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

October 14, 2012 Edition


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HH Facts:

1984 - The first successful heart transplant in Connecticut was done at Hartford Hospital by Dr. Henry B.C. Low.

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 jnestler@connecticutgi.org.

 
In This Issue...
Top News

Dr. Cunegundo Vergara Named Associate Director for Ambulatory Services

Dr. Cunegundo Vergara has been named associate director for Ambulatory Services, Department of Medicine. Dr. Vergara will advance existing and create new programs to best meet the needs of our patients and keep Hartford Hospital at the forefront of ambulatory health care delivery. He will continue to play a vital role in the education of medical students and residents from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and students from other programs throughout the state of Connecticut. Dr. Vergara joined the Department of Medicine of Hartford Hospital in 1997. He is a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed his internal medicine residency training and chief resident year at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Prior to being recruited to Hartford Hospital, Dr. Vergara served as an academic hospitalist at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Vergara is an award winning teacher and highly regarded administrator and clinician. He will apply his skills in this new role to enhance the values and mission of Hartford Hospital in providing care to members of our community, to growing our well-regarded ambulatory programs, and exploring integration improved communication with other programs in the region.

 

Dr. Takata Honored At Retirement Ceremony

TakataHartford Hospital held a retirement ceremony Oct. 3 for Dr. Hiroyoshi Takata, who has given nearly 50 years of service to Hartford Hospital and helped establish our cardiology program as one of the best in the region. Dr. Takata is a pioneer in cardiac surgery and worked very closely with Dr. Henry Low, for whom our cardiac center is named. He also is a philanthropist, establishing a small clinic in his native Kobe, Japan in 1980. The clinic has become the 350-bed Takata Kamitani Hospital.

"Early on in my career I remember thinking to myself: ' How has Dr. Takata been able to build such a successful practice?'" said Dr. Robert Gallagher, who was in practice with Dr. Takata for 15 years. "He epitomized the rule of the 3 'A's:' He was able, available, and affable. Eminently capable, always available (unless of course he was on his way to Japan), and respected by all... The legacy he leaves behind will live on in the hearts and minds of those of us who were fortunate enough to have been able to work with him; and for those patients and their families whom he touched with his skillful hands and his caring words." For a complete copy of the remarks given by Dr. Gallagher at the event, go to: http://harthosp.org/Portals/1/NonSearchable/SSJ/TakataRetirementRecognition.pdf

Dr. Dariush Owlia, cardiologist, and benefactor Richard Loveland also spoke in praise of Dr. Takata, who received a "Rover" statue in recognition of his contributions to Hartford Hospital.

 

Flu Shot Clinics Start Next Week

You can get a free flu shot in the cafeteria on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 6 a.m. to 8 pm. or Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6 a.m. to 5 pm. Then Thursday, Oct. 25, there will be an open flu shot clinic in Occupational Health, with no appointment needed, and also on Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 230-4 p.m. in Heublein Hall. In additon, flu shots will be given at several grand rounds presentations, including the Dept. of OB/GYN on Nov. 1, the Department of Surgery on Nov. 2 and 9, and the Department of Medicine on Nov. 8. All HHC staffand physicians will be required to get a flu shot by Dec. 1. Only those with verified medical or religious exemptions will be excluded from this requirement. For more information, please email fluguru@harthosp.org.

 

New Employee Health & Wellness Center Opens

The first Hartford HealthCare Employee Health & Wellness Center opened in the Medical Office Building at 85 Seymour Street (in the former Bank of America location) on Oct. 8. The center is a primary care practice that will be operated by Hartford Medical Group and staffed by a full-time physician, a nurse and other clinical professionals. Walk-in service and same-day appointments are available for treatment of minor injuries or illnesses. Both Hartford HealthCare and Hartford Hospital have been expanding to increase access to care in numerous communities and now also are focusing on enhancing employee access to care – providing care when and where our staff need it. The center is a pilot; we expect other centers to be established at other HHC locations. Care is available to any Hartford HealthCare employee regardless of insurance coverage, and to adult family members who are covered under an HHC plan. We will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 23.

 

Exchange with Magen David Adom Begins Today; Reception Thursday

Today, Hartford Hospital will begin its formal partnership with the government of Israel in providing emergency medical training to paramedics from Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service. They will train with our LIFE STAR team and at our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation all this week. This will become an annual event with future collaborative exchanges.

