Team of the Year Honors Announced

The 2011 Team of the Year honors were announced at the State of the Hospital meeting. This year, recognition was given to clinical and clinical support teams, in recognition of the fact that everyone plays a vital role in improving the patient experience and general hospital operations. Fifty-seven teams were nominated. Clinical support team of the year was Team EXCEED; and clinical team of the year was the Blood Stream Infection Action Group.
 
Team EXCEED, made up of 24 members from throughout the hospital, focuses on enhancing the patient experience, which has led to our achieving historic patient satisfaction scores of 67.8 percent. We moved from the 18th to the 46th percentile in patient satisfaction, which is a magnitude of improvement rarely seen in health care. The Blood Stream Infection Action Group has literally saved lives. This year, thanks to this team’s remarkable efforts, we’ve reduced by 22 the number of patients who developed blood stream infections while being cared for at Hartford Hospital. That’s a 57 percent reduction compared to last year. We are now performing at a national best-practice level.
 
Finalists were: Feeding Patients in the ED Team (clinical support); and the Discharge Process Action Group (clinical). Semi-finalists were: the Supply Cost Management Stewardship Team (clinical support); and the Young Adult Services Team from the IOL (clinical).

Liver Transplant Program Reactivated: Four Hepatologists Onboard

Following the addition of several key members of the medical staff, the liver transplant program has been reactivated. The new director of transplantation, Dr. Patricia Sheiner, joined Hartford Hospital on Oct. 17 from Westchester Medical Center in Westchester, N.Y. where she was director of liver transplant and hepatobiliary surgery, and vice chair of the Department of Surgery. In addition, three hepatologists have joined the staff: Dr. Rolland Dickson, director of the Comprehensive Liver Center; Dr. Michael Einstein, and Dr. Colin Swales. Dickson, who joined HH in March, splits his time between here and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where he is director of hepatology. Dr. Jonathan Israel, who has been on staff for 20 years, is the fourth member of the hepatology team. The liver transplant program was launched at Hartford Hospital in 1984, and to date has performed 405 transplants.

Hospital Response to Storm Includes Spontaneous ‚"Day Camp‚" For Employees' Children

The widespread power outages following the freak snowstorm on Oct. 29 left thousands of people without power, and most schools and daycare centers closed. In response to staff members who were having difficulty finding care for their children, hospital officials met Wednesday and pulled together a last-minute “day camp,” and on Thursday and Friday, 200 employees’ children attended. They enjoyed movies, crafts, games and other activities while their parents reported to work. “We understand the stress that families are going through, and we don't want you to scramble finding safe child care for your children during these extraordinary circumstances,” read a notice to employees. Dr. Jeffrey Nestler, president of the medical staff, said the rapid outside-the-box response was indicative of a new operating style. “This would not have happened two years ago,” he said. “It shows that we are operating nimbly, and can turn things around on a dime.” The arrangement received coverage in the local media, including in the Hartford Courant and on TV News-8.

This Week: Hamilton Retreat To Look At Developing The Institute Model

The Hamilton Retreat, a vital element of Hartford Hospital’s culture since 1971 when Dr. Stewart Hamilton convened the first meeting for hospital leadership to confer and plan about important issues, will be held Nov. 17 and 18 at the Saybrook Point Inn. At the retreat, physician leaders and hospital administrators will evaluate and discuss the development of a multidisciplinary institute model to provide patient centered care at Hartford Hospital. Dr. James Young, chair of the Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute at the Cleveland Clinic and executive dean of Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, will make a presentation on the institute model at the Cleveland Clinic.

Revised Dress Code Limits Wearing of White Lab Coats to Medical Team Only

As of Nov. 1, the Hartford Hospital professional image and dress code policy was revised with some new elements aimed at improving patient safety and confidence. In response to patient feedback, which had indicated that they are often confused by a sea of multi-colored scrubs and an array of white lab coats, our new uniform policy will help make clear who does what in our clinical areas. White lab coats are now to be worn only by the medical team: doctors, advanced practitioners, residents, medical students, PharmDs and the palliative care team.

