Seymour Street Journal - 03/04/2012 - Hartford Hospital, Connecticut
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

March 18, 2012 Edition

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HH Facts
1960 - First intravascular polyvinyl left atrial catheter insertion for post-operative intracardiac pressure monitoring performed by Drs. Thomas Donavan, Charles McLean and Max Zehnder.

Top News


FINDING MRS. CHASE: First Adult-size Medical Mannequin - Circa 1910 - Unearthed at Hartford Hospital

Hartford Hospital recently discovered a historic treasure tucked away in a dusty box: Mrs. Chase, a 100-year-old adult-size medical mannequin. Mrs. Chase was the predecessor of the Sim-Men® we use today at CESI. The mannequin was developed when Miss A. Lauder Sutherland, superintendent of nurses and the principal of the Hartford Hospital Training School for Nurses asked a doll maker named Mrs. Chase to make an adult-size doll with the same realism and durability she put into her play dolls. The mannequin arrived at Hartford Hospital in 1911. It was discovered in late November 2011 when representatives of Laerdal Corporation of Norway, the company that pioneered resuscitation-training manikins in 1960, visited CESI. For education and historical purposes, we are working to develop a display featuring Mrs. Chase and today's state-of-the-art mannequin.

0 VAPs in February; 36% Reduction Over Last Year

We had no patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia at Hartford Hospital during the month of February. Thus far in FY2012 we have witnessed a 36% reduction in the VAP rate compared to FY2011, and this is on top of a 40% reduction during the prior year. VAP prevention is a 2012 Balanced Scorecard initiative and we are on track to meeting our target for the year due to multiple interventions, including VAP huddles, rounding checklists, the “wake up and breathe” protocol and new procedures for patient transport. No institutions in our peer group have demonstrated sustained elimination of VAPs.

Hartford Hospital Family Health Center Hosts an Open House and Health Fair in Enfield

Hartford Hospital's Family Health Center on Hazard Avenue in Enfield welcomed hundreds from the community to an open house and health fair on March 14. Enfield Mayor Scott Kaupin attended. There was a ribbon cutting as well as opportunities for the public to meet the physicians, take a tour, and get free health screenings. The center will offer many of the most advanced health care treatments and technologies provided outside a hospital setting. Health services offered at the Enfield center include family practice, internal medicine, urology, podiatry, rehabilitation, women’s health, orthopedics, neurology, cardiology, Diabetes Life Care, hepatology, oncology, gastroenterology and hematology, and many more. In addition, services will also be provided onsite by Jefferson Radiology, Clinical Lab Partners and VNA. For more information, visit

Hartford Hospital Develops Level IV Epilepsy Center

Hartford Hospital is developing a six-bed Level IV Epilepsy Center on Center 11. We are currently considered a Level II provider, and expect to achieve Level IV designation by September 2013. The unit is scheduled to open at the end of August with two beds on C11. The additional four beds will open as the epilepsy program develops. The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit will be fitted with the most state-of-the-art neurodiagnostic equipment that can provide 24-hour video monitoring. This will allow clinicians to capture long-term brain activity, which is vital in helping neurologists more accurately diagnose and treat patients affected by seizures. The Epilepsy Center has also purchased portable video EEG equipment that will be used in our ICUs to give clinicians the ability to better understand brain activity and provide the most advanced treatment for our most medically complex patients. In preparation for applying for Level IV designation, Hartford Hospital is relocating the Sleep Center on C11 to Wethersfield, which will increase patient access to a more central and easy-to-access location. We are renovating the C11 space and recruiting the necessary staff for the Epilepsy Center, including new director of Epilepsy and Functional Neurosurgery Dr. Brendan Killory, who completed a fellowship in Epilepsy Research at Yale University School of Medicine in 2010. Dr. Erica A. Schuyler, a neurologist who has been at HH since 2009, has been instrumental in developing the Epilepsy Center. She completed her residency in neurology at the University of Michigan Health System in 2007, followed by fellowship training in clinical neurophysiology (epilepsy) in 2008 and an additional year of advanced training in epilepsy/EEG in 2009. She is board-certified in neurology and clinical neurophysiology and is the director of the neurology residency program at UConn/Hartford Hospital. Achieving National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) Level IV distinction means Hartford Hospital can diagnose and treat patients with epilepsy, and offer the full continuum of treatment from medication management to the most complex surgery. Epilepsy affects approximately 60,000 people in Connecticut. Our new Level IV center will provide individuals in our communities with close-to-home access to high-quality epilepsy diagnosis and treatment. There are more than 100 NAEC designated Level III and Level IV Epilepsy Centers in the country. Yale-New Haven Hospital is currently the only Level IV epilepsy center in Connecticut.