Please join Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the mayor of Harford, the Israeli consulate, and other dignitaries at a reception for the Israeli paramedics Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5-7 p.m. at Heublein Hall.

 

Celebration Held to Mark CESI’s $15 Million State Grant for Expansion

Catherine Smith, commissioner of the State Department of Economic and Community Development, and Ronald Angelo Jr., deputy commissioner, joined us Oct. 9 to celebrate the State of Connecticut’s $15 million award to Hartford Hospital for the expansion of our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation. After a celebratory reception, we conducted a “vision session” with a number of CESI stakeholders to explore ideas for CESI’s future endeavors and development. The grant will support a 30,000 square foot expansion of CESI, a world class training facility that allows health care professional to simulate different types of acute crises and higher technology patient treatment. Since it opened in 2010, CESI has filled an urgent need in the medical community by training thousands of physicians to become the next generation of medical first responders. The center is an international hub for high-technology training and an educational and research center for students and faculty from UConn, as well as from schools and hospitals across the globe. Hartford Hospital expects the expansion to be completed by 2014.

 

Senator Blumenthal Holds Press Conference at HH to Call for Regulation of Compounding Pharmacies

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal held a news conference at Hartford Hospital Oct. 8 to call for stronger federal oversight of compounding pharmacies. A deadly fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a contaminated steroid injection that was made by New England Compounding Center triggered his call for reform. “The type of regulation is not what it should be,” said Mike Rubino, Hartford Hospital’s director of Pharmacy Services. “Any legislation that will assist making it safer for our patients is definitely needed."

 

Special Presentation at Hartford Hospital By Dean Frank Torti Thursday

Dean Frank Torti, MD, MPH, executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center and dean of the School of Medicine, will make a special presentation at Hartford Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 7:30-8:15 a.m. in Gilman Auditorium.

 

HH Named Accredited Chest Pain Center

The Society of Chest Pain Centers has designated Hartford Hospital as an accredited chest pain center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention). The Society’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

 

HH/HOCC Contract With United HealthCare Due to Expire on Oct. 28

Hartford Hospital and The Hospital of Central Connecticut continue to take steps to help ensure the continuation and transition of patient care should our contract with United HealthCare expire Oct. 28. Although some progress has been made recently, we remain far apart from United on several contract issues. Letters were sent to patients the week of October 1 to advise them of our status with United and to inform them that operation teams have been established at both hospitals to manage the transition of care should the contract with United expire, which would result in our hospitals' being out of United's network. Patients covered under the State of Connecticut health plan will remain in our network and will not be charged out of network rates regardless of the outcome with United. Our letter to patients included a hotline number (1-888-278-8130) that patients may call with questions and concerns. We also asked patients to complete and return a postcard so we can keep them updated on our hospitals' relationship with United HealthCare.

On the other hand, it appears likely that the Hartford PHO (HPHO) and United/Oxford will reach agreement before Oct. 28 on terms for continuation of the physician contract. This means that physicians who are currently participating in that contract will be able to remain in the United/Oxford network through that agreement as long as they have privledges at a hospital that participates with United/Oxford.

 

HealthCare Matters Monthly Radio Series: Seniors and Health Care Reform

Sunday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.

WTIC-AM 1080

HealthCare Matters will air on WTIC-AM 1080 Sunday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. Join hosts Elliot Joseph, president and CEO of HHC, and Rebecca Stewart, director of media relations, with special guest host Trish Walden, vice president of Central Connecticut Senior Health Services. E-mail your questions to: hcmatters@hhchealth.org, or call in to 860-522-WTIC during the show.

 

Dr. Darren Tishler Appeared on “The Doctors”

Viewers who tuned in to the network TV show "The Doctors" on Oct. 2 watched as Dr. Darren Tishler and patient Danielle Croteau discussed weight loss surgery. The video is available online: http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videolib/init/7381. The patient will also be featured on another upcoming show in November. They brought her out to LA and showered her with free nutrition services, a membership at Healthtrax, a new mountain bike and a $1,000 clothing shopping spree.

 

OBITUARY: Dr. Lawrence S. Carlton Jr.

