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

December 9, 2012 Edition

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HH Facts:

1987 - The first defibrillator (ICD) implantation in Hartford was performed at Hartford Hospital by Drs. Paul Preissler and Jeffrey Kluger.

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.

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

In This Issue...
Top News

Flu Season is Here; Staff Immunization Rate Near 100%

We are now seeing our first cases of influenza at Hartford Hospital and our flu season has begun. Although these first few cases are right on schedule, this is no ordinary flu season. This year, Hartford Hospital faces the flu far better prepared than in the past. Our Universal Influenza Prevention program – which began this year – will keep our patients safer than ever. We have achieved staff immunization rates approaching 100 percent. Thank you for making this a great success.

Please remember to consider flu as you evaluate patients, and isolate using droplet precautions pending the results of the Influenza A, B, H1N1 2009 PCR. This test, performed on nasal or nasopharyngeal swabs, is available real time from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and has a turn around time of two hours. For specimens received on third shift (after 10 p.m.), specimens are batched and the test performed at two times, at approximately 1:30-2 a.m. and 4 a.m.


Town Hall Meeting with President Flaks

Monday, Dec. 17

Newington Eye Center

President/CEO Jeff Flaks has held six Town Hall Meetings open to all staff members in the past three weeks. There will be one more on Monday, Dec. 17 from 5-6 p.m. at the Newington Eye Center in the Waiting Room Lobby. This is a time to ask questions or discuss any ideas or concerns you have about Hartford Hospital.


First LV Apical TAVRs Performed at HH By Cardiac Surgeons and Interventionists

Cardiac surgeons and interventionists performed the first two LV Apical TAVRs at Hartford Hospital on Dec. 6. Both patients are doing well. The procedure involved a multispecialty team that included support staff from cath lab and the OR.

Participating were Drs. Robert Hagberg, chief of cardiac surgery; David Underhill, cardiothoracic surgeon; Paul Preissler, cardiothoracic surgeon; Raymond McKay, director of interventional cardiology research; Francis Kiernan, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory; and Ronan Margey, director of structural heart and adult congenital heart intervention.


Dr. Jack Ross Named Health Care Hero

Dr. Jack Ross, Hartford Hospital's director of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and the HIV program, was named a Health Care Hero by the Hartford Business Journal at a ceremony Dec. 5 at the Connecticut Convention Center. He was one of seven people so honored from the state.

Long an advocate of patient safety, Ross heads Hartford Hospital's Bloodstream Infection Prevention Committee, a multidisciplinary group that has researched and adopted a series of initiatives designed to reduce the number of infections that occur in the intensive care units and aggressively treat them when they do occur. The steering committee includes representatives from the hospital's surgical and medical critical care, interventional radiology, critical care nursing, emergency, infection control, anesthesia, IV therapy and infusion, and information technology departments.

In addition to pioneering infection-control procedures, Ross has long been involved in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. He saw his first HIV patient in 1981 when he was still in training, he said. Ross, a native of Maine who earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his medical degree from Tufts University, began treating HIV patients during a stint with the U.S. Public Health Service early in his career and continues to spend about 20 hours each week seeing patients at Hartford Hospital. The hospital's HIV clinic, which opened in 1992, now includes two part-time physicians and two full-time nurse practitioners in addition to Ross. It serves about 600 patients.

"Jack Ross has made enormous contributions to health care, not just in our immediate community, but everywhere," said President Jeffrey Flaks. "By taking a stand and focusing on the treatment and prevention of hospital acquired infections, Jack has shown his profound commitment to patients. His contributions include the prevention of bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and catheter-associated urinary tract infections and his undying focus on bolstering hand hygiene practices. At the same time he has made Hartford Hospital safer, because of his efforts, other hospitals now look to our lead in the elimination of hospital acquired infections We are blessed to have him in our community."

Stephen Donahue, director of the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation, was one of finalists for the Health Care Hero awards. "Steve Donahue has helped to revolutionize medical education, and in doing so, has put our community and our state on the map with the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation," said President Jeffrey Flaks. "Because people like Steve had incredible vision and foresight, we are now expanding upon CESI and creating an even better, international destination, a place where people from across the globe will congregate to learn the latest techniques in a simulated and risk-free environment. Patients are safer today because Steve and his team had a vision for the future of medical education. We are so fortunate to have him in our midst."