Spine Center Recommended for Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification

A surveyor visited the Spine Center on March 12 and made a recommendation for approval of certification. The official report from the Joint Commission should be posted on their website shortly. There was one indirect finding regarding documentation. The surveyor was extremely complimentary to the team and shared positive feedback that she received from staff and patients.

Kidney Paired Donation Webinar, March 21

To meet the growing demand for Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) transplants, the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network and United Network for Organ Sharing created the Kidney Paired Donation Pilot Program. We are hosting a national webinar on Wednesday, March 21, from 2-3 p.m. to provide an overview of KPD. Two experienced KPD living donor coordinators will discuss the initial development of KPD programs at their centers and how they have successfully incorporated KPD into practice. Featured presenters include Hartford Hospital’s Coleen Smart, MSN(c), BSN, RN, our living kidney transplant coordinator. Also participating are Suzanne McGuire, RN, BSN, CCTC, living donor kidney transplant at UCLA; and Ruthanne L. Hanto, RN, MPH, program manager of the United Network for Organ Sharing. CEPTC will be awarded to participants of this webinar. For more info, contact Regina Radikas, 860-545-4738.

Credit Available Again in 2012 for Completing Risk Management Education

CHS Insurance LTD is continuing participation in the Annual Risk Management Educational Program (RMEP) available to all CHS voluntary attending physicians. In 2011, all CHS voluntary attending physicians were offered a series of live and web-based risk management educational activities, provided by Medical Risk Management. By successfully completing all three components, eligible participants qualified for a credit of 6 percent on their malpractice insurance premium. In 2011, 67 percent of eligible CHS voluntary attending physicians successfully qualified for the 6 percent credit. The RMEP for 2012 begins in April, and we will again be offering a credit of 6 percent for successful completion.Anyone who is a CHS Insurance policyholder effective January 1 of this policy year is eligible. Anyone who joined the CHS Insurance program after January 1 will be eligible next policy year. Anyone cancelling their CHS Insurance malpractice insurance policy during the year will not be eligible. Please feel free to call 860-920-5475 with any questions. Here is the schedule for the 2012 risk management rounds. You may now RSVP for all live events on the portal.

  • Surgery: April 20, 7-8 a.m., JB-118
  • Leadership: April 26, 4:30-5:30 p.m., JB-118
  • ED: May 2, 12-1:30 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Women's Health: May 3, 7:30-8:30 a.m., Special Dining Room
  • ED: May 17, 8:15-10 a.m., Dining Rooms B & C
  • Medicine: May 23, 4:30-6 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Leadership: June 8, 7:30-8:30 a.m., JB-118
  • Surgery: June 25, 5-6 p.m., Gilman Auditorium
  • Medicine: July 18, 4:30-6 p.m., JB-118
  • Psychiatry: TBA




Division of Cardiology Will Shine in Chicago Next Week At US's Premier Cardiology Meeting

The Division of Cardiology will be an important participant in the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in Chicago March 25-28, which will be attended by 30,000 physicians, scientists, trainees and health care personnel. Our Division of Cardiology will participate in two major areas. First, Drs. Paul Thompson, Donna Polkand Gary Heller are invited speakers, an honor bestowed upon them by the College. Second, the Division will present 16 abstracts of new scientific data in cardiology. Eight faculty cardiologists from non-invasive imaging, preventive cardiology, critical cardiology care, and electrophysiology worked with 18 cardiology fellows and UConn medicine residents to produce the research being recognized by the ACC. Only the top 33 percent of abstracts submitted are accepted. The number of abstracts and faculty presenting is a testament to the cutting edge cardiology research being performed at Hartford Hospital.