Don't Forget To Vote In The Medical Staff Elections

Ballots will go out last week of November for the upcoming medical staff elections.

Free Flu Shots Available At Your Convenience

The first rule of medicine is to do no harm. One of the best things we can do to safeguard the health of our patients and their families is to get a flu shot. Free flu shots are available in Occupational Health in the basement of the Brownstone Building. If you have questions, call Kathy Hersey at 860-545-3475 or email FluGuru@harthosp.org.

Required Risk Management Annual Lecture for Hospital Employed Physicians

There are several upcoming risk management annual lecture sessions for Hartford Hospital-employed providers (physicians, APRNs, PAs, etc.) You must attend one session to fulfill the annual lecture requirement.

  • Leadership: Wednesday, Nov. 16, 4-5:30 p.m., JB-118
  • Surgery: Wednesday, Nov. 16, 5-6:30 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • ED: Thursday, Nov. 17, 9-10 a.m., CB-119
  • Leadership: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 7:30-9 a.m., JB-118
  • Psychiatry: Thursday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., IOL Commons Room 2nd Floor
  • Medicine: Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, 8-9 a.m., ERC Heublein Hall

Surgery Recognition Celebration Scheduled for Nov. 17

The Department of Surgery and Surgical Collaborative Management Team will be hosting their Semi-Annual Recognition Celebration this Thursday, Nov. 17, from 2-4 p.m. in the Special Dining Room. Join us as we celebrate the achievements of our colleagues.

 

Excellence

 

Dr. Lenworth Jacobs Elected to ACS Board of Regents

Dr. Lenworth M. Jacobs, Jr., director of the Trauma Program, has been elected to the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents. Jacobs, a general surgeon, is professor of surgery and chairman of the Department of Traumatology and Emergency Medicine at UConn. A Fellow since 1978, Jacobs has served as COT state provincial chair; vice-chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors; member and chair of the Board of Governors’ Committee on Chapter Activities; and member of the Accreditation Review Committee.http://acs-365.ascendeventmedia.com/highlight.aspx?p=324&id=3827

Drs. Jack Ross and Peruvamba Venkatesh Inducted Into Academy of Distinguished Educators

Dr. Jack Ross, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology, and Dr. Peruvamba Venkatesh, associate director of the Department of Medicine and site director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, were inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Educators at the UConn School of Medicine on Oct. 26. Induction is described as “a recognition by your peers, of your devotion to your students, and excellence and innovation as an educator.” Dr. Michael Lindberg, director of the Department of Medicine, said: “The honor for me was in being able to nominate these two outstanding clinicians for membership in the Academy. I’m very pleased that the University saw fit to recognize Jack and Peru.” Both Ross and Venkatesh are longtime members of the Hartford Hospital medical staff.

Annual Gifts Honor Kidney Transplant Physicians, Support Team

Many gifts that support Hartford Hospital’s Annual Campaign are made in honor of caregivers and come to us with kind words for our physicians. From time to time, we will feature some of these meaningful contributions along with the heartfelt words of the donor. This first one starts off with “Hartford Hospital is my HERO. What more can I say?” With those words, Phyllis Bamberger of Hicksville, NY, paid tribute to all the doctors and support team involved in her kidney transplant seven-and-a-half years ago. They include Drs. David Hull, Matthew Brown, Anne Lally, Kevin Charpentier, and Vinay Ranga, and nurses Gina Rocca, RN; Evelyn Czerniak, RN; Kim Alleman, nurse practitioner; Audrey White, RN; and Cathy Drouin, RN. “They were the creme de la creme,” Phyllis added. “From my entry to the hospital to my departure, the caring was outstanding. By the way, I feel great and‚ I don’t think I had one sick day since my transplant.” Phyllis notes that even now when she calls, “the response and attentiveness I receive is remarkable.”