Dr. Lawrence S. Carlton, Jr., internal medicine, died on Oct. 10. He was 88.

Dr. Carlton was a freshman at Harvard in 1943 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force. He served as a staff sergeant in World War II in India and China. The following passage is taken from interviews with Dr. Carlton done in 2010 by the Veterans History Project at the Central Connecticut State University Center for Public Policy and Social Research:
“Being in the war had much to do with my majoring in medicine. Originally, I was majoring in Chemistry, but after the war I was more interested in people. After seeing the horrors of the poor people in India, the beggars, the people with leprosy, etc., I began to think I could do something.”
Dr. Carlton returned to Harvard upon his discharge from the service. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1952, and joined Hartford Hospital in 1954.

 

Excellence

Donors, Friends Gather to Welcome Dr. Robert Hagberg

Nearly 60 donors and friends of Hartford Hospital attended a reception at the West Hartford home of Linda and David Roth Oct. 2 to meet Dr. Robert Hagberg, our new chief of cardiac surgery. Jeff Flaks welcomed the group, and Dr. Hagberg, a nationally renowned surgeon, researcher and educator, spoke to the gathering about the strength of the hospital’s cardiac surgery program and its bright future. He also shared insight into our cutting-edge techniques and research – all of which attracted him here from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. The hospital, through the Fund Development Department, presents these gatherings throughout the year to introduce friends of the hospital to members of our medical staff.

 

Dr. Thomas Farquhar Addresses The Leadership Institute

Dr. Thomas Farquhar, a radiologist with Jefferson Radiology and vice chair of Molecular and Oncologic Imaging in the Department of Radiology, was an invited speaker to The Leadership Institute, a consortium of health care organizations from across the country, in Boston on Sept. 12. Dr. Farquhar spoke about the risks of radiation from medical imaging, a topic about which he has lectured widely. He summarized the literature and research on the subject and also shared the best practices employed at Hartford Hospital to minimize patient dose from CT scans.

 

Drs. Andrew Caputo and Mark Ruderman Honored by Arthritis Foundation

Dr. Andrew E. Caputo, co-director of the Hand Surgery Service, and Dr. Mark Ruderman, rheumatologist on the honorary medical staff, will be honored by the Arthritis Foundation at the upcoming Docs, Dine & Wine event on Friday, Oct. 26, at The Riverview in Simsbury. This event features a six-course Celebrity Chef’s Dinner with wine pairings. The event benefits the Arthritis Foundation. Individual tickets are $185. For more information please contact Jaime Seltzer at the Arthritis Foundation, 860.563.1177 or 800.541.8350; jseltzer@Arthritis.org. or visit www.CTWineandFood.com.

 

Dr. Srini Mandavilli Presents Lecture in South Africa

Dr. Srini Mandavilli from the Department of Pathology presented a lecture on "Papillary Proliferations of the Endometrium" at the 2012 XXXIX Congress of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP) meeting on Oct. 5 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Innovative and Complex Care

7th Annual Interdisciplinary Transplant Symposium

Nov. 1

Heublein Hall

The 7th Annual Hartford Hospital Interdisciplinary Transplant Symposium will be held Thursday, Nov. 1, from 7:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in Heublein Hall. The event provides an opportunity for experts in the fields of kidney, liver and heart transplantation to present cutting-edge information to individuals working with transplant recipients and living donors. It also provides an opportunity for individuals interested in transplantation to learn more about this dynamic field. Hartford HealthCare Employees: $25; Non-Hartford HealthCare Employees: $50; Students: $15. Registration is required; go to www.harthosp.org/TransplantSymposium. For more information, contact Janet Linden at 860-972-9953 or Jlinden@harthosp.org.

 

Estonian Officials To Visit Hartford Hospital; Will Use CESI As Model

Nov. 5-6

Four officials from the country of Estonia (in the Baltic region of Northern Europe bordering Russia) will visit Hartford Hospital on November 5-6 to view our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation. These visitors, Undersecretary from the Estonian Ministry of Defense, the Surgeon General of the Estonian Defense Forces, the chief of a Medical Center, and a physician instructor) will use CESI as a model to emulate in developing their own sim center. The relationship with the Estonians began in 2007, when Dr. Jay McIsaac, chief of Trauma Anesthesia, was invited to travel to Estonia with several colleagues to train their military service based on his textbook Hospital Preparation for Bioterror. Dr. McIsaac, Dr. Thomas Mort, chief of critical care medicine, Dr. Thomas Nowicki, emergency medicine physician and cognitive simulation director at CESI, and Steve Donahue, CESI program director, spent a week in Estonia using SimMan as the centerpiece of their training.