Hartford Hospital and Mayo Clinic Collaborate to Offer Blood Management Summit, April 19-20 in Arizona

Building on successful collaboration on three previous national conferences, Hartford Hospital and Mayo Clinic have developed a unique conference called "TransFuse 2012: Transformative-Fusion of Innovative Patient Blood Management," to be held April 19-20 in Phoenix, Arizona. This unique international  multi-disciplinary conference is focused on exploring the current state-of-the-art techniques and programs to reduce allogeneic blood utilization in hospitals. It will feature national blood management experts from China, New Zealand and Australia along with a unique iPad app launch and one-of-a-kind hands-on animal lab. This conference is designed for all physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists, perfusionists, nurses and leaders in quality and patient safety. The Conference Website is: Registration discounts are available to staff affiliated with any Hartford HealthCare facility. To inquire about a discount, please email Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, at Dr. Kumar is on the conference faculty. This conference is a CME accredited activity.

HH Leads In Enrolling Patients in CONTACT AFL Study

Hartford Hospital is a leading center (tied for first out of 17 centers) in enrolling patients in the Clinical Evaluation of the Contact Therapy Cool Path Cardiac Ablation System in Conjunction with EnSite Velocity Contact Technology for the Treatment of Typical Atrial Flutter (CONTACT AFL) study sponsored by St. Jude Medical. This trial is examining a novel technology to determine contact of the catheter with cardiac tissue during ablation for atrial flutter. This technology could enable superior outcomes for these and other types of cardiac ablations in the future. Dr. Steven Zweibel, the director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, is the principal investigator.

Dr. Adam Steinberg Presents Abstract at National Meeting; Co-Authored by Dr. Joel Sorosky

On March 8, urogynecologist Dr. Adam Steinberg presented an abstract at the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) annual meeting, entitled "An Expert Consensus Approach to Designing Competency Based Curricula for Diagnostic Cystoscopy."  His co-authors were Dr. Diane Magrane of Drexel University and Dr. Joel Sorosky, chief of the Department of Ob-Gyn and co-director of Women's Health Services. Dr. Steinberg recently completed the APGO Academic Leaders and Scholars Program.

Drs. Siegel and Salner Contribute to NCCCP Whitepaper Monograph

The National Cancer Institute’s Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) has published a whitepaper monograph that contains all of the articles published in the 2011 Oncology Issues series featuring the NCCCP pilot sites’ white papers. Hartford Hospital authors contributed to writing four of the 13 interesting and meaningful articles. This digital publication is available through NxtBook Media and published by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). You can access the monograph here: Physician contributors were Dr. Robert Siegel, clinical research medical director at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, who contributed to “Developing the RECIST Criteria Toolkit;” and Dr. Andrew Salner, director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, who contributed to “Survivorship and Palliative Care: A Comprehensive Approach."

Drs. Horowitz, Hirst Inspire Legacy Gift

Legacy gifts have long played an important role in the growth and success of Hartford Hospital, and thanks to Drs. Steven Horowitz and Jeffrey Hirst, that strong tradition continues. Francesca McIntyre, a former patient, recently informed us that she has included a bequest to the Henry Low Heart Center in her estate plan in appreciation for “everyone there who treated me so well” after suffering a heart attack. She shared that her mother also was treated at Hartford Hospital for a heart issue. Her gift is yet another reminder of the critical role that members of our medical staff play in nurturing patient and family relationships that may ultimately result in charitable gifts to advance our work. Through her thoughtful planning, Francesca has become a member of the hospital’s 1854 Society, which recognizes those who have included Hartford Hospital in their estate plan.