Marchozzi Named CFO of the Year by Hartford Business Journal

Thomas Marchozzi, executive vice president and CFO of Hartford HealthCare, has been named CFO of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal. He and other winners were honored at a celebration Nov. 2 at the Belle Terrace at Avon Old Farms. There was a full-page story about Marchozzi in Hartford Business.com Nov. 7. “Marchozzi is a man with a mission, a plan to get there and a committed co-pilot in the person of Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph. Since they joined Hartford HealthCare in 2008, a year that system member Hartford Hospital experienced an $8 million loss, the duo orchestrated a turnaround that resulted in a $20 million gain for the not-for-profit hospital. Marchozzi is now leading Hartford HealthCare’s conversion to the new financial reimbursement models called for under the nationwide changes coming to healthcare services.”

Tolin Receives Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Practice of Psychology

David Tolin, Ph.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Center and Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at The Institute of Living, has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Connecticut Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contribution to the Practice of Psychology Award. The award will be presented Friday (Nov. 18) at the CPA’s annual convention in Hartford.

 

Innovative and Complex Care

 

Dr. Gualberto Ruano Addresses Personalized Medicine Researchers

Personalized medicine took center stage at a mini-retreat of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. As plans by Jackson Laboratory of Bar Harbor, Maine, to build an institute for personalized medicine on the UConn Health Center campus move forward, dozens of Connecticut researchers gathered for a two-day series of talks and meetings. Dr. Gualberto Ruano, director of Hartford Hospital’s Genetic Research Center, was invited as the keynote speaker. “Connecticut is wired for personalized medicine,” Ruano says. “There’s a network now for 200 community-based clinicians using personalized medicine. We have the connectivity, with a web-based portal, and we’ve moved this technology to real-time.” Ruano says the mental health community has adopted real-time personalized medicine as a standard of care, and that Hartford’s GRC has helped nearly 3,000 patients throughout the state in the last three years. It uses mental health as a model, and it centers on medication. “We know that DNA is the foundation of life,” Ruano says. “DNA also can be used for decision support in the clinic, in terms of selection and dosing of medication. It’s almost like how a GPS helps you with routing. There are 80 brands of mental health medications. Personalized medicine helps us match the drug’s needs with what the patient has. With it we analyze which roads to avoid and which roads to take.” http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2011/11/cicats-retreat-takes-up-personalized-medicine/

Free Webinar on Managing Sport-Related Concussion Available Online

A free webinar called Concussion to Consequence: Managing Sport-Related Concussion On and Off the Field is available at http://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Pages/2011-Concussion-Webinar.aspx. It is also on the Health Science Libraries Intranet Page under the category “Training” in the “Classes” listings. In the future, many more webinar offerings will be listed. If you have any questions call or email Sheila Hayes, senior librarian and web resource librarian for the HH Health Science Libraries, at 860-545-2416 or email shayes01@harthosp.org

 

Care Coordination

 

Daylong Forum on Improving Care for Hospitalized Older Adults

A forum “Improving Care for Hospitalized Older Adults: Identifying Issues-Changing Practice” for the sharing of creative and successful programs and strategies designed to improve the care provided to hospitalized older adults. Evidence-based processes and outcomes will be highlighted. For health care professionals who design, implement, or oversee care of older adults in acute and subacute care setting Dec. 2, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Heublein Hall, ERC. Free to all HHC employees; others $50; students $25. Contact Carolann Schwartz, 860-545-7043, or email cschwar@harthosp.org.

 

Research and Academics

 

DynaMed, Evidence-Based Data Base, Available For Trial Through Library

DynaMed, the only evidence-based reference shown to answer most clinical questions during practice, will be available through the Health Science Libraries on a trial basis through Nov. 30. This clinical reference tool created by a physician for use by physicians primarily at the “point-of-care,” contains clinically organized summaries for nearly 3,200 topics. For more information, contact Sheila Hayes, 860-545-2416. To access DynaMed, go to: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?authtype=uid&user=hartf&password=trial&profile=dynamed

Dr. Gualberto Ruano Invited for Visiting Endowed Chair at the University of Puerto Rico

The Research Program congratulates Dr. Gualberto Ruano, director of the Genetics Research Center, on his invitation to occupy the First Visiting Endowed Chair at the University of Puerto Rico School of Health Professions and Medicine. Through this appointment, scheduled to begin in January 2012, Ruano will apply advanced genomic methods to address health disparities in the occurrence and treatment of cardiometabolic and neuropsychiatric diseases in Hispanic populations and will contribute to training a new cadre of health care workers in Puerto Rico to address these issues.