Joseph and Flaks Named To CT's Most Influential List

Hartford HealthCare president and CEO Elliot Joseph and Hartford Hospital president and CEO Jeffrey Flaks were named among the Hartford Magazine’s 50 most influential people in the state.


Medical Foundation Named Hartford HealthCare Medical Group

Last spring, we announced the formation of a medical foundation designed to provide a structure for physicians and advanced practitioners employed by Hartford HealthCare. This new multi-specialty group practice will begin operating on Jan. 1, 2013 and will be marketed to the public under the name Hartford HealthCare Medical Group.

This group brings together physicians in more than 60 offices, across four hospitals and is made up of clinicians who have practiced with Hartford Specialists, Hartford Medical Group, MidState Medical Group, Doctors of Central Connecticut and Windham Family Medical Associates.

The name Hartford HealthCare Medical Group was chosen with the assistance of Landor, a nationally respected branding and marketing company that also created the successful Hartford HealthCare branding strategy two years ago. Landor’s experts told us that this name clearly states who and what we are with no further explanation needed. It links us to the already recognized Hartford HealthCare brand and reflects the fact that we are a group of physicians and other practitioners working together to deliver the highest-quality, safest and most coordinated care to our patients.

Dr. Kent Stahl is president of HHCMG, and vice president of the Primary Care Division, and Dr. Jeffrey Cohen is vice president of the Specialty Care Division.


Hudson Street Parking Garage Update

The new Hudson Street Parking Garage will open the first week of January. This new 1,250 car facility will increase parking availability for staff as well as patients and visitors. The current parking capacity for visitors and patients will increase by 60 percent.

Built into the new parking garage facility is a staff Fitness Center. Scheduled to open at the end of February, the center will be open 24/7 with card access.


Ribbon Cutting for Transplant Program and Comprehensive Liver Center Tomorrow

Dec. 10

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Transplant Program and Comprehensive Liver Center on Monday, Dec. 10 from 2-4 p.m. in the Medical Office Building at 85 Seymour Street, Suite 320.


Send Your Staff To This Practice Managers’ Meeting

Dec. 19

Please encourage your practice managers to attend a Practice Managers' Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 12–1:30 p.m. at 85 Jefferson Street, Room 118 (Auditorium).

A program called "How to stay on top of Medicare changes" will be presented by Donna Pisani and Andrea Freibauer, consultants from Provider Outreach & Education, National Government Services Medicare Part B. Topics will include: Recent updates, new preventive services, LCD, provider enrollment changes, electronic submission of medical documentation (esMD), Medicare Incentive Programs, help for your office, and other resources.

Register online at or by phone at 860-545-1888. If you have any questions, please call Physician Relations at 860-545-1444.


Hartford Med: Holiday Miracles Episode Airs

Last Thursday (Dec. 6), Hartford Hospital aired the latest installment of its continuing TV series Advancing Medicine on Hartford’s CBS affiliate, WFSB Channel 3. It was called Hartford Med: Living Miracles. After this special holiday episode,Drs. Alan Babigian and Matt Saidel, who appeared in the episode, answered calls from viewers in the WFSB studios. You can watch it online in three parts.


NIMH Doctor Recognized With IOL's Burlingame Award

Dr. Judith L. Rapoport, chief of the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., was honored Nov. 7 as the recipient of the Institute of Living’s prestigious and internationally recognized annual Dr. C. Charles Burlingame Award during a dinner program at the Hartford Golf Club.

The IOL's Burlingame Dinner is one of the most prestigious events in psychiatry and continually enhances the reputation of Hartford Hospital. The award honors leading psychiatrists who embody the highest values of clinical care, research, education and administration, which were characteristic of Dr. Burlingame. Dr. Burlingame came to The Hartford Retreat (now the Institute of Living) in 1931 as superintendent and within six years created a model community where patients could receive the best psychiatric treatment and where research and education could foster.

Dr. Rapoport has been a transformational figure for child and adolescent psychiatry whose work has covered multiple areas and who is widely recognized and highly regarded by her colleagues.


Annual Meeting of the Corporators Held Nov. 15

The annual meeting of Hartford Hospital corporators was held Nov. 15 in Heublein Hall. Our corporators are part of the critical partnership among the hospital’s board of directors, medical staff, management and community.  The corporators help keep us in tune with the community and provide vital support in leadership and the contribution of time, expertise and funds.