Research and Academics


Dr. Paul Thompson's Statin Research Goes Viral
Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of cardiology, has been widely quoted over the past month in a variety of media – including the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Hartford Courant - in regards to his research on statins. Three examples are below:

Do Statins Make it Tough To Exercise?
New York Times, March 14
For years, physicians and scientists have been aware that statins can cause muscle aches and fatigue. What many people don’t know is that these side effects are especially pronounced in people who exercise. “It seems possible that statins increase muscle damage” during and after exercise “and also interfere somewhat with the body’s ability to repair that damage,” says Dr. Paul Thompson. He advises athletes to stop taking the drugs several days before a competition or strenuous workout, to avoid exacerbating muscle damage.

Statin Side Effects: How Common Are Memory Loss, Diabetes, and Muscle Aches?
Boston Globe, March 9
When the FDA told the makers of statins to add new side effect warnings to their labels last week, many of the 40 million statin users may have been unaware of the extent of the risks associated with these drugs that have been touted by some cardiologists to be safer than aspirin. Manufacturer-sponsored clinical trials show that they occur in fewer than 1 percent of users, but statin researcher Dr. Paul Thompson said the real incidence is probably much higher.

Statins: Doctors Say Added Warnings On Statins Shouldn’t Cloud The Drugs’ Clear Benefits
Hartford Courant, March 2
Despite news that the FDA is requiring that statins come with added warnings that they could be linked to dementia and other problems, Connecticut cardiologists say the drugs' benefits outweigh the risks in most cases. Dr. Paul D. Thompson said most patients who have been prescribed statins are better off continuing to take the medicine. Thompson was one of the first doctors to look into the adverse effects of statins and is currently conducting more research on them. The risks are real, he said, but they're rare.

Upcoming Research Funding Opportunity

The Medical Staff Executive Committee is once again committing a total of $75,000 to the Medical Staff Patient Safety and Quality Research Grant Competition, a program designed to encourage investigators to develop research projects aimed at improving patient safety and enhancing the quality of health care service delivery at Hartford Hospital. The Request for Proposals will be distributed in a special edition of Research News and will be posted to the Hartford Hospital Research Program website. All investigators with new ideas for patient safety research projects (funded at $15,000 per project) are encouraged to apply. Please contact Dr. Ilene Staff for further information at

New Summer Internship with Aerospace Engineering Accepts 12 Students

Research Administration has instituted a research summer internship program with the Academy of Aerospace Engineering. They have accepted 12 students for the inaugural program this year. Senior scientist Jyoti Chhabra has developed the program. (One of the selected students, Ian Shusdock, is the grandson of the late Dr. Howard Wetstone, who helped to set up the research labs and outpatient clinics at Hartford Hospital in which these projects are likely to take place.)


Operational Update


Finances: February Strong in Inpatient and Outpatient Numbers

February's inpatient discharges exceeded budget by 1.1% and were greater than the prior year by 8.1%. Outpatient revenues in the month were strong, exceeding budget by approximately 7%. The areas of outpatient revenue that contributed to the favorable variance were Emergency Department, Ambulatory Surgery and Radiology. Year to date through February, inpatient discharges are greater than the first five months of fiscal year 2011 by 1.5%. Outpatient revenues are approximately 4.1% greater than budgeted.