Research from IOL’s Braceland Center Reported In Clinical Psychiatry News

Charles H. Wilber, M.Ed., assistant director of the Braceland Center for Mental Health and Aging and a senior scientist at the Burlingame Center for Psychiatric Research and Education at the IOL, was lead investigator in a study about substance expectation therapy (SET) reported in the Nov. 8 issue of Clinical Psychiatry News. The study showed that SET, a newer form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, appears to do a better job helping people quit smoking, and it’s less of a burden on therapists. http://www.clinicalpsychiatrynews.com/news/more-top-news/single-view/form-of-cbt-helps-patients-stop-smoking/f60870d117.html

Honorary and Retired Medical Staff Luncheon Well Attended

The annual Honorary and Retired Medical Staff luncheon was held on Nov. 9 in the special dining room. Dr. Jeffry Nestler, president of the Medical Staff, gave guests an update on key issues. Dr. Paul Thompson, director of the Division of Cardiology, gave the featured presentation. Attending were:

  • Esther and Raymond Bartlett, M.D.
  • Moven and Peter Barwick, M.D.
  • Lauralyn and Bradford Blanchard, M.D.
  • Barbara and Donald Bradley, M.D.
  • Irene and Carl Braren, M.D.
  • Ann Bucknam, widow of Dr. Charles Bucknam
  • H. David Crombie, MD
  • Robert Fredrickson, M.D.
  • Joan Grey, widow of Dr. Neil Grey
  • Mary Ruth and Walter Hampton, M.D.
  • Alan Klatsky, M.D.
  • Terri and Marvin Levine, M.D.
  • Anita and William Mancoll, M.D.
  • Mimi and Peyton Mead, M.D.
  • Marnie and Robert Mueller, M.D.
  • Beverly and Richard Newell, M.D.
  • Elizabeth and Michael Reed, M.D.
  • Robert Rentz, M.D.
  • Robert Rosson, M.D.
  • Ruben Shapiro, M.D.
  • Herbert Silver, M.D.
  • Irving Waltman, M.D.
  • Judith Wawro, widow of Dr. William Wawro
  • Edmund Welch, M.D.
  • Fred Ziter, M.D.

 

Operational Update

 

Fentanyl Injection Shortage Leads to Restrictions

There is an ongoing national shortage of Fentanyl injection, which is not expected to be resolved until April 2012. The hospital has some supplies on hand, but will run out in a few weeks if current usage patterns continue. As of Nov. 8, we are preferentially supplying the areas that most benefit from Fentanyl's profile (areas that are discharging patients home), and providing alternative agents to areas that could more easily accommodate them.

  1. Use alternative narcotics whenever possible. The pharmacy has been able to increase our supplies of Morphine and Hydromorphone inj for continuous infusions. We will not be able to make high dose Fentanyl drips (we have a small supply of the 1000 mcg/100mL and 2,500 mcg/250mL bags available; other strengths cannot be offered).
  2. Modify CMO protocol to use Morphine whenever possible. The pharmacy has been able to obtain Morphine Sulfate 100 mg ADDvantage vials, which will be placed into a number of Pyxis machines. This will make a narcotic drip available quickly, while also reducing the use of Fentanyl.
  3. Pharmacy will ‘re-package’ Fentanyl into smaller size doses for OR use to reduce waste from using larger vials.
  4. Remove Fentanyl vials/amps from all inpatient nursing order sets (SCM), as well as from all Pyxis machines and restrict Fentanyl bolus doses to the OR, Cath Lab and Interventional Radiology.

By taking these actions, we can safely extend our supplies of Fentanyl to benefit the largest number of patients. If you have any questions please contact Pharmacy Services at 860-542-2962.

