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 4, 2012 Edition

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HH Facts
1959 - The first successful traumatic thoracic aortic repair in the U.S. was performed at Hartford Hospital by Dr. Max Zehnder.

Top News


Transplant Triumph: Six Organ Recipients at Once

On Feb. 27, six patients received the gift of life - all from a single donor at Hartford Hospital. The heart, liver and single-kidney transplantations were performed simultaneously at Hartford Hospital and three additional transplantations (lungs, pancreas and kidney), were performed elsewhere. All patients are doing well. This complex procedure – with three operating rooms running at the same time – required extraordinary teamwork on the part of surgeons, nursing, anesthesiologists and support staff.

Hospital TV Studio Goes Live on Feb. 29; Dr. Paul Thompson on First Broadcast

The first broadcast from the Hartford Hospital TV studio on the fifth floor of the Jefferson Building took place on Feb. 29. The medical staff helped fund the construction of the studio, which will allow us to share our expertise even more. There was an open house at the studio for medical leadership preceeding the live appearance of Dr. Paul Thompson, who spoke about athletes and heart problems and then hosted a live phone and web chat.

Happy Birthday, H3W

On Jan. 30, Hartford Hospital celebrated the third anniversary of H3W (How Hartford HealthCare Works). Over the past three years, we have witnessed a transformation of our culture marked by increased staff engagement. More than 200 work groups meet regularly and have implemented a dashboard-monitoring core process. In excess of 6,000 ideas have been generated and quality outcomes (e.g., prevention of falls and reductions in pressure ulcers and bloodstream infections) have shown significant improvement.

Japanese Executives Tour Hartford Hospital

Hartford Hospital hosted foreign senior executives from Hogy Medical Company on Feb. 29. Hogy is one of the largest medical supply firms in Japan. Company executives, accompanied by their counterparts from Ahlstrom, their Connecticut-based affiliate, toured the hospital and spent time interviewing our Operating Room and Infection Control staff regarding our surgical practices and procedures. Hogy executives are interested in learning how they might increase their presence in American markets.

Global Health Care Management Training at Hartford Hospital

Hartford Hospital has participated in a scholar exchange program with Qilu Hospital, Shandong University in China for more than 20 years, training many physicians in a variety of clinical disciplines. This past year, we were honored to host our first hospital administrator from Qilu, Xuehong Lian. Xuehong has been studying many aspects of our healthcare management system, and will be presenting his findings and contrasting our system with that of his homeland on March 13 at 10 a.m. in JB 118. All are invited to attend.

Patient Satisfaction on the Rise

We achieved a major milestone in patient satisfaction in the first quarter of FY 2012 with an overall score of 69 percent, which puts us in the 53rd percentile nationally. This is 15 percent higher than in 2008. Of particular note was the performance of our oncology patient care unit CB2 and our medical unit CB5 with 99th and 81st percentile rankings respectively.

Enfield Expansion

Hartford Hospital is launching its second Family Health Center and broadening its presence in Enfield. To mark this exciting growth, there will an open house at 100 Hazard Ave. on March 14 from 3 to 7 pm. All are invited to attend. Along with Jefferson Radiology, HMG, ERN, CLP, CMG, CT GI and Hartford Specialists, a number of other medical specialties will be available to patients, including cardiology, neurology, Diabetes Life Care and a liver intake facility, as well as plastic, vascular and podiatric surgery. These services – with more to come – will enhance our profile in Enfield, making Hartford Hospital the medical facility of choice for that community. Further promotion will include a 12-week program of community education. For more information, please contact Eveline Schaffer-Shekhman at

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




Dr. Mandavilli Presents at International Conference in India

Dr. Srini Mandavilli participated in teaching at the XVIIth Indo-US International CME in Surgical Pathology and Cytology Feb 3-5 at the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences in Dehra Dun, India. He presented two talks: one on Myxoid soft tissue tumors and the other on effusion cytology. He also was invited to speak on soft tissue tumors at the Indo-American Cancer Institute and Research Center in Hyderabad, India on Feb 9.