Recreating the ED: Green and Blue Pods Transformed

Renovations are continuing in sections of the ED. The newly expanded Orange Pod opened on Jan. 31 with 26 state-of-the-art treatment rooms, built in the past nine months at a cost of $16 million. Work has now moved to upgrading the Green, Blue and Red Pods, to raise them to the appearance level of the new pod. Renovations include new floors, wall coverings, lights and ceilings in the corridors. Updates have been completed in the Green Pod, and the Blue Pod is in progress. Work will soon start in the Red Pod. The ED was built to accommodate around 65,000 patient visits annually, but last year we saw 96,000. Our new space can accommodate up to 100,000 patients per year. The overhaul of the ED is part of a massive modernization project called HH2020, a multiphased project that commenced in 2009.

Hudson Street Parking Garage Taking Shape

Walls are going up for the new Hudson Street Parking Garage, a nine‐floor, 1,250‐space, 440,000 square foot structure being built at a cost of $40 million. The new garage, designated for staff parking, will increase the available parking spaces on campus by about 20%. You can watch the progress of the construction project online, thanks to a webcam mounted on the roof of the ERC building on Jan. 4. Photos are updated every 10 minutes. The link is:

Oncologists Gather From Throughout the System

More than 80 oncologists from hospitals throughout Hartford HealthCare gathered at the Bushnell on March 15 to network and socialize. It is the second such gathering for the group.

Mandatory Presentation for IOL/HH Employed Psychiatrists and APRNs

There will be a special risk management presentation on March 22, which is limited to and mandatory for IOL/HH employed psychiatrists and APRNs. The title isMedical Risk Management Lecture for the Psychiatry Department: Electronic Health Record and Inter-provider Communication.” It will be presented by Attorney Jake Kocienda, a lawyer with DanaherLagnese, PC, and Dr. Alfred Herzog, medical director of Professional Programs in psychiatry. The lecture will be in the Hartford Room, Commons Building, of the IOL from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Stroke Symposium May 18: "Fantastic Voyages"

The Stroke Center is presenting a symposium on Friday, May 18 called "Fantastic Voyages." It will explore current endovascular management of stroke, aneurysms and brain AVMs. Keynote speaker is Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, chief of Interventional Radiology at Beth Israel Medical Center & St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York. The symposium will be held in the Education Resource Center (ERC). Fee is $150 for physicians; $50 for non-physicians; $25 for HH staff members who have an employee number. There is no charge for trainees (medical students/residents/ fellows/tech students, and nursing students). For more info, and to register online, go to

Next Schwartz Rounds To Be March 28: Patient Driven Care

Schwartz Rounds, a forum where staff get together to discuss a common theme in health care, is back for 2012 with a triple play: it will be held three consecutive months to make up for the recently cancelled sessions. The next scheduled Schwartz Rounds will be held on Wednesdays, March 28, April 25 and May 23. The topic of the session on March 28 is: “You Want What? Integrating the Voice of the Caregiver into Patient Driven Care.” It will be held 11:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m. in Gilman Auditorium. All HH staff, volunteers and physicians are welcome.


HH In the News


CT Legislators Introduce Bill To Help Increase Organ and Tissue Donation Rate
News 8,, March 7

Eighteen people in the US will die each day, waiting to receive an organ, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Some state lawmakers want to help change that number and are backing a bill that would increase organ and tissue donations in Connecticut. Colby Salerno is a 23-year-old who is waiting for a life saving heart transplant at Hartford Hospital. Colby is among the more than 1,200 people in Connecticut on the list for an organ transplant.

City to Nonprofits: Pay Up
Hartford Business Journal, March 5

Facing a $56.2 million budget deficit next fiscal year, Hartford officials are considering a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes program aimed at larger nonprofits to generate revenue from tax-exempt organizations that own a significant amount of property. Such programs, known as PILOTs, are gaining increasing popularity across the country as cash-strapped cities look to generate more revenue without raising taxes on businesses and residents. In Hartford, nearly 51 percent of the property is tax-exempt, valued at $3.6 billion. The largest nonprofit organizations — and the most likely targets of a PILOT program — are hospitals and colleges including Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Trinity College. Yvette Meléndez, VP of government and community alliances for Hartford Hospital, said the hospital is already a major contributor to the city, providing $84 million in community benefits in 2010 including things like charity care, community health and services, training, and sponsorships. 