 

HH In the News

 

Six Hartford Health Centers Receive New Investment
ConnecticutPlus.com, Oct. 30

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the State Bond Commission have approved a total of $13.5 million for the improvement of hospitals in Hartford. Hartford Hospital will receive a $5 million allocation for the expansion of a simulation and conference center, which will add significantly to the hospital’s tools for medical education. “Hartford Hospital was the site of the state's first simulation center and we haven't looked back. We thank our lawmakers for having the foresight to expand our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation. CESI makes our region a destination for medical education, helps draw new talent to the region, and reinforces our reputation for medical innovation,” said Jeff Flaks, President and CEO.

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center was also awarded $5 million, to develop the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation, which will provide opportunities for innovative models of medical training, and will serve as a laboratory for improving patient care through applied research. “These funds will allow us to construct space and create an infrastructure for Institute activity‚ including innovation, simulation, and research‚ to help inform and shape the practice of primary care medicine during this period of dynamic change in healthcare,” said Gregory Makoul, Ph.D., Saint Francis’ Chief Academic Officer and Senior VP for Innovation. http://www.connecticutplus.com/cplus/information/news/health/Six-Hartford-health-centers-receive-new-investment1501615016.shtml

Places In The Heart: Truck-sized Ticker Promotes Cardio Awareness
Republican-American, Oct. 28

The incessant thumping of a larger-than-life heart resonated across a plaza outside Hartford Hospital Friday morning as people toured the inside of the human body's most vital organ. Dr. Steven Zweibel, director of Interventional Electrophysiology, answered questions in front of the MEGA Heart, which is approximately 21 feet long by 15 feet wide by 12 feet high. Visitors enter the exhibit through the largest vein that feeds the heart, the superior vena cava, and exit through the largest artery that leaves the heart, the aorta. Dr. Zweibel is interviewed in the attached video segment. http://www.rep-am.com/articles/2011/10/29/news/local/595435.txt

Affordable Housing Critical To State’s Towns
Hartford Courant, Oct. 29

By David Fink
“I was at Hartford Hospital for a minor matter last Friday. The place was buzzing and no matter who I dealt with‚ nurses, aides, technicians or staff, all making modest salaries, all earning every penny‚ the care they provide is loving and lifesaving. It made me think of a meeting I was at a few days before with residents in Ridgefield‚ median income $131,000, median home price $680,000. Most of them were rightly concerned their town needed more affordable homes. But there were a few exceptions. ‘We have no duty to create affordable housing,’ grumbled one man. Nurses at Hartford Hospital could surely help save the Ridgefield misanthrope’s life but they couldn't likely live in his town. High housing costs put too many people one job loss or health care crisis away from homelessness.” http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-fink-housing-1030-20111029,0,5872828.story

Hartford Hospital Sees Spike in CO Poisoning
Hartford Courant, Oct. 31

Hartford Hospital’s hyperbaric chamber was at working capacity Monday afternoon because of an increase in carbon monoxide poisonings. “This is the worst that I've seen,” said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, director of the Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine Center. They’re seeing people who used charcoal grills indoors, or generators to power their televisions and refrigerators. Patients with the most severe symptoms are being treated in the hyperbaric chamber, in which they receive oxygen for two-hour sessions. Besides speeding up the recovery, Johnson-Arbor said, the hyperbaric chamber therapy also might prevent long-term neurological damage.
http://www.courant.com/health/connecticut/hc-carbon-monoxide-1031-20111031,0,7488295.story

Outage Keeps Some Patients In the Hospital Longer
Hartford Courant, Nov. 4

Hartford Hospital officials built a wall dividing the emergency department waiting area to create a new space for patients who no longer require medical care, but weren't up to going home to a house with no heat or electricity. Cheryl Ficara, vice president of patient care services, said hospital officials decided that these patients needed a private area for their stays. With power out in so many patients' homes, area hospitals have adjusted the usual process of discharging patients. As usual, doctors decide whether a patient has any medical need to stay. If not, the hospital takes an additional step in which nurses then assess the patients' home situation. If the patient doesn't have power, the nurses then determine whether the patient is OK to live in an electricity-free environment. Many of the patients whose stays have been extended are elderly people. Others are those who have special medical needs, such as oxygen dependency. http://www.courant.com/health/connecticut/hc-hospital-cant-go-home-1105-20111104,0,1880783.story