 

Research and Academics

Dr. Andrew Winokur Participating in Study of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression

Dr. Andrew Winokur, Institute of Living, is participating in a Phase II clinical research study to investigate whether a twice weekly dose regimen of ketamine will be as effective in sustaining the reduction of depressive symptoms in therapy resistant depression as a 3-times-weekly dose regimen. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group dose frequency study of ketamine in subjects with treatment-resistant depression will take place in several hospitals or research clinics in the United States. Fifty-six subjects will be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive either i.v. placebo or i.v. ketamine. The study began this month, and will be completed in April 2013. To refer patients for possible entry into the study or for more information, please contact Dr. Winokur at 860-545-7502 or e-mail awinokur@uchc.edu.

 

Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center Hosts Pancreatic Cancer Symposium

Thursday, Nov. 1

Farmington Marriott

The Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center is presenting Hartford Hospital's Pancreatic Cancer Symposium on Thursday, Nov. 1, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. This event will be held at the Farmington Marriott and is open to all health care providers to earn CME/CEU credits. 

 

Acclaimed Neuro-oncologist Presents Grand Rounds and Symposium for Brain Tumor Patients

6th Annual Fred Cohen Symposium

Friday, Nov. 2

Dr. Susan Pannullo, internationally acclaimed neuro-oncologist from New York Presbyterian Hospital, will present updates on new therapies at the 6th Annual Fred Cohen Symposium for brain tumor patients and their families, "Living with a Brain Tumor, Keeping Hope Alive," on Friday, Nov. 2, in Heublein Hall. Dr. Pannullo will also present Medical Grand Rounds that morning at 7 a.m. in the Taylor Conference Room, on the topic of “Challenges in the Treatment of Brain Cancer." 

 

Radiology Presents Practice Quality Symposium

Wednesday, Dec. 5

JB-118

The Radiology Department is presenting the following Symposium: Hartford Hospital Practice Quality Symposium 2012, on Dec. 5 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in JB-118. It was organized by Dr. Michael O'Loughlin, section chief of Body MRI and radiology residency program director. For further information, contact Dr. O'Loughlin at 860-214-3610.

Care Coordination

Sports Celebrities Endorse Hartford Hospital's Black Men's Health Project

Oct. 27

Heublein Hall

A number of sports celebrities will serve as spokespeople for the Black Men's Health Project, including Kevin Ollie, newly-named coach of the UConn men's basketball team and former professional basketball player; Scott Burrell, a Quinnipiac University coach and former professional basketball and baseball player; Ray Allen, former UConn and Boston Celtics basketball star who now plays for the Miami Heat; and Lucille O'Neal Harrison, mother of basketball great Shaquille O'Neal. Hartford Hospital is developing this project in collaboration with the Omega Foundation to build awareness and inspire action among black men about leading healthier lives. A half-day seminar for the project will be held at Hartford Hospital’s Heublein Hall on Saturday, Oct. 27.

 

Joint and Spine Center Holds Mobility Celebration

Hartford Hospital held our first Joint and Spine Center Mobility Celebration on Sept. 15 for former patients who had joint replacement or spine surgery at our hospital. More than 300 attended the event at Rentschler Field. We plan to hold this celebration annually. Our Joint Center is a regional leader in joint replacement. Our experienced team of surgeons and other clinicians provides excellent care as part of a comprehensive program that also includes patient education and post-operative physical therapy. The event demonstrated the outstanding patient outcomes we have achieved.

 

IOL Staff Offered Depression Screening

Members of the Institute of Living’s clinical staff offered a public free and confidential screening for depression Oct. 11. The event was part of National Depression Screening Day, an annual event held during Mental Illness Awareness Week and gave participants the opportunity to learn more about anxiety and mood disorders.