Dr. Zweibel was Lead Author of a Manuscript on Mobile Cardiac Telementry

Dr. Steven Zweibel was lead author of a manuscript published in US Cardiology Journal’s February issue. The article is titled “The Use of Mobile Cardiac Telemetry to Improve Diagnostic Accuracy and Enable More Efficient Patient Care." The article appears in the Arrhythmia Section of the US Cardiology Journal and is available online ( Dr. Zweibel wrote that even though mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT) is a relatively new technology (first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2002), its use has been proven to provide superior diagnostic capability for patients with palpitations, syncope and pre-syncope because it allows for detection of both symptomatic and asymptomatic arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (AFib).

Dr. Cohen and Team's Expertise Encourage Yearly Support

With many Annual Campaign gifts come thoughtful words from donors that testify to the critical role that members of the medical staff play in nurturing patient and family relationships – and ultimately charitable gifts. Chandler Chamberlin of West Hartford is a good example. What he thought was food poisoning in 2005 turned out to be a ruptured appendix, resulting in his being rushed to Hartford Hospital. Here, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and a team of physicians operated, but the prognosis was not good. Chandler’s wife and family were told that the next 24-36 hours were critical. “Dr. Cohen explained that while they had literally flushed out my body, there were still toxins in my system threatening to shut down vital organs,” Chamberlin recalled. “With the support of friends and family and with the expertise of Dr. Cohen, his team and Hartford Hospital, I survived a very close call with death.” After 11 days in the hospital and two months of recuperation at home, Chandler was able to return to work and, to this day, has had no adverse effects from the surgery. “To a person, every doctor, every nurse, every technician and even a singing custodian contributed to my miraculous recovery,” he added. “Believe me, were I a wealthy man, my yearly donation to Hartford Hospital would be significantly higher.”

Publication Highlights Partnership Between HHC Research Institute and CESI

The magazine Urology has accepted an article for publication by Kyle T. Finnegan; Dr. Anoop M. Meraney; Ilene Staff, PhD; and Dr. Steven J. Shichman. The article is titled "da Vinci Skills Simulator Construct Validation Study: Correlation of Prior Robotic Experience with Overall Score and Time Score Simulator Performance." This is an important step forward in highlighting the partnership between the Hartford HealthCare Research Institute and the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation in achieving academic excellence.

HH and Other HHC Institutions Receive Award For Reducing Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients

Hartford Hospital, Windham Hospital, MidState Medical Center, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, VNA HealthCare and Central Connecticut Senior Health Services (including Jerome Home, Southington Care and Arbor Rose) received 2011 Health Care Hero awards from the Hartford Business Journal for their work to reduce readmissions for heart-failure patients. The HHC organizations are members of Communities of Care, groups that were established to work together to reduce heart-failure readmissions. The Communities were implemented by Qualidigm, a health care consulting and research organization, to help meet a Connecticut Hospital Association goal to reduce heart-failure readmissions by 20 percent.

Employee of the Year Named

Slavica Sisic, a PCA at the OPD Brownstone, has been named the 2012 Hartford Hospital Employee of the Year. She was named to the honor at a ceremony in the hospital cafeteria on Feb. 29. Sisic, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, worked as a registered nurse and nursing manager overseeing an outpatient clinic. In 1993, forced by the civil war, her family fled to Berlin, Germany where she volunteered at a clinic while obtaining a German nursing license. In 1998, unable to return to their native country, her family moved to the United States where she found employment at Hartford Hospital. Sisic works with a number of Bosnian-speaking patients and serves as a translator and advocate. The other 13 finalists were:
Giffti Asres, CNA, nursing
Jamie Badillo, account analyst, non-govern­mental net revenue
Patricia Beebe, AA, cardiovascular
Gil Fortunato, business systems ana­lyst, research admin.
Stephen Hanks, security officer
Greg Marsdale, security analyst, IT
Dody Masterson, RN, C8
Farris Milling, AA, medicine
Matthew Munafo, recruiter, human resources
Liberty Ortiz, AA, Women’s Ambulatory Health
Kelly Pabilonia, social worker
James Pelletier, material manage­ment
Robert Ross,
CT scan technolo­gist, radiology


Operational Update


Pepper Sobieski Named Director of Quality for Hartford HealthCare

Pepper Sobieski, RN, BSN, CPHQ, has been named director of quality at Hartford HealthCare. She will be responsible for planning, developing and executing strategies for quality and patient safety, clinical process improvement, clinical performance measurement and knowledge management initiatives throughout Hartford HealthCare. Sobieski will report to Dr. Rocco Orlando, chief medical officer for Hartford HealthCare, and will partner with the system quality directors, medical and nursing leadership groups and all relevant stakeholders across HHC. Sobieski is a 15-year veteran of Hartford Hospital. For the last six years, she has been dedicated to quality management and, most recently, was director of quality for Hartford Hospital. Sobieski is a certified professional in health care quality (CPHQ) and a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality as well as the Connecticut Association for Healthcare Quality.