Hartford Hospital Partners in Community Gun Buyback Program

For the third consecutive year, Hartford Hospital joined the CCMC, St. Francis, the City of Hartford, the Hartford Police and the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office in a community gun buyback program. Individuals could turn in firearms Dec. 3 in Hartford and receive a gift card. All guns received were to be destroyed.

Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, vice president of Academics and Research and director of our trauma center, participated in a news conference to announce the program.


Dr. Lenworth Jacobs Receives Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Lenworth Jacobs, vice president of Academic Affairs and chief academic officer and director of the trauma program, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Surgeons on November 8 at the annual CTACSPA meeting in Farmington.


Hospital Chapel Wins Design Award and People’s Choice Award from AIA

Hartford Hospital Multi-Faith Chapel received both a Merit Award for Design Excellence, AND the ‘People’s Choice’ Award this year from the Connecticut chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The awards ceremony was in New Haven at the Long Wharf Theater on December 3.


Hartford Hospital Receives Silver Medal for Organ Donation

Hartford Hospital was awarded a silver Medal of Honor for Organ Donation from Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Judith Pepe, chief of Outpatient Clinic and Surgery, represented HH at the National Learning Congress and received the Medal.

Hartford Hospital was the only Connecticut hospital to win a medal this year out of 404 hospitals, 38 organ procurement organizations, and 174 transplant programs for their success in increasing the number of organs available and transplanted.

Hospital representatives received the department’s Medal of Honor for Organ Donation for achieving and sustaining national goals for donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors at their facilities. OPOs were recognized for their efforts based on similar criteria. Transplant programs were recognized based on their performance on post-transplant survival rates, transplant rates, and mortality rates after patients are placed on waiting lists.

This year's Black & Red gala, scheduled for Jan. 5, 2013, will benefit the Transplant Program.


Our Goal: Register 1,000 New Organ Donors

Hartford Hospital has launched a campaign to register 1,000 new organ donors, in cooperation with the Donate Life New England Donor Registery .

You can join the Donate Life New England Donor Registry by going to On the registration page, please be sure to select “Hartford Hospital” from the “How did you hear about…” drop-down menu.

Innovative and Complex Care

Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center Receives Reaccreditation

The Hartford Hospital Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center recently received reaccreditation though the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society (UHMS). Currently there are over 1,300 hospital-affiliated hyperbaric centers in the United States, only 120 have passed this accreditation survey process. Of the 19 hospital-affiliated hyperbaric centers located in Connecticut, only three are accredited by UHMS.

The Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, located on the first floor of the Conklin Building, treats patients with non-healing and problem wounds. It is equipped with a multiplace hyperbaric chamber that seats up to ten patients. The chamber is also used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning. The Center is staffed with three full-time physicians, all board certified in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine. A podiatrist is available two days each week to provide treatment for diabetic and complex wounds of the foot and ankle.

Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor is medical director of the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

Research and Academics

S.T.A.B.L.E. Program - A LIFE STAR Educational Opportunity

Jan. 12, 2013


There will be a LIFE STAR S.T.A.B.L.E. program session on Jan. 12, 2013 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in JB-118. S.T.A.B.L.E (which stands for the six assessment and care modules in the program: sugar, temperature, airway, blood pressure, lab work and emotional support) is an educational tool developed for maternal/child health care providers to organize care during the post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization period. It is the most widely distributed and implemented neonatal education program to focus exclusively on this care for sick infants.

Registration is $25, and includes continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. For more information, contact Patrick Dowd at 860-545-4369 or


Dr. Andrew Salner Presents Research at National Urologic Oncology Meeting

Dr. Andrew Salner, Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center Director, presented “Return to work after primary early prostate cancer surgery” at the annual meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology in Bethesda, Maryland on Nov. 30. This research focuses on disability related to cancer therapy, and how new technologies may hasten return to work, and to good function. The research has been funded by a grant from InHealth, The Institute for Health Technology Studies, a non profit Foundation funded by the medical technology industry to study the impact of new technologies.

Co-investigators on the team include Drs. Tara McLaughlin, Ilene Staff, and Joseph Wagner from Hartford Hospital, and Dr. Rene Jahiel from UCONN Health Center and Dr. Keith Bellizzi from UCONN-Storrs.