Operational Update

Financial Report for September Mixed

In the month of September, the hospital’s discharges were below budget by 1.6%, and less than the prior year by 1.5%. Outpatient revenues in the month were greater than budget by 3.3%, thanks to the Emergency Department, Radiology, and Radiation Oncology. The fiscal year ended with inpatient discharges 0.7% below budget, but above last year by 2.4%. Outpatient revenues are approximately 3.3% greater than budget for the entire fiscal year.

 

New Physician: Welcome To Dr. Richard Kershen

Kershen Hartford Specialists and Hartford Hospital are happy to welcome Dr. Richard Kershen, urologic surgeon. Dr. Kershen comes to us from the University of Vermont College of Medicine where he served as clinician, researcher, and educator at the associate professor level in the Department of Surgery/ Division of Urology. In Vermont, he pioneered the development of, and served asmedical director for Fletcher Allen Hospital's Continence Center, the first multi-disciplinary center for the treatment of male and female pelvic disorders in New England. Dr. Kershen completed his residency in Urologic Surgery at The Boston University School of Medicine followed by a two-year clinical fellowship in Female Urology, Voiding Dysfunction, Neurourology and Urodynamics at The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

 

Elevator Etiquette Needs Improvement

Hartford Hospital closed the third quarter of FY 12 with a record high score of 69.3% of patients scoring the hospital a 9/10 or 10/10 for their overall experience. But one of our problem areas continues to be inappropriate use of patient elevators by some staff members, and staff carrying on patient-related conversations in elevators and other public spaces. In order to assure the privacy of our patients and to provide them with timely services, it is important to raise the awareness of expected staff behaviors and the process of patient transport on elevators.

All staff members are expected to:
•       Refrain from patient-related conversations in public spaces
•       Refrain from cell phone use while on the elevator
•       Assist patients and visitors whenever possible
•       Refrain from getting on elevators occupied by patients
•       Vacate elevators when a patient on a stretcher is already on the elevator or waiting to be put on
•       Don’t use patient-dedicated elevators for general use. All patient-dedicated elevators have a large sign on the door indicating that it is for patients only.

Appropriate elevator use was recently audited, and the results clearly showed that staff are still using the “Patient Dedicated” elevators, that staff are not vacating elevators when patients on stretchers need the elevator, and that staff are getting on elevators that are transporting patients. Please follow the elevators rules, and hold your peers accountable for following them too. Transport staff have been instructed to ask that you vacate an elevator if they need it. Please comply graciously. Our patients always come first.

Starting Nov. 5, several employees have volunteered to spend some of their working day monitoring the use of elevators. By following the elevator rules we are doing the right thing, the kind thing, the best thing and the safest thing for our patients. Thank you all for your personal commitment to truly making a patient-centered culture at Hartford Hospital.

 

Security Drill For Armed Intruder Scheduled; Remember Grey and Silver Alerts

Thursday, Oct. 18

There will be a security drill full scale exercise with an active shooter this Thursday, Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m.-2:15 p.m. In preparation for this event, we’d like to remind all physicians about the alerts that signal emergency situations in the hospital, and what to do if you hear them. Two announcements that let you know of violent or potentially violent emergencies are Grey Alert and Silver Alert.

If you hear an announcement of “GREY ALERT,” it means there is an emergency situation with the potential for violence. The announcement of “SILVER ALERT” means there is an emergency situation with an armed intruder or an active shooter. If you hear either announcement, “Grey Alert” or “Silver Alert” in a certain location, stay way from that area until you hear that the alert has been cleared. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the units on which you work, and know where the safety plan is kept and which doors lock.

 

Everbridge Emergency Notification System Expands; Please Register

Safety is one of our core values. We have taken enormous steps over this past year to enhance safety on our campuses. Now we are expanding its emergency employee notification system named Everbridge. This system is being provided to all Connecticut hospitals using federal health care preparedness funds via the Department of Public Health. We have made a further investment so that we now have the ability to notify up to 10,000 staff members. We hope to register many hospital-associated physicians so that they can be reliably contacted if necessary. Please act now to be sure you are in the system.

A newly built Opt-In web portal is now complete, so that you can register in Everbridge, as well as review and complete any existing contact information. If circumstances require Hartford Hospital to activate this Emergency Notification System to reach you, you will receive messages to the phone numbers and e-mail accounts that are in the system. The emergency notification will continue to be sent to each device until you confirm receipt.