Financial Update

Preliminary information for the month of February indicates that Hartford Hospital discharges will be slightly above budget and approximately 7 percent greater than February of 2011. Average length of stay for the month is projected to be 5.85, which is a slight improvement over the month of January (5.95). However, it is 5 percent above our budgeted length of stay of 5.55.

New System Space

Hartford HealthCare executives and support staff will move on March 16 to new system support offices at One State Street in Hartford. The new quarters provide needed additional space to accommodate the administrative and organizational needs of our growing network. Individuals who will work at the new location will have new email addresses and office phone numbers, but the old addresses and numbers will be forwarded during the initial transition period. The new contact information will be made available once the move is complete.

New Managed Care Plan Provider

Hartford Hospital, including the Hartford Medical Office Building Corporation, Hartford Medical Group, Clinical Lab Partners, Hartford Clinical Associates and VNA HealthCare, have been approved by the Connecticut Workers Compensation Chairman to transition from the CorVel Managed Care Plan (MCP) to the Coventry MCP for work-related injuries and/or illnesses. For more information, go to:



Obituary: Dr. Arthur Wolf, Former Chief of Internal Medicine; Distinguished Service Award Winner

Dr. Arthur Wolf, who was chief of the Division of Internal Medicine at Hartford Hospital for 28 years, died peacefully at home on February 11 at the age of 87. Arthur was a graduate of Yale University and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, with additional training in Ohio, California and at Hartford Hospital. During college and medical school, he volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee at work camps in the United States and abroad. Dr. Wolf opened his medical practice in Hartford as an internist in 1959 and was affiliated with Hartford Hospital from that time until his retirement in 2002. He served as supervising medical consultant for the Hartford Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center (21 years), medical consultant of Greater Hartford Home Care Program (17 years) and consulting medical director of Jefferson House (14 years). At Hartford Hospital, he served on multiple committees in a variety of capacities, including pastoral services (36 years). In 1987, he received Hartford Hospital's Distinguished Service Award. He was a driving force behind the establishment of ConnectiCare, an early HMO created to reform and improve the delivery of health care. He was a member of their board of directors from 1981-99, serving as president for seven years. He also helped in the creation of the Connecticut Health Foundation and served on its board.



HH In the News


Norwich Kidney Recipient Loving Life
Norwich Bulletin, Feb. 18

It’s been nine years since Michael Luongo’s brother-in-law gave him a kidney. Then, on Feb. 19, 2003, Dr. Matthew Brown at Hartford Hospital transplanted a kidney from his brother-in-law, Shaun Patenaude, of Durham, in him. Brown is a transplantation surgeon with Hartford Transplant and Surgical Specialists. According to, the kidney transplant program at Hartford Hospital was established in 1971. The adult patient one-year survival rate for kidney transplants at the hospital is 100 percent. “Last time I went to Hartford Transplant, the doctor said, ‘Oh, nine years, that’s a lifer now,’” Luongo said with a laugh.

Breast Health: Health Centers and Resources
Connecticut Health i-team, Feb. 13

Connecticut has a wide array of breast health resources and accredited breast centers. These organizations and institutions work to remove care barriers and collaborate on solutions and funding during the cancer diagnosis and treatment process.  One resource is the National Cancer Institute-designated (NCI) Community Cancer Center at the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center of Hartford Hospital. Director Dr. Andrew Salner said, “In our Community Cancer Center role, we are able reach out to communities with less successful cancer outcomes … Part of our mission is to provide a single standard of care to anyone who walks through our door.  We provide the full continuum of care that is needed. We won’t let a patient down… That means that we sometimes reach out to generous donors when other insurances and programs don’t cover the care our patients need.”  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Substituting Antiepileptic Drugs May Lead To Increase in Risk of Epilepsy
News Medical, Feb. 21