Initial findings from the research team indicate a substantially earlier return to work interval for men undergoing robotic prostatectomy as compared with open prostatectomy. Further research underway will examine the disability period related to job classification, age, co-morbidity, side effects, education level, and other factors. Hartford Hospital is one of the largest sites of comprehensive prostate cancer diagnosis and therapy in New England, and a leader in research in various aspects of the disease.


Radiology Symposium Showcases Improvements in Imaging Safety and Quality

The Department of Radiology held its annual PQI Symposium on Dec. 5 showcasing projects performed by our residents and attending staff all geared towards improving the safety and quality of imaging services. 

Here are the presentations from this year's symposium.

• Effect of Head CT Alignment from Addition of a Lateral Scout Image Prior to Scanning
 S Azizad and M O’Loughlin     
Adding a coronal localizer to the head CTs improved alignment and symmetry of the final acquired images.

• Improving Critical Test Direct Communication Time 
D Karimeddini, B Spillane, A Agostino, R Kaliney
Sending an email “educational” notification to any clinician who ordered a critical test and then were difficult to reach with the verbal report, significantly improved subsequent contact attempts.

• Evaluation of Radiation Dose and Image Quality Using Direct Digital Radiography Compared to Computed Radiography
A Sheth and R.T. Brown
Digital radiography images could be obtained at half the xray dose of the Computed radiography systems without significant loss of image quality.

• How Important is Radiologist Physical Proximity to Referring Clinician Satisfaction?
S Temkin, A Patel, E Foxman, D Montgomery
The number of overnight clinician visitors to the radiology resident did not significantly change when they moved to their new reading room in the Orange Pod in the ED.

• Completing Stat Reports: a Closer Look
S Boe, M Khaleel, N Decalo
Adding a dedicated ED rotation to the radiology residency improved report turn around times for radiographs, ultrasound, and fluoroscopic studies.

• Does a Dedicated ED Radiology Rotation Decrease the Percentage of Patients Discharged from the Emergency Department Prior to a Final Report on Imaging Studies?
R Modi and T Farquhar
Adding a dedicated ED rotation to the radiology residency did not significantly decrease the percentage of ED patients discharged before the report was finalized.

• Standardized Reporting in Stroke Imaging
C Garcia, A Bansal, E Foxman
Following additional resident and attending radiologist education, the use of NASCET criteria in neck CTAs and MRAs significantly increased.

• Analysis of System-Based Etiologies for Delays in Competing ED and STAT MRI Exams at Hartford Hospital 
J Kaye, S. Lee
Pinpointed targets for potential improvement in obtaining STAT MRI exams ordered from the ED and inpatients.


Drs. Paul Thompson and Beth Parker Publish STOMP Trial Research in Circulation

Dr. Paul Thompson, medical director of Cardiology, and Dr. Beth Parker, director of exercise physiology research, published an article called "STOMP: Atorvastatin Doesn't Reduce Muscle Strength" in the Nov. 26 issue of Circulation.

Although physicians have frequently claimed that statins cause muscle pain, the effect of the drugs on muscle function has not been carefully observed in clinical trials prior to STOMP. The study confirms the "previously undocumented impression" that statins increase muscle pain, the researchers point out. However, the atorvastatin patients and control patients showed no differences in muscle strength, endurance, aerobic performance, or physical-activity levels.

The STOMP study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health.


Medicare Learning Network Added to Library Intranet Site

The Library has added the "Medicare Learning Network" for professionals to the Library Intranet site and it is located under the category "Featured Resources." The Medicare Learning Network (MLN) is the home for education, information, and resources for the Medicare Fee-For-Service provider community. The MLN gives health care professionals access to the Medicare Program information they need, when they need it, so they can focus more on providing care to patients.

You can access it there: Or, you can go directly to and save it to your Desktop.

If you have any questions about this service call/email Sheila Hayes 860-972-2416 or

Care Coordination

Dr. Ronan Margey Appointed Director of Structural Heart and Adult Congenital Heart Intervention

Dr. Ronan Margey, cardiology, has been appointed director of Structural Heart and Adult Congenital Heart Intervention. He will be responsible for coordinating all activities related to catheter-based treatments of structural heart disease, including transacted aortic valve interventions and replacement, transcatheter mitral valve repair and replacement, left atrial appendage occlusion, transcatheter septal defect closure, transacted paravalvular leak closure, and intracardiac echocardiography.