To use the Opt-In Portal to register your contact information in Everbridge:
1. Open Internet Explorer on a HH/IOL computer, and type: everbridge.hh.chs in the address bar, and hit Enter.
2. Login using your Novell username and password, and add your contact details. Please include your home address.
3. Click the Accept box at the bottom, click the Save button, and then close the web page.

There are also links to the Opt-In portal on the Intranet under “Reference” and on the HH Web Portal page. If you have general questions about this system, please visit the Everbridge website (http://www.everbridge.com/aware), or contact the HH Alert System Administrators at: Alert@harthosp.org . If you have problems registering, please call the ITS Customer Support Center at ext. 5-5699.

HH In the News

Doctor Doubts Dehydration is Cause of Will Caviness’ death at Chicago Marathon

Greensboro North Carolina News & Record, Oct. 3

A doctor who has studied sudden death during exercise and who is a marathon veteran and qualifier for the 1972 Olympic trials doubts the listed cause, dehydration, in the death of Greensboro's Will Caviness at last year's Chicago Marathon. Caviness, 35, a captain in the Greensboro Fire Department, collapsed about 500 yards from the finish line on Oct. 9, 2011, and was later pronounced dead. The Cook County medical examiner's office told staff writer Jeff Mills this week that dehydration was the cause of death. "Listing the cause of death during a marathon as dehydration is extremely unusual. It is also quite improbable," wrote Dr. Paul Thompson,director of cardiology and the director of the Athlete’s Heart Program at Hartford Hospital. "Most folks will be forced by their thirst to stop and drink if they are that badly dehydrated. Indeed, the problem in marathons lately is actually overhydration ... too much water intake. The water dilutes blood sodium, which allows water to exit the blood stream into the brain, going down the osmotic gradient, causing brain swelling and death. This listed cause of death of dehydration may mean 'we really don't know the cause.'"

 

Hartford Hospital Says United Health’s Claims about 30% Rate Hike are ‘Factually Wrong’

Hartford Courant, Oct. 3

Hartford Hospital says the rate increases it is asking of UnitedHealth Group is "not even close" to the 30 percent that the insurer says the hospital wants over the course of three years. "That is factually wrong — not even close," Hartford Hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Stewart said Wednesday. The hospital is seeking an increase to reimbursement rates that is slightly above the medical inflation rate, which she says is 5.9 percent. The hospital would not, however, say what percentage increase in rates it wants each year, other than Stewart saying "around 6 percent."

 

After Connecticut Legalizes Medical Marijuana, Now What?

Litchfield County Times, Oct. 7

Connecticut took the controversial, historic step as of Oct. 1 to become the 17th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. Now what? One prominent advocate of medicinal marijuana, Dr. Andrew L. Salner, chief of the Department of Radiation Oncology and director of the The Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital, said that while he hasn’t yet certified any patients to receive medical marijuana, he wouldn’t hesitate to. “On the one hand, I think that we really need to wait for the Department of Consumer Protection to put in place the regs ... and hopefully in a matter of months, that will be ready to go,” Salner said. “But on the other hand, there are people who can benefit from it. And while it’s a relatively small percentage of my patients who can benefit from it,” he said, estimating that it’s probably less than 5 percent, there are some patients for whom “that’s going to help” lessen their pain, reduce nausea or stimulate their appetites. Salner worries that certifying patients now, before a legally authorized distribution system is in place, can put those patients or their families “potentially in harm’s way,” but “at least it may help them from the danger of prosecution,” he said.

In the HHC System

Hospital of Central CT eyes $40M cancer center

Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 9

The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC) says it will break ground later this month on a new $40 million cancer center in New Britain. The 70,000-square-foot, two-story center will be built on more than nine acres of woodlands adjacent to Interstate 84 in northwest New Britain, near the Department of Motor Vehicles' office. HOCC will consolidate its outpatient cancer services in the new location and also have room for future growth. "This center will afford the ability to bring together the many specialists required for delivery of world-class cancer care, from diagnosis through treatment, including access to current international cancer research protocols," says Steven D. Hanks, executive vice president and chief medical officer of The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

 

Program at MidState Medical Center coordinates anticoagulation care

Meriden Record Journal, Oct. 6

Anticoagulation care service is for patients who must avoid blood clots. An anticoagulation department was introduced to MidState Medical Center and the Hartford HealthCare system in December 2011. Diane Henry, the primary anticoagulation care service provider at MidState, said she runs the program with full communication among doctors, physicians and patients. It was her initiative that got the program going, and as primary provider she sees many patients.