The substitution of brand-name antiepileptic drugs with cheaper generic equivalents has been an ongoing point of contention among doctors, federal officials and people with epilepsy. A new comprehensive review by pharmacists and doctors at the University of Connecticut and Hartford Hospital shows that it is not the anticonvulsant drugs themselves, but the switching aspect that may be causing the problem. "If you have epilepsy and want to start on an antiepileptic drug, the evidence is compelling that it doesn't matter if you use a brand- name or a generic product. But if you're already using one version of drug (generic or brand-name), there may be a concern if you switch to something else," says Dr. C. Michael White, director of the federally-designated UConn/Hartford Hospital Evidence-Based Practice Center and a pharmacy professor at the University of Connecticut.

Community Partnerships Here To Stay, Backus Says
Norwich Bulletin, Feb. 20

As Backus Corp. and Hartford HealthCare work toward an affiliation agreement, The William W. Backus Hospital officials and their local partners say the alignment won’t disrupt long-standing relationships that have been forged between the organizations. Earlier this month, Backus Corp. and Hartford HealthCare signed a letter of intent that, if successful, would provide Backus patients with direct access to complex hospital care, laboratory services, specialized doctors and other treatment options in a more coordinated and direct fashion. The deal could be finalized by late summer. Eastford’s Carl Asikainen, chairman of the board of directors for Generations Family Health Center, said Backus’ pending partnership with Hartford HealthCare positions local providers to be even more effective.

The Hidden Risks of Heart Attacks
Hartford Courant, Feb. 21

Hartford Courant, Feb. 21
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S., but many people take it for granted that they're not at risk. Sometimes they have a disorder outside their control. Even more common, says Dr. Heather Swales, a cardiologist at Hartford Hospital and the Hospital of Central Connecticut, people don't recognize their own high-risk factors. "About 90 percent of people have one risk factor or more," Swales said. "But the problem is that most people don't know they have any."

Hansen Medical's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results
Seeking Alpha, Feb. 22

Hansen Medical has paired with leading hospitals and physicians in the U.S. to conduct pre-clinical research with the Magellan Robotic System. Earlier this year, Hansen Medical announced that two hospitals, The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas and Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut each purchased a Vascular Research Robotic System to expand their flexible robotic technology capability. Both hospitals previously owned multiple anti-medical flexible robotic systems. Methodist purchased its system in Q4, and Hartford purchased its system in Q1. Both hospitals are creating an institutional focus on flexible robotics and are establishing their leadership in peripheral and cardiovascular robotics programs. We believe their recent purchases of vascular research systems for the purpose of conducting preclinical vascular research reflects their confidence in the value and benefits of Hansen Medical’s advanced flexible robotic technology; and we are very pleased to play a meaningful role in their pursuit of leadership in these areas.

Cinnamon Health Benefits: Can Cinnamon Cure Diabetes?
Mother Nature Network, Feb. 23

Recent research suggests that cinnamon health benefits are numerous, though somewhat controversial. A study from VIT University in India examined cinnamon’s effect on diabetic rats and demonstrated that cinnamon bark is effective in reducing post-meal high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) levels. A meta-analysis of clinical studies on cinnamon published in the Journal of Medicinal Food concluded that cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose levels in people with Type II diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, “There is not enough evidence from research to claim that including cinnamon in your daily diet will help regulate blood glucose in people with diabetes.” The ADA points to a study by University of Connecticut and Hartford Hospital researchers that found a lack of efficacy in cinnamon’s ability to reduce blood sugar and fat.


In the HHC System


Meriden Man Works Out While Waiting for New Heart
Record Journal, Feb. 21

When Jeffrey Montalvo was diagnosed with non-compaction cardiomyopathy seven months ago, he was shocked. Quickly placed on a list for a heart transplant, Montalvo is still awaiting a heart, but he remains optimistic. To prepare for a new heart, Montalvo, who is now 20, works out three days a week in MidState Medical Center's cardiac rehabilitation and wellness center program. He's one of the youngest people in the hospital's program. Montalvo also visits patients with similar conditions. He's visited a 23-year-old at Hartford Hospital who, like him, is also awaiting a heart transplant.