 

In The System

 

MidState Nurses Picket Over Pension, Pay
Meriden Record Journal, Oct. 28

MidState Medical Center nurses began picketing outside the hospital Friday morning to protest a plan to revoke their pensions and what they consider inequities in their pay scale. http://www.myrecordjournal.com/meriden/article_2f8788d6-01a1-11e1-a29c-001cc4c03286.html

 

Regional Healthcare News

 

ECHN, UnitedHealthcare/Oxford Provider Contract Expires
Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 18:

Eastern Connecticut Health Network's provider contract with UnitedHealthcare has expired without both sides coming to terms on a new agreement. That means ECHN's Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals will now be non-participating members in the UnitedHealthcare/Oxford Health Plans commercial insurance plans. The contract between both parties expired Oct. 15 and negotiations for a new agreement became heated. http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/news21000.html 

Steward lures 150 doctors tied to Beth Israel

As health care competition heats up in Massachusetts, upstart Boston hospital chain Steward Health Care System has lured away 150 doctors affiliated with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s physician group by making them an offer so generous that Beth Israel’s lawyers question whether its terms amount to illegal kickbacks. Steward’s offer to the doctors in the Whittier Independent Practice Association, based in Newburyport, could potentially bring them as much as $3 million more next year under one key insurance contract, according to Whittier’s estimate.
http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2011/11/10/steward_snatches_150_doctors_affiliated_with_beth_israel_deaconess_physicians_group/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed2

New Medical Building Going Up On Saybrook Road in Middletown
Hartford Courant, Oct. 28:

A new 20,000-square-foot building in the “medical corridor” in Middletown may be open in April, a developer said at a groundbreaking Oct. 27. The $2 million building at 420 Saybrook Road will match the two existing 40,000-square-foot buildings next door, and will include an MRI center and will have medical office space. “What we have here rivals anything in Hartford,” said Frank Galluzzo, principal of Medical Development Associates. The Heritage Medical Center is part of the corridor’s more than 300,000 square feet of medical office space that includes the Middlesex Hospital outpatient center. http://www.courant.com/community/middletown/hc-middletown-medical-building-1029-20111028,0,783774.story

Aetna Plays Hardball With Hospitals: Insurer Says No To More Health Providers In Bid To Hold Down Costs
MarketWatch, Nov. 3:

It’s part of a ritual that health insurers and hospitals engage in when their contracts are up. Insurers review a hospital’s procedures and they mutually decide‚ sometimes grudgingly‚ on the hospital’s reimbursement rate. Often that involves a hefty raise, since medical inflation can be three times that of normal inflation. After negotiating for a few months, Aetna told Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital it was canceling their contract.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/aetna-plays-hardball-in-deals-with-hospitals-2011-11-03

Hartford Medicare Beneficiaries Sue U.S. Over Hospital Stays
Reuters, Nov. 3:

A group of Medicare patients sued the Obama administration in U.S. district court in Hartford, saying they were deprived of coverage because of a policy that allows hospitals to avoid admitting elderly people with chronic ailments. The plaintiffs asked the court to stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from authorizing doctors to place Medicare hospital patients on “observation” status rather than admitting them. The policy, meant to apply for hospital stays of no more than 48 hours, is instead being used to keep the elderly on outpatient status for longer stays, some lasting up to a week. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/usa-medicare-lawsuit-idUSN1E7A21ST20111103

 

Coming Events

 

November 15 (Tuesday):
Science on Screen: "Memento"

Dr. Hank Schwartz, psychiatrist in chief and vice president of behavioral health at the IOL, and Dr. David Glahn, an investigator from the IOL’s Olin Neuropsychiatric Research Center, will be participating in the series “Science on Screen” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor St., Hartford. Real Art Ways is one of eight cinemas in the United States selected to participate in Science on Screen, a pilot program linking films that deal with areas of scientific interest with local experts on the subject. Schwartz and Glahn will be talking about the case of “H.M.,” the most well known example of anterograde amnesia in the literature (and a case that originated here at Hartford Hospital). H.M., who was widely studied here from 1957 until his death in 2008, lived with anterograde amnesia for over 50 years, after having his hippocampus removed as a treatment for severe seizures. Attendees may then watch the film “Memento,” a crime/action thriller that is one of the most intriguing films about memory ever produced, about a man suffering from chronic short-term memory loss who uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.