He is also responsible for developing collaborative activities with industry, quality control, research and report generation, and developing an adult congenital heart disease service with colleagues at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.


Call For Abstracts on Improving Patient Experience

Deadline Jan. 11

How did you or your area improve the patient experience? You are invited to submit an abstract about it for a tabletop poster display on "The Patient Experience - Connecting With Purpose" for the First Annual HHC Patient Experience Event on April 12, 2013. The event, to be held at Heublein Hall, is designed to showcase best practices and innovation across HHC.

Staff can submit an abstract in one of three categories: Improved Transitions of Care, Innovation, or Enhanced Patient and Family Centered Care. A winner and runner-up will be chosen in each category. The winner will be asked to present a brief presentation.

The deadline for submission is January 11, 2013. We encourage you to take advantage of this exciting opportunity and share with other health care practitioners how you or your area improved the patient experience. Download the rules and application form here.

Operational Update

10 Medical Staff Members Recognized at Leadership Donors Event

The Leadership Donors Event, recognizing donors who contributed $2,500 or more to Hartford Hospital during FY2012, was held November 29th at the home of Marla and John Byrnes, longtime friends and volunteers of the hospital.

Among the 70 guests attending were 10 members of the Medical Staff, Annual Campaign and Major Gift donors, as well as contacts from our corporate supporters and members of the community who have held fundraisers to benefit the hospital. President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks spoke to the gathering about the remarkable accomplishments the hospital and staff achieved over the past year.


Black & Red is Sold Out; ‘Show & Dessert’ Tickets Available

Jan. 5, 2013

With strong support from the community and the Medical Staff, the 2013 Black & Red featuring Earth, Wind & Fire is sold out. However, the Fund Development Department is offering a limited number of “Show & Dessert” tickets for $175 for the January 5th event. Ticket-holders will be allowed admission to the 8 p.m. concert and coffee and dessert stations following the performance.

This year, the Black & Red will benefit the Transplant Program. Dr. Patricia Sheiner is medical staff chair of the event.

For information about these tickets, contact Carla Burgess at 860-545-1932 or


MD Anderson Executives Attend HH Cancer Conference

Executives from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world's premier cancer facilities, attended a multi-disciplinary GI cancer conference here on Dec. 5 as part of a site visit to HHC.

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Network team is pursuing an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center affiliation and is in discussions with several of the nations top cancer centers, including MD Anderson.

Dr. Peter McLaughlin, medical director of the MD Anderson Physicians Network, stated he was extremely impressed with the quality of the cancer conference.

HH In the News

New Neuronavigation Technology in Experimental Treatment

Connecticut Plus, Nov. 26

A new research program makes the Institute of Living only the second in the country to investigate the use of neuronavigation in combination with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). TMS is an FDA-approved treatment for depression which delivers magnetic pulses on the surface of the scalp. Typically, a standardized “a one-size-fits all” measurement is used to figure out where to place the magnetic coil. In neuronavigation, the location is found using each person’s unique brain scan. The brain scan is synched in real time using 3-D images with the TMS machine to allow for a more precise delivery of the treatment. Neuronavigation has been shown to improve how well the treatment works for depression.

Researchers at the Institute of Living are now conducting a clinical trial to see if using neuronavigation together with TMS can also successfully treat GAD. People with GAD are worriers. While everyone worries to some extent, people with GAD worry excessively about many different things, and cannot easily stop. The worrying often comes along with other symptoms, like feeling restless, keyed up, and irritable. Problems with concentration, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance are also common.

“This is all very new,” said Gretchen Diefenbach, Ph.D., who is the principal investigator on the study. “There has only been one other study conducted using this treatment for GAD.”


Planning Considerations for Medical Simulation Centers

Health Facilities Management, November issue

This article features several photos from Hartford Hospital's CESI:

The use of patient simulation has been growing as more health care facilities realize the value of training clinical staff in controlled environments. New and experienced doctors and clinicians can practice skills and learn new procedures on advanced mannequins or other training devices. This inevitably means new projects for health facilities professionals. Over the past 10 years, health care has experienced a five- to tenfold increase in the number of simulation centers, or "sim centers." There are about 1,000 sim centers in the United States and the number is expected to grow.