VNA Finding Consolidation Solution For Industry's Ills
Hartford Business Journal, Feb. 27

In 2012, VNA Healthcare, the Hartford-based non-profit which provides home health assistance across 60 towns throughout central and northwestern Connecticut, will achieve a milestone in stability: its 110th anniversary. But for many Visiting Nurse Associations in Connecticut and nationwide, ensuring stability in the current economic environment has meant one thing: consolidation. Over the past four years alone, VNA Healthcare has consolidated twice, acquiring a similar visiting nurse association in Wallingford and, as of this past January, one in New Britain. Ellen Rothberg, president of VNA Healthcare, notes that the reimbursement landscape for home health organizations like hers have made consolidation a necessity for many VNAs.


Health Care News In the Region


UConn Appoints New Health Center Leader
Hartford Courant, Feb. 24

Dr. Frank M. Torti was named vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Torti said he was drawn to UConn partly by the potential for Connecticut to become a bioscience leader. Torti currently works at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he is vice president for strategic programs, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology. He has also served as a chief scientist and acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Torti's appointment takes effect May 1. Torti replaces Dr. Cato Laurencin, who stepped down in July.

Bioscience Center To Bring Economic Growth
The UConn Daily Campus, Feb. 22

The renovations on the Bioscience Connecticut Research Center will bring many new opportunities to UConn and the surrounding area. The update promises to bring an economic growth, a higher innovation in technology and more jobs to Connecticut residents. Governor Malloy approved the project in hopes it will jumpstart Connecticut's economy and generate a long growth in entrepreneurship and commercialization. This plan will secure the UConn Health Center's future as a top-tier academic medical center. This renovation will increase research capacity and productivity, which will increase the number of basic and clinical/translational scientists. There is also an increase in enrollment by 30 percent for the UConn dental and medical school. This will help establish a loan forgiveness program that can attract more graduate students to study in Connecticut. The project is a collaboration with St. Francis Hospital. As a result, the Medical Center and some surrounding towns will benefit from some of these innovations. The John Dempsey hospital will receive a new tower for patients as well as the funding of several new community-based initiatives with other hospitals and health care providers. With these collaborations between the medical center and the St. Francis, it has established the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation (CIPCI), which will help promote health care in the greater Hartford area.

Bioscience Investments Help Recruit New UConn Health Center Chief
CT Mirror, Feb. 24

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's $864 million plan to expand and renovate the UConn Health Center netted university President Susan Herbst more than a few notes from other university leaders who were shocked that any state would invest so much in an academic medical center in this economic climate. This week, it helped UConn land a new leader. Dr. Frank M. Torti, who was named medical school dean and vice president for health affairs Friday, is an oncologist who ran a comprehensive cancer center and held top roles at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Asked what interested him in the UConn job, Torti, who has spent nearly all of his career at Stanford and Wake Forest universities, pointed to the governor.

Weak Finances Force Layoffs At Waterbury Hospital
Record Journal, Feb. 17

Waterbury Hospital is laying off 75 employees to save nearly $4.5 million. WVIT-TV and The Hartford Courant report that the job cuts will affect about 5 percent of the hospital's work force of 1,700. The cuts include 22 management jobs, educators, and clerical and support staff. Waterbury Hospital says its last fiscal year ended with a nearly $10 million loss and the hospital has suffered $34 million in losses over the past four years. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, the hospital lost more than $2 million and could lose $6 million by year's end.

Lab Taps First Researcher For Conn
News 8, wtnh, Feb. 23

A Maine genetics research lab announced Thursday it has hired the first researcher to join its new center for genomic medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. Jackson Laboratory officials said they have hired Yijun Ruan, who's an associate director of the Genome Institute of Singapore and a biochemistry professor at the National University of Singapore. This marks the first significant hiring for the $1.1 billion laboratory project, which is scheduled to open in 2014. Under a $291 million agreement with the state, $192 million in loans will be forgiven once Jackson creates and retains 300 jobs. Jackson is also receiving up to $99 million in grants for research from the state. Ruan, a U.S. citizen, is bringing up to six members of his research team to Connecticut. Ruan and other recruits will initially work in leased space while the 173,000-square-foot facility is designed and built. Jackson's CEO, Dr. Edison Liu, said "a buzz" has developed in the scientific world over the Connecticut project and he is meeting with experienced researchers who are interested in working at the new facility. He said the state of Connecticut itself has been a real selling point for attracting scientists, as well as the financial backing of the state and the collaboration with UConn.