Air Travel May Help Explain Clots in Marathoners
Chicago Tribune, March 1

Marathon runners who travel by air to the race may end up with higher blood levels of molecules that have been linked to clots, a new study shows. That doesn't mean flying is actually likely to trigger a blood clot in endurance athletes, or that air travel is a no-go. But it does suggest a possible explanation for the rare but mysterious reports of clots in otherwise healthy marathoners who flew to a race. "It seems that the two activities could have a compounding effect when they are carried out back-to-back," said Beth Parker at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, who led the research.

Back And Forth On Legalizing Marijuana
News8,, March 8

As the bill moves through the state legislature, just about everyone has an opinion on legalizing marijuana. "With medical marijuana, the dose is going to be potentially different for every person.  So it's going to be hard to know which patient needs each doze, how to regulate that," said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, Hartford Hospital toxicologist. She believes another aspect of the bill is how pharmacies will sell it, and advertise it. "A for-profit pharmacy can advertise, they can allow discounts and coupons to be applied, so you could potentially have a pharmacy be allowed to sell marijuana at a discounted rate with a coupon in the Sunday morning paper. Bizarre, and very troubling if the details don't get ironed out," said Johnson-Arbor.

Dr. Adam Borgida Discusses Maternit21 on WFSB's Medical Rounds

Dr. Adam Borgida, OB-GYN, appeared on Medical Rounds on WFSB Channel 3 March 7 discussing Maternit21, a new blood test used to check for fetal abnormalities. Watch the segment here:


In the HHC System


Larcen Named CEO of Windham

Stephen W. Larcen, Ph.D., has been named CEO of Windham Hospital in Willimantic. For the past six months, Larcen had been serving in that role on an interim basis. He will continue to serve as president and chief executive officer of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield.

VNA, Jefferson House Form Care Transition Pact
Hartford Business Journal, March 14

Hartford's VNA HealthCare and the Jefferson House are teaming up to implement a new care transition program to help patients and families navigate out of a skilled nursing facility to home. This collaboration is being funded by support from Jefferson House, which is a department of Hartford Hospital. Alan Laites, executive director of Jefferson House, states “The successful implementation of this project will not only improve the quality of care provided to the patients discharged, but will also fundamentally change how we think of discharge planning. We’re touching a population who doesn’t normally get post-discharge services."

Federal Labor Board Files Complaint Against Backus Hospital
Norwich Bulletin, March 2

A federal complaint issued Tuesday alleges that The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich engaged in unfair labor practices with the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut six times between August and December 2011. The five-page document by the National Labor Relations Board is based on a series of complaints made by the Backus Nurses Federation, a local arm of AFT Connecticut that formed last May by a vote of 210-175. Since then, the unit local and hospital management have had a series of disputes, ranging from hosting bargaining sessions off campus to withholding merit-based wage increases for union members.


Health Care News In the Region


New Haven Startup Precipio Diagnostics Brings Cutting Edge Cancer Research
Connecticut Business News Journal, March 14

A start-up company in New Haven has established a groundbreaking collaboration with the Yale School of Medicine to bring the latest diagnostic advances in cancer research from the Yale laboratories to the hands of oncologists to treat cancer patients. Precipio Diagnostics is in the vanguard of the personalized medicine revolution, bringing scientific breakthroughs to the broader market where the diagnostic developments can reach more oncology practices, and through them, help provide the best care to more cancer patients.

Aetna Funds $750K for Coordinated-care Studies
Hartford Business Journal, March 8

Community Health Center Inc. in Middletown is one of three $250,000 grant recipients from health insurer Aetna Inc. to study ways to coordinate treatment to improve patient health and curb hospital readmissions. CHC will develop and validate a measurement toolkit to evaluate care coordination specifically for primary care practices providing outpatient care for underserved populations. Aetna awarded two other $250,000 grants, to Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City to analyze communication between home health nurses and physicians caring for recently hospitalized Medicare patients with congestive heart failure; and to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care in Washington D.C. to examine the current state of health care coordination for adolescents, who often receive primary care from multiple providers, including school-based health centers.