UNH Gets Funding for Infant Heart Disease Study;
Hartford Hospital one of nine participating birthing facilities

Seacoast Online, Dec. 2

When it comes to screening newborns for heart disease, there are a lot of sometimes disparate pieces of the puzzle. From parents to doctors to hospitals to state health departments, the pieces don't always come together to screen and diagnose an infant with critical congenital heart disease. But a $900,000, three-year grant to the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability might help put the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that provides better, more comprehensive screening for children with CCHD. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant is awarded in affiliation with the New England Genetic Collaborative.

The project is working with nine regional birthing facilities, including Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH; Concord Hospital; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hartford Hospital; Maine Medical Center; Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I.; and Yale-New Haven Hospital.


Hartford Hospital Launches Epilepsy Center

Harford Business Journal, Nov. 27

Hartford Hospital is launching a new comprehensive Epilepsy Center to provide more advanced treatments for people who suffer from the neurological disease.
The epilepsy center will be part of a new inpatient unit at Hartford Hospital and will provide:
• The latest diagnostic, surgical and treatment technology.
• The highest volume of EEG's.
• 24 hour EEG inpatient monitoring
• The only fully ambulatory EEG in Connecticut, allowing patient home monitoring for up to 72 hours.
• Minimally invasive craniotomy surgery, using fewer electrodes for even faster recovery.
• Individualized care by a dedicated team of Epilepsy experts.
• A newly renovated, multi-bed inpatient center.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures and impacts 60,000 people in Connecticut each year.
Hospital officials say patients in Greater Hartford didn't have local access to care and would have to travel long distances for epilepsy treatment.
"This will bring the most advanced, the highest quality care to the people who need it the most, and will make a tremendous impact on our patients' quality of life," said Jeffrey Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford Hospital. "This shows our commitment to our community and allows us to provide world-class treatment for our community members, right here, close to home. We will become a destination center for our region."


Hartford HealthCare Joins Flu Vaccination Pact

Hartford Business Journal, Dec. 4

Hartford Healthcare is adopting a "universal flu prevention program" that will require its employees to get a flu shot by December 1. Medical and religious exemptions are allowed. Hartford Healthcare said staff members with approved exemptions will be required to wear surgical masks during flu season when they are within six feet of an area in which they may encounter patients.


Some Hospital Employees Dismissed, Suspended After Refusing Mandatory Flu Shots

Hartford Courant, Dec. 5

More state hospitals this year are making flu shots mandatory for all workers, and some have even suspended a handful who have not complied. This year, 19 of the 29 acute care hospitals in the state require flu vaccinations. Last year, there were only five. Religious and medical exemptions are allowed. Children's Medical Center requires a note from the person's spiritual leader. At Hartford Hospital, the employee can write their own note explaining their objections.

At Hartford Hospital, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rocco Orlando said he can understand concerns about flu vaccine, even if he doesn't agree with them. The swine flu vaccine administered in the mid-1970s resulted in a slight increase in the risk of getting Guillain-Barré Syndrome. And some vaccines in past years have failed to protect against the strains of flu circulating those seasons. "So some people have been skeptical for those reasons," he said.

This is the first year that Hartford Hospital has required vaccinations among employees. Last year, the vaccination rate was just over 70 percent. This year, it is 99.2 percent.


Flu Vaccine Mandate Sparks Rights Debate

NBC Connecticut, Dec. 6

There is a controversial new flu vaccine mandate coming from several hospitals that has forced a few long-time employees out of work. Wendi Comeau, an accountant with Hartford HealthCare, is one of them. “I will not compromise my beliefs for a job,” Comeau said. “If I'm meant to get the flu, then I think that's God's will.” Comeau refused to get the flu shot after Hartford HealthCare mandated it for all their employees. Citing her Christian faith and health concerns, she applied for an exemption. She was denied and hired a lawyer and appealed the decision. Her appeal was approved.

“We look at is as no different than when you walk into a patient room to provide direct patient care. You should wash your hands,” said Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rocco Orlando. "We expect that every time, every intervention. This is really something that's along the same grounds."