Emergency Care Is Going Regional for New Milford, Danbury Hospitals
Litchfield County Times, Feb. 25

Emergency medical care is going regional at New Milford and Danbury hospitals, which are now affiliated under the umbrella of the Western CT Health Network. They are focusing on coordinating standards of care and organizing their resources for greater efficiency and consistency, under the roof and in the field, in the network’s service area in western Connecticut. They’re taking a full-system approach involving not only emergency medical care but emergency preparedness and emergency management as well.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Pushes for Expansion
Hartford Business Journal, Feb. 27

Yale-New Haven Hospital is bursting at the seams with increasing patient loads, creating the need for the addition of 70 new beds on its Elm City campus as well as a major acquisition of a cross-town rival. The hospital is asking state regulators for permission to add 70 beds to its New Haven campus over the next two years in order to alleviate capacity issues being spurred by a spike in patient volume, particularly for inpatient services. But the additional beds are only a first step, said Vin Petrini, the senior VP of public affairs. Yale’s proposed $160 million acquisition of cross-town rival the Hospital of St. Raphael also aims to provide Yale with more capacity to move patients. If that deal falls through for some reason, Yale-New Haven Hospital would have to readjust its plans and potentially move forward with the construction of a new $400 million patient tower on its campus to meet projected future patient demands. The additional 70 beds are slated be located on Yale-New Haven hospital’s campus, which is partially vacant. It would require a $1.4 million investment. “We are getting more patients from across the state and outside the state because we’ve become a destination hospital,” Petrini said. The hospital has broken patient volume records recently, including holding 1,020 patients in a single day. The hospital’s average daily census has increased by 35 patients a day. With about 1,000 beds right now, the hospital is reaching its capacity.

Yale, St. Raphael's Detail Plans For Merger
Hartford Courant, Feb. 28

The proposed merger of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael solves problems for each of the hospitals: Yale needs at least 140 new patient beds in the next five years, and St. Raphael's is facing a projected $8 million shortfall in 2013, according to the Certificate of Need application filed with the state this month.

Childhood Leukemia Drug In Short Supply
Hartford Courant, Feb. 16

Drug shortages have become increasingly common in recent years; the latest is particularly critical as methotrexate is considered the best treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of childhood leukemia. Dr. Nathan Hagstrom, director of hematology/oncology at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, has heard from several parents of the approximately 40 children in active treatment worried about the shortage. "Right now, we're reassuring them that we have the medication and we're giving it to patients, and that if we do run out, we have a backup plan that has been approved by national experts," he said. "If [the shortage] only lasts a month, we'll probably get by. But if it lasts longer than that, it could get a little dicey."

Deal us in on fate of hospital, town says
Westerly Sun, Feb. 28

The Westerly (RI) Town Council on Monday voted unanimously to appoint a 12-member committee that will seek to give the community a more direct say in the future of the financially troubled Westerly Hospital. Town Manager Steven Hartford said the committee will study whether or not the hospital can emerge from receivership protection under a new business plan that would allow it to function as “an independent, financially stable, acute-care community hospital.” In addition to the economic impact of losing the hospital’s current 600 to 700 jobs and hundreds of other workers in jobs associated with the hospital, Hartford said the potential loss of the hospital would severely detract from quality of life in the town and the surrounding area as residents would be forced to seek health care in more distant locations.


Coming Events


March 8 (Thursday):
Advancing Medicine: Pregnancy and Robotic GYN

Featuring Drs. Peter Doelger, Patricia Fagan, Mike Hemphill, Odin Kuiper and Charlie Ingardia. 7:30 p.m., WFSB-TV3.

March 13 (Tuesday):
Clinical Research Center (CRC) Seminar Series On Methods in Clinical Research
"Tennis Elbow: To Treat or Not to Treat"

Dr. Jennifer Moriatis Wolf, associate professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, New England Musculoskeletal Institute, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington. Noon-1 p.m., Low Learning Center – UCHC, Farmington. Light lunch and beverage provided. The presentation will be WEB CAST:  No CMEs given for Web Cast viewing.) Sponsored by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Office of Continuing and Community Education and the CRC.