Plan For Database Showing Costs of Medical Procedures Raises Concerns From Docs, Hospitals
CT Now, March 8

Connecticut may soon establish a database of medical claims paid by health insurers for every x-ray, prescription drug and any other medical service provided by doctors and clinicians in the state. The database "will allow us to know how care is delivered, where it is delivered, and how much it costs," said Jeannette B. DeJesús, special advisor to the governor on health reform. "Publicly available data will give consumers and purchasers the tools they need to compare prices and quality as they make healthcare decisions." So far, lobbyists for hospitals, doctors and health insurers agree with the system in principle, citing some concerns, but not loudly protesting the effort. "Developing this program is unquestionably a huge step forward in Connecticut's ability to address cost effectiveness in the healthcare delivery system," said James D. Iacobellis, senior vice president of the Connecticut Hospital Association.

Middlesex Hospital, UnitedHealthCare at Contract Impasse
Middletown Patch, March 5

One of the state’s largest health insurers has notified its members that its contract with Middlesex Hospital will terminate April 1 unless a new agreement is reached. But the news comes as a surprise to the hospital head, who says negotiations are ongoing and he’s hopeful a compromise will be reached on financial terms.

Disciplined Docs Reap Drug Company Benefits
West Hartford News, March 6

In 2010, as state health officials were investigating allegations that Dr. Gerson Sternstein of Berlin was overmedicating patients, three pharmaceutical companies were showering thousands of dollars on the psychiatrist for meals and speaking engagements, even after his license was suspended in August 2010. Dr. Murray Wellner of West Hartford was the beneficiary of speaking fees and meals from four drug companies last year, even as federal prosecutors were investigating allegations that he wrote out 11 illegal prescriptions for controlled substances -- charges he settled in April by paying a $42,500 fine. Sternstein and Wellner are among the most striking examples of doctors in Connecticut who have reaped benefits from pharmaceutical companies while also being disciplined for violating medical conduct rules. That is not uncommon, experts say.

Insurers Bet On Medical Cost Transparency Tools
Hartford Business Journal, March 12

Knowing the costs of medical procedures is important to businesses, but getting access to that information hasn’t always been possible. Employees in self-insured health plans have been operating in the dark when it comes to knowing what different hospitals and doctors charge for similar procedures because that information traditionally hasn’t been available. That’s about to change. There is a new insurance program with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut, called “SmartShopper, ‘’ that will not only allow employees to compare prices between hospitals and doctors, but also receive cash rebates for choosing lower-cost providers.

Aetna and the CSMS-IPA Announce Collaborative Care Model
Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, March 13

Aetna and the Connecticut State Medical Society Independent Practice Association (CSMS-IPA) announced today a collaborative care model designed to improve the quality of care for Aetna Medicare Advantage members and lower health care costs. More than 500 physicians affiliated with the CSMS-IPA throughout Hartford, New Haven, Fairfield, and Litchfield counties will be part of this Aetna Medicare Provider Collaboration program. Aetna nurse case managers will work closely with the physicians on quality and care management for eligible Aetna Medicare Advantage plan members. Aetna and the CSMS-IPA also will work together to improve adherence to best practices and treatment plans and reward quality and efficiency measures in a number of different clinical areas.


Coming Events


March 29 (Thursday):
Psychiatric Grand Rounds: Current Status of Suicide Assessment

Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; president and founder of Screening for Mental Health Inc. and clinical director of Professional Psychiatric Associates. IOL Commons Building, Hartford Room. 12-1:15 p.m.