 

Windham Hospital EMS Program Manager Completes Homeland Security Training

Hartford Courant, Oct. 5

Windham Hospital Emergency Medical Services Program Manager and Chaplin resident Bill Muskett recently completed homeland security training offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), in Anniston, Ala. The CDP develops and delivers advanced training for emergency response providers, emergency managers, and other government officials from state, local, and tribal governments. The CDP offers more than 50 training courses focusing on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to a catastrophic natural disaster or terrorist act.

 

Windham Hospital Foundation Offering Free Seminars to Help Seniors

Hartford Courant, Oct. 3

The Windham Hospital Foundation has announced that it will be holding three complimentary seminars to help individuals live more active lifestyles while adjusting to changing technologies, security concerns, financial challenges, legal issues, insurance options and support systems that are available today. The Foundation is offering the "Boot Camp for a More Secure Lifestyle" seminars in three sessions at three different locations and dates.

 

 

Health Care News In the Region

Day Kimball Hospital plans new $10M emergency department

Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 9

Putnam's Day Kimball Hospital is investing $10 million in a new emergency department to replace an older facility that dates back to the 1970s. Construction on the project is expected to begin around Thanksgiving. Day Kimball Hospital's current emergency department was constructed in 1970 with renovations done in 1990 and equipped to serve 18,000 patients per year. Today, the ED cares for approximately 30,000 people annually, with forecasts indicating that number will continue to grow. The new ED will allow for increased space and modernization, including 24 all-private treatment rooms and one double sized trauma room.

 

Are Connecticut’s Hospitals Sick?

Ridgefield Patch, Oct. 3

Nationally, only three states, North Dakota, South Dakota and Connecticut, do not have at least one hospital that is deemed to be leading the way nationally in using evidence-based care processes closely linked to positive patient outcomes. By way of comparison to our New England neighbors: Massachusetts had 10; Maine and New Hampshire had 4 each; Vermont had 3; and Rhode Island had one that were designated as top performers. The number of hospitals recognized this year by the Joint Commission increased more than 50 percent from last year’s first ever list. In 2011, only one CT hospital made the list, which was Griffin Hospital in Derby.

 

Quinnipiac/St. Vincent’s Medical School Wins Approval

CT Post, Oct. 3

Dr. Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of Quinnipiac University's new medical school went to state Board of Education Wednesday armed with a team of specialists prepared to argue the case for the state's third medical school. It proved necessary. The new medical school, which will have St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport as its primary clinical partner, won its license unanimously. Coupled with the announcement that the new medical school also received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Quinnipiac can start recruiting future doctors immediately. Quinnipiac's Netter MD School of Medicine is expected to enroll a charter class of 60 students in August 2013 and grow to 275 students by 2017, something officials from the Connecticut Hospital Association said should have positive impact on the state's doctor shortage.

 

Special ed students love the new Connecticut Children’s Medical Center School

New Britain Herald, Oct. 2

Barbara Brown, director of education for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said her organization spent two years searching for the right location for its school. Brown and other dignitaries helped celebrate Connecticut Children’s Medical Center School Tuesday in New Britain during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. The CCMC School offers comprehensive special education for students, ages 5 to 21, who require intensive intervention because of severe emotional, behavioral, cognitive and/or learning problems. There are currently 125 students referred from 32 public schools throughout the state, with capacity for 175 total students.

 

Connecticut’s Middlesex Hospital to Acquire Nearby GI-Driven ASC

Becker’s ASC Review, Oct. 2

Middlesex Hospital in Middletown is proposing to acquire a nearby ambulatory surgery center that exclusively performs gastroenterology and colonoscopy procedures, according to a Hartford Business report. The hospital has submitted a proposal with the Office of Health Care Access. The Shoreline Colonoscopy Suites facility currently operates as a free-standing, single-specialty colonoscopy center and is co-owned by Maurizio Nichele, MD, and Jay Zimmerman, MD.