March 14 (Wednesday):
Face Your Fears: How to Conduct Good Exposure Therapy Across Diagnoses

Dr. David Tolin, director, Anxiety Disorders Center and Center or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the IOL. 9-10:30 a.m., JB-118.

More events


Hot Topics in Healthcare


Burnout May Drive Surgeons To Drink
MedPage Today, Feb. 20

Surgeons may struggle with alcohol use disorders that are potentially related to burnout and depression, survey results suggested. Just over 15 percent of surgeons who participated in the survey met criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, version C (AUDIT-C), Michael Oreskovich, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues reported in the Archives of Surgery. Those who reported alcohol abuse were more likely to have made recent medical errors and were also more likely to be burned out or depressed. Because there are few data on alcohol use disorders among physicians, the researchers conducted an online survey of more than 25,000 members of the American College of Surgeons; a total of 7,197 responded – a low response rate that could affect the estimate. Prevalence of abuse or dependence was far higher among women than men (25.6 percent versus 13.9 percent P<0.001) in="" contrast="" to="" the="" general="" population,="" where="" men="" have="" nearly="" twice="" the="" rate="" of="" alcohol="" abuse="" as="" women,="" the="" researchers="">

Hospitals Demand Payment Upfront From ER Patients With Routine Problems
Kaiser Health News, Feb. 20

Led by the Nashville-based HCA (the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain), a growing number of hospitals have implemented the pay-first policy in an effort to divert patients with routine illnesses from the ER after they undergo a federally required screening. At least half of all hospitals nationwide now charge upfront ER fees, said Rick Gundling, vice president of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, which represents health-care finance executives. "It has been a successful part of helping to reduce crowding in emergency rooms and to encourage appropriate use of scarce resources," HCA spokesman Ed Fishbough said. But emergency-room doctors and patient advocates blast the policy as potentially harmful to patients, and they say those with mild illnesses such as sore throats and ear infections do little to clog ERs and do not require CT scans or other pricey technologies. Kim Bailey, research director for the consumer group Families USA, said the tactic lets hospitals turn away uninsured patients who often fail to pay their bills and are a drag on profits. While the uninsured pay upfront fees as high as $350, depending on the hospital, those with insurance pay their normal co-payment and deductible upfront.

ICD-10 Delay Forments a Culture of Distrust
HealthLeaders Media, Feb. 24

What hasn't been said about the "surprise" decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to extend the existing Oct. 10, 2013, ICD-10 implementation deadline? Well how about this: Despite the fact that the decision may allow a few organizations more time to meet the deadline, the bigger danger is that it will set back the pace of what many feel is a sorely needed: radical makeover of the health care system so that it becomes more transparent, safer, and fraud-resistant. The government sets a deadline, bleats on and on about the penalties for missing it, then when the heat gets turned up as the deadline approaches, moves it back. There are legitimate reasons for doing this in all cases. But when it happens every time, providers start to ignore the deadlines, anticipating the delay, as a very vocal bunch clearly has with ICD-10.


Voices Of Our Patients


Patient Compliments Dr. Scott Dolin and the HH Eye Surgery Center

“My Day at the Spa”

Eye surgery was planned for me and I must admit I was fearful and anxious. Even though I was told by my doctor that all would be well, I still had terrible thoughts. The morning of the surgery was now here as I entered the lobby of the Hartford Hospital Eye Surgery Center on Willard Avenue in Newington.

Right away, the surroundings, the lighting and the artwork left me comfortable as I went to the receptionist.  She was so caring and made me feel at ease. From the time I was called into the back to prep for the surgery to the time I left the building with my eye corrected, my experience was like being at a Day Spa.

After my records were reviewed, I was led to a comfortable bed, wrapped in warm blankets and the entire staff catered to my every need like I was the most important person in the world.  During the surgery, a nurse gently rubbed my hand and told me how the surgery was going.

I must have my other eye done in March and to be honest, I am looking forward to it. Dr. Scott Dolin and the staff of the HH Eye Center made me proud to be an employee of Hartford Hospital. They are what Service Excellence is all about.
Linda Lee Larensen

Hartford Hospital, Medical Records


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.