In the HHC System

Windham Hospital Foundation Announces Gina's Friends Has Raised $110,000

Hartford Courant, Nov. 21

The Windham Hospital Foundation today announced that more than $110,000 has been raised for Gina's Friends since the fund was generously established in 2010 by a major gift from Gina Barreca and her husband, Michael Meyer, because of their positive experiences at Windham Hospital and to honor their mothers. Gina's Friends helps women who cannot afford to obtain life-saving diagnostic tests or services because they fall through the cracks of state or federal healthcare programs, because they lack adequate insurance, or because they have no insurance at all. More than 200 women have been helped by Gina's Friends since its inception.


Opinions Differ On Impact of Closing Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at MidState

My Record Journal, Nov. 30

In the 1980s, there were more than a dozen psychiatrists practicing in Meriden, according to Paul Horton, a psychiatrist based on Pomeroy Avenue. That number has dwindled to a handful today, he said. Psychiatrists agree that there have been major changes to the profession over the past few decades, but aren’t in agreement on whether those changes have been the best for mental health patients. Ten to 20 years ago, a psychiatrist would see patients in both the hospital and at his private practice, according to Howard Dobin, MidState Medical Center’s director of hospitalist medicine. Now, Dobin said, hospitalists — doctors who work exclusively in hospitals and coordinate care with doctors in private practice — provide care at MidState and Rushford Center, an addiction and mental health facility on Paddock Avenue. Dobin said the hospitalist system is more efficient and allows more specialization and thus better care.

MidState intends to shut its six-bed inpatient psychiatric unit and relocate services to the New Britain General campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, which plans to expand psychiatric services there by 10 beds. Both MidState and the Hospital of Central Connecticut are part of the Hartford HealthCare network. Hartford HealthCare anticipates saving $1.5 million a year by closing the MidState unit.


Backus Hospital Posts $14M Increase in Revenue

Norwich Bulletin, Nov. 16

The William W. Backus Hospital collected more than $283 million in patient revenues during the last fiscal year, enabling the company to spend almost $30 million improving assets across its health care system, officials said Friday.

That marks a $14 million revenue increase from 2011 levels, according to the state Office of Health Care Access. Among the most anticipated moves this coming fiscal year for Backus is its pending affiliation with Hartford HealthCare, which will set up a $3 million fund for physician recruitment and an influx of $200 million to develop and implement a strategic plan that will focus on preventive care.

Health Care News In the Region

Paralyzed Man To Walk Soon: Bionics Device Offers Mobility at Gaylord Hospital

Hartford Courant - Nov. 19

Mike Loura, 43, who has been paralyzed from the chest down since a car hit him in 2008, is one of five patients at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford being trained on the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton suit, which works as an external robot that supports the patient and manipulates his or her limbs.

The hospital is the only one in the state (there are 15 locations in the U.S. and 20 in the world) where the devices, which cost $130,000 each, are being used. The technology is so new that any other possible benefits are still being studied, said Dr. David Rosenblum, medical director of rehabilitation at Gaylord Hospital. Whether it could be used as a therapeutic tool to help certain patients regain the ability to walk, Rosenblum said, remains to be seen.


St. Francis Names Chief Medical Information Officer

Becker’s Hospital Review - Nov. 30

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford has named Sudeep Bansal, MD, as its first chief medical information officer. In the newly created role, Dr. Bansal will manage the development, implementation and use of clinical information systems. Also, he will be a leader of IT strategic information system development committees. Dr. Bansal joined St. Francis in 2009 as a hospitalist. At St. Francis, he has worked with the IT department to improve and implement clinical informatics-related workflows.


Tennessee-based Hospital Chain Plans to Buy Bristol Hospital

Hartford Courant - Nov. 29

The Tennessee company that's planning a joint venture with Waterbury Hospital announced Wednesday that it will buy Bristol Hospital.The deal with Vanguard Health Systems Inc. is the best way to protect the long-term prospects of the 134-bed community hospital, officials and directors of Bristol Hospital said.

Coming Events

December 10 (Monday)

Ribbon Cutting-Transplant and Liver Center

MOB Suite 320

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Transplant Program and Comprehensive Liver Center on Monday, Dec. 10 from 2-4 p.m. in the Medical Office Building at 85 Seymour Street, Suite 320.