April 4 (Wednesday):
9th Annual Heart Rhythm Symposium: Bridging Electrophysiology and Heart Failure II"

A series of lectures, case presentations and work shops will focus on an understanding of rhythm abnormalities in heart failure patients and how advanced treatments with drugs, resynchronization therapy (CRT), ventricular assist devices and cardiac transplant can be applied. Open to cardiologists, practitioners of internal medicine and family practice, cardiology fellows, midlevel practitioners and nurses. April 4, 7 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., at the Farmington Marriott. For more information or to register online, go to

April 6 (Friday):
Department of Surgery Grand Rounds:
Therapeutic Hypothermia: Management of Post-Cardiac Arrest Patients

Dr. Justin Lundbye, director of Inpatient Cardiology Service, medical director of Cardiac ICU, and director of the Cardiology Hospitalist Program. 6:45-7:45 a.m., Gilman Auditorium.

May 16 (Wednesday):
Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center's 23rd Annual Mary Mulready Sullivan Oncology Memorial Symposium:
Innovations in Renal Cancer – Diagnosis, Treatment and Patient Care

Dr. David McDermott, director of the biological therapy program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “Advances in the Treatment of Kidney Cancer;” Dr. Anoop Meraney, director of urologic oncology at Hartford Hospital, “Surgical Treatment for Locally Advanced/Metastatic Kidney Cancer;” Dr. Steven Shichman, HH urology, “Surgical Treatment for Localized Kidney Cancer;” and Marcia Caruso-Bergman, APRN, HH Oncology Associates, “Caring for the person with renal cell cancer: a holistic approach to physical and psychosocial concerns.” 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Heublein Hall.

More events


Hot Topics in Healthcare


Why Doctors Die Differently – A Doctor on How Physicians Face the End of Life
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 25

It's not something that we like to talk about, but doctors die, too. What's unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care that they could want. But they tend to go serenely and gently.

Needed: Health Professionals To Treat the Aging
The New York Times, March 7

Prestigious organizations like the Institute of Medicine have warned of a looming scarcity of medical professionals equipped to deliver coordinated treatment of elderly health problems.

Hospital Groups Will Get Bigger, Moody's Predicts
The New York Times, March 8

Responding to changes in health care, big hospital groups are expected to get even bigger. And some hospitals will join forces with once-unlikely partners, health insurers and for-profit companies. The difficult business environment and the changes expected in how hospitals will be paid for delivering care are driving many smaller, stand-alone hospital groups into the arms of larger and better-financed organizations, said Moody’s Investors Service. The report by Moody’s predicts even more consolidation.

Patients and Doctors – The Evolution of a Relationship
NEJM, Feb. 16

The relationship between patients and doctors is at the core of medical ethics, serving as an anchor for many of the most important debates in the field. Over the past several decades, this relationship has evolved along three interrelated axes — as it is defined in clinical care, research, and society.

Shared Decision Making – The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care
NEJM, March 1

Caring and compassion were once often the only “treatment” available to clinicians. Over time, advances in medical science have provided new options that, although often improving outcomes, have inadvertently distanced physicians from their patients. The result is a health care environment in which patients and their families are often excluded from important discussions and left feeling in the dark about how their problems are being managed and how to navigate the overwhelming array of diagnostic and treatment options available to them.


Voices Of Our Patients


Patient Thanks Drs. LaSala, Underhill, Salner, Kesler, and Twigg

My life has been saved from heart disease as well as prostate and kidney cancer by the skilled physicians and surgeons at Hartford Hospital. I have had the best of care

While at the hospital recently following surgery for kidney cancer, Carol Garlick was kind enough to visit me. You are all wonderful people

The doctors who have cared for me include: Anthony LaSala, David Underhill, Andrew Salner, and Stuart Kesler.

Our current internist, Dr. Michele Twigg, has taken over the care of my wife Judi and me. For almost 20 years we had Dr. Don Rotenberg who passed away in late 2010.

We appreciate deeply all the care we are given

John Cosgrove


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.