Coming Events

Oct. 18 (Thursday):

Presentation by Dean Frank Torti

7:30 a.m., Gilman Auditorium

Dean Frank Torti, MD, MPH, executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Connecticut Health Center and dean of the School of Medicine, will make a special presentation at Hartford Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 7:30-8:15 a.m. in Gilman Auditorium.

 

Oct. 18 (Thursday):

Reception for Magen David Adom Partnership

5-7 p.m., Heublein Hall

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and other dignitaries will join us at a reception from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at Heublein Hall to celebrate the formal partnership with Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service.

 

Oct. 21 (Sunday):

HealthCare Matters Monthly Radio Show: Seniors and Health Care Reform

WTIC-AM 1080

HealthCare Matters will air on WTIC-AM 1080 Sunday, Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. Join hosts Elliot Joseph, president and CEO of HHC, and Rebecca Stewart, director of media relations, with special guest host Trish Walden, vice president of Central Connecticut Senior Health Services. Together, we will tackle the toughest topics and your questions. E-mail your questions to: hcmatters@hhchealth.org, or call in to 860-522-WTIC during the show.

 

Oct. 23-25 (Tuesday-Thursday):

Flu Shot Clinics

You can get a free flu shot in the cafeteria on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 6 a.m. to 8 pm. or Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6 a.m. to 5 pm. Then Thursday, Oct. 25, there will be an open flu shot clinic in Occupational Health, with no appointment needed.

 

Oct. 23 (Tuesday):

Ribbon Cutting for New Employee Health & Wellness Center

MOB

Please join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the first Hartford HealthCare Employee Health & Wellness Center on the campus of Hartford Hospital. The center, which is located in the Medical Office Building at 85 Seymour Street in the former Bank of America location.

 

For more coming events, click here.

Hot Topics in Healthcare

Medicare Pay Cuts for Poor Readmission Scores Begin

Health Leaders Media, Oct. 1

It's Oct. 1, the day some acute care some hospitals have been eagerly awaiting...and which others have been dreading. Because today the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act begins its two-pronged impact on the way hospitals receive payment for care provided to Medicare patients, arguably the most significant pay-for-performance program impacting acute care facilities in federal history. There are winners and losers. And if hospitals don't have a pretty good idea by now how they're performing, they should. The two provisions of the law (Section 3001, for value-based purchasing incentives for quality; and Section 3025, penalties for excess 30-day readmissions) work somewhat differently.

 

Survey Foreshadows a “Silent Exodus” of Physicians

Hospital and Health Networks Daily, Oct. 1

Judging by the pulse of the industry, there's a growing "silent exodus" of physicians from the profession, according to the results of a recently released survey. And if the trend continues, 44,250 full-time-equivalent doctors could be lost in the next four years, amounting to 91 million fewer patient encounters annually.

 

CDC Targets Holdout Health Workers on Flu Shots

American Medical News, Oct. 8

All health care workers should receive the influenza vaccine for the upcoming flu season, not just the roughly two-thirds of them that did so during the previous season, federal health officials recommended. Still, physicians, nurses and other health workers do better on flu vaccination rates than the entire U.S. public, nearly all of whom are urged to receive the shots but fewer than half of whom actually do. Physicians also must protect their patients by getting flu shots, said American Medical Association Medicine and Public Health Director Litjen Tan, PhD. Campaigns to educate and encourage health workers have helped increase the number of vaccinated health care workers in the office and inpatient settings. The percentage of health care workers who got the flu shot increased during the previous flu season to 67% from 64% during the 2010-11 season. The survey found 86% of physicians and 78% of nurses received the vaccination.

Voices Of Our Patients

Kudos to Dr. Alexis Cordiano

 

The Philantrophy Department has received a donation in honor of Dr. Alexis Cordiano, an emergency physician, for the care that she provided to a patient. In addition, a second patient sent the following thank you note to Dr. Cordiano:

 

Dear Dr. Cordiano,
I want to thank you for the kindness that you gave me in the ER. I came in with kidney stones.

You are very kind, intelligent and caring. I hope someday to have the opportunity to talk to you.
Thank you,
Mark Lewis

 

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.