December 17 (Monday)

Town Hall Meeting with President Flaks

Newington Eye Center

There will be one more Town Hall Meeting with President/CEO Jeff Flaks on Monday, Dec. 17 from 5-6 p.m. at the Newington Eye Center in the Waiting Room Lobby. This is a time to ask questions or discuss any ideas or concerns you have about Hartford Hospital.


December 19 (Wednesday)

Practice Managers’ Meeting

85 Jefferson Street, Room 118

Please encourage your practice managers to attend a Practice Managers' Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19, from 12–1:30 p.m. at 85 Jefferson Street, Room 118 (Auditorium).

A program called "How to stay on top of Medicare changes" will be presented by Donna Pisani and Andrea Freibauer, consultants from Provider Outreach & Education, National Government Services Medicare Part B. Topics will include: Recent updates, new preventive services, LCD, provider enrollment changes, electronic submission of medical documentation (esMD), Medicare Incentive Programs, help for your office, and other resources.

Attendees can park in the public parking garage and bring their ticket for validation. Register online at or by phone at 860-545-1888. If you have any questions, please call Physician Relations at 860-545-1444.


January 5, 2013 (Saturday):

Black & Red

The Bushnell

Hartford Hospital's 22nd annual Black & Red Gala will take place on Jan. 5, 2013 at the Bushnell. It has an impressive headliner this year: Earth, Wind, & Fire. More than 1,000 medical, business, and community leaders will come together to raise money for Hartford Hospital's Transplant Program. For more information, visit


For more coming events, click here.

Hot Topics in Healthcare

A Hospital War Reflects a Bind for Doctors in the U.S.:
Doctors Who Work for Hospitals Face a New Bottom Line

The New York Times, Nov. 30

Boise is a medical battleground. A little over half of the 1,400 doctors in southwestern Idaho are employed by St. Luke’s or St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Many of the independent doctors complain that both hospitals have too much power over every aspect of the medical pipeline, dictating which tests and procedures to perform, how much to charge and which patients to admit. They said their referrals from doctors now employed by St. Luke’s had dropped sharply, while patients were paying more there for the same level of treatment.

Boise’s experience reflects a growing national trend toward consolidation. Across the country, doctors who sold their practices and signed on as employees have similar criticisms.They describe growing pressure to meet the financial goals of their new employers — often by performing unnecessary tests and procedures or by admitting patients who do not need a hospital stay.

In Boise, just a few weeks ago, even the hospitals were at war. St. Alphonsus went to court seeking an injunction to stop St. Luke’s from buying another physician practice group, arguing that the hospital’s dominance in the market was enabling it to drive up prices and to demand exclusive or preferential agreements with insurers. The price of a colonoscopy has quadrupled in some instances, and in other cases St. Luke’s charges nearly three times as much for laboratory work as nearby facilities, according to the St. Alphonsus complaint.


Doctor Office Use of Basic EHRs Hits Nearly 40%

Modern Healthcare, Dec. 6

Nearly 4 in 10 office-based physicians are now using an electronic health-record system with a basic level of functions, according to the latest estimates from an annual federal survey, up from about 1 in 3 a year ago.

The National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed basic EHR adoption for office-based physicians—excluding anesthesiologist, pathologists and radiologists—in 2012 at 39.6%. That's an increase from the 33.9% adoption rate in last year's survey and not quite twice as high as the 21.8% EHR adoption rate found by the survey in 2009, when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed, creating federal programs under Medicare and Medicaid to boost EHR adoption and their meaningful use.

Voices Of Our Patients

Kudos to Drs. Mitchell McClure and Evan Fox

Dr. McClure,

First of all I want to thank you for having all of the issues that we discussed on Sunday addressed. This is a big relief for the family. I visited my mother last evening and although I can see that she is doing much better, she still is a bit off and really isn't doing enough drinking on her own and not eating any adequate amount of food.

Both of my parents met with Dr. Fox who they liked very much. My concern here is that he may not fully understand the extent of what is going on with Mom. According to my Dad he said he was going to give her something but when I checked with the nurse she is still only on the 30mg Remeron. Frankly we think she needs something in addition to or different. Once she gets home and if she still has the bag she will fall right back into her old bad habits with no motivation or zest for daily life. This is the only outstanding concern we have at this time until the surgeon sees her today and makes a decision on how he is going to proceed.

I cannot express to you enough how much it means to me personally and us as a family all that you have accomplished in such a short time. You are a breath of fresh air in our day.



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.