November 17 (Thursday):
Department of Surgery Semi-Annual Recognition Celebration

The Department of Surgery and Surgical Collaborative Management Team will be hosting their Semi-Annual Recognition Celebration, 2-4 p.m. in the Special Dining Room. For more information, contact Kathy Smyth at 860-545-1568.

December 1 (Thursday):
Annual Medical Staff Meeting

Annual Medical Staff meeting and elections. Free flu shots will be available at the meeting. 7 a.m., Gilman Auditorium.

December 7 (Wednesday):
Holiday Party

You are cordially invited to the 2011 Hartford Hospital Holiday Party at the following locations/times:
North and South Campus:

  • Afternoon Session: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Heublein Hall
  • Evening Session: 10 p.m.-12 a.m., Main Cafeteria

Newington Campus: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Dining Room
Please wear your ID when attending.

More events

 

Hot Topics in Healthcare

 

Obama's Accountable Care Organizations Make Lackluster Debut
Heartlander, Oct. 27

Accountable Care Organizations were originally intended to be the crown jewel of President Obama’s cost-saving measures for health care. But it now appears many of the entities touted as potential ACOs have decided to pass. During the debate over health care reform, the Obama administration repeatedly cited the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Health System, and Intermountain Healthcare as examples of how they would like ACOs to operate. But when the administration unfurled its new ACO program, the four so-called poster children all declined to participate, judging the reporting requirements too burdensome and the financial penalties for ACOs that don’t achieve savings as too harsh to justify the process. http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/10/27/obamas-accountable-care-organizations-make-lackluster-debut

Evidence-Based Medicine in the EMR Era
NEJM, Nov. 2

Many physicians take pride in the practice of evidence-based medicine. Modern medical education emphasizes the value of the randomized, controlled trial, and we learn early on not to rely on anecdotal evidence. But the application of such superior evidence, however admirable the ambition, can be constrained by trials' strict inclusion and exclusion criteria‚ or the complete absence of a relevant trial. In such situations, we are used to relying on evidence at Levels III through V‚ expert opinion‚ or resorting to anecdotal evidence. What should we do when there aren't even meager data available and we don't have a single anecdote on which to draw? http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1108726?query=TOC

Voices Of Our Patients

Starting with this issue, we will include letters we receive from patients.
 
To: Mary Ann Vanderjagt, Patient Navigator
This letter is written to thank you and your wonderful volunteers for all that you are doing to help patients and caregivers/family members to cope with their cancer issues.
The integration of the program that I experienced, Reiki (by Dave & Fay), facial (by Denise) and massage (on N10 by Cheryl) were all remarkably relaxing (and one more Reiki to look forward to next week). It was a wonderful opportunity for me to see other patients so relaxed and responsive to Angie’s Spa. We are all so appreciative of the enthusiasm and good humor and caring of those who give so freely of their time and talent.
Your own coordination to work around my radiation treatment was so meaningful. Also the day, one of the volunteers called me (for you) to see how I was doing was so appreciated. The availability of literature, informational material and newsletters from the American Cancer Society is helpful and appreciated as are your cards regarding your availability.
Thank you and the volunteers for your part in making the Hartford Hospital Helen & Harry Gray Center the best place to go for cancer treatment and care.
Gratefully,

Doris Armstrong

 


The Seymour Street Journal (SSJ) has been developed to communicate key messages pertinent to our hospital’s physicians. It will keep you informed and up-to-date on hospital, network, and health care news in a concise, convenient format. The SSJ will be sent to your preferred e-mail address every other Sunday. Back issues can be viewed here. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, Medical Staff President, at (860) 836-7313.