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

In This Issue...

June 16, 2013 Edition

Wash In - Wash Out


Keep Our Patients Safe - who is NOT going to wash their hands today?

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HH Facts:

1998-The first accredited echocardiography laboratory in Hartford was created by Dr. Linda Gillam.

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Top News


Seymour Street Journal Wins Lamplighter Award of Excellence

Seymour Street Journal has won an Lamplighter Award of Excellence from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. The award was presented at the NESHCo spring conference on May 20 in Newport, RI.

Seymour Street is written and produced by Annie Emanuelli, communications specialist in the Marketing Department, with executive editors Dr. Jeffry Nestler, president of the medical staff, and hospital president Jeffrey Flaks.

The Seymour Street Journal was developed to communicate key messages pertinent to Hartford Hospital's physicians, to keep them informed and up-to-date on hospital, network, and health care news in a concise, convenient format.

NESHCo’s Lamplighter Awards were created to recognize excellent and exceptional health care communications. They are awarded each year in a wide variety of categories including publications, public relations, and advertising.


CT Budget Passed; Include $66 million in Cuts From Hartford Hospital

In early June, state legislators passed Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget, which cuts $550 million from Connecticut hospitals over the next two years. The cuts include $138 million from Hartford HealthCare, including $66 million from Hartford Hospital.

"Although we are extremely disappointed in the budget outcome, our consolation is that we have a strategy and a plan to manage through these reductions and continue to grow, such as our planned musculoskeletal institute and the expansion of ambulatory care," said Jeffrey Flaks, hospital president.

"Through H3W and HHC Thrive, we have implemented many process improvements and taken many steps over the past few years to increase efficiencies and reduce our costs. We will continue these efforts as we also work to continually improve the patient experience."


Dr. Hank Schwartz Invited To Represent HH at White House Conference

Dr. Hank Schwarz, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Institute of Living, represented Hartford Hospital at a Mental Health Conference at the White House on June 3. The event featured remarks by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The event was the kickoff for the president's "national dialogue on mental health."


HH Cardiac Surgeons and Interventional Cardiologists Participate In Core Valve Trials

A team of Hartford Hospital cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists are participating in a trial to evaluate use of the Medtronic CoreValve® System in treating symptomatic aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve). The team is comprised of Drs. Robert Hagberg (PI), Daniel Fusco, Jonathan Hammond, Francis Kiernan, Ronan Margey, Raymond McKay, and David Underhill.

The trial includes several components and involves intermediate-, high- and extreme-risk patients. The Continued Access aspect of the trial is under way at 45 U.S. sites with patients assigned to TAVR (a transcatheter aortic valve replacement). Hartford Hospital has enrolled 20 patients in the extreme-risk group and four in the high-risk group so far.

The Expanded Use aspect of the trial also is underway at 45 U.S. sites and involves extreme-risk patients, all of whom have received the TAVR procedure. Hartford Hospital has enrolled three patients to date.

Hartford Hospital also has three intermediate-risk patients enrolled in the SURTAVI (surgical replacement and transcatheter aortic valve implantation) trial and is ranked 9th of 43 sites worldwide in enrollment.


Dr. Paul Thompson Interview Featured On National Medical Information Site

Dr. Paul Thompson was featured in an interview, about moderate-intensity walking after meals to protect against Type 2 diabetes, for MedPage Today . View the clip here.

The interview was a result of the relationship formed by Hartford Hospital’s Media Relations Department with MedPage Today, an online medical news service for physicians, health care professionals and the general public.  MedPage provides breaking medical news, professional medical analysis and continuing education credit.  Medpage has been contacting our Media Relations Department requesting physicians to comment on current medical topics. We tape the interview in the Hartford Hospital TV studio; MedPage use is it; and often, it’s picked up by medical and non-medical publications across the globe.

If you are working on or completing studies that might have national implications, please let Media Relations know, and we will try to connect you to MedPage. Call Rebecca Stewart, director of Media Relations, at 860-972-4285, or email


Financial News for May Is Better

Inpatient discharges for the month of May were 0.6% above budget, and 0.4% above the prior year.

Outpatient revenues were above budget by approximately 2.4% for the month, driven by Perioperative Services, Radiation/Oncology and Rehabilitation services.

For the first eight months of the fiscal year until May of this year, inpatient discharges are 0.1% less than budgeted, but 1.1% greater than they were last year. Outpatient revenues are 1.4% above the budget for the same eight months.


CESI To Host the FLS New Proctor Workshop in July

The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) is offering its FLS (Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery) New Proctor Workshop on July 15-16 at the Center for Education and Simulation in Innovation (CESI) at Hartford Hospital.

SAGES and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) recommend that all surgeons practicing laparoscopic surgery be certified through FLS, the only validated, objective measure of a surgeon’s fundamental knowledge and skills related to laparoscopic surgical procedures.

This workshop will focus on training each participant to properly proctor the FLS exam and become an official FLS Proctor. It is only for staff members from currently designated FLS Test Centers interested in learning to proctor the FLS exam.

More information is available at:


ColemanSave the Date: Dr. Eric Coleman to Talk About Safe Patient Handoffs

Dr. Eric A. Coleman, the nationally recognized director of the Care Transitions Program of the University of Colorado, will provide a special Department of Medicine Grand Rounds on Wednesday, July 24 at 8 a.m. in Gilman Auditorium. He will discuss what it takes to ensure high quality transitional care, with a goal of improving quality and safety during times of care “handoffs.”

This session should be attended by physicians, nurses, care coordinators, social workers, and all involved in safety and quality of care and patient care transitions.

Dr. Coleman is professor of Medicine and head of the Division of Health Care Policy and Research at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also the executive director of the Practice Change Fellows Program, designed to build leadership capacity among health care professionals who are responsible for geriatric programs and service lines. For more information about his work, please go to or

Please hold the date and make every effort to attend. Breakfast will be provided. Further information regarding the specifics of the talk and break out sessions will be provided in the near future.


You Are Invited To The Second Annual ‘Chef to Farm’ Dinner July 12

You and your guest are invited to join the officers and other members of the Hartford Hospital Medical Staff for the 2nd Annual Hartford Hospital Medical Staff Max Restaurant Group “Chef to Farm” Dinner from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, July 12 at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury.

You’ll enjoy the freshest foods and produce in the sublime beauty of Rosedale Farms, one of the true treasures of the state. The evening will begin with a wine tasting reception with a guest winemaker; then we’ll head out for a tour of the farm; to see the fields and learn about the farm’s history, operations and products. The tour concludes in a tented area where tables dressed in white linen and candlelight offer a view of the al fresco kitchen.

Each dinner is cooked from scratch and showcases that day’s best produce. The ingredients are sourced daily from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen. The menu will vary depending on the day’s harvest and the inspiration of the chef. Prepare yourself for an incredible dining experience with the most local, fresh and flavorful foods available!

Cost is $115 per person. A suggested voluntary contribution of $10 will be collected at the event for Food Share.

To reserve your space: mail your check to the Medical Staff Office, Attn: Chef to Farm; or call 860.545.6167 to pay by credit card; or register online at

For directions, visit

Space is limited. Please register early. There will be no assigned seating for this event. Attire: casual (we are on a farm!)


HH Wins First Connecticut-Israel Collaboration Award

The partnership between Hartford Hospital and Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency medical service, has received the first annual “Connecticut-Israel Collaboration Award," given on behalf of the Connecticut Israel Technology Summit Committee. This committee is made up of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and the Metro-Hartford Alliance.

The award was presented at the 3rd Annual Connecticut-Israel Technology Summit at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford on June 12. A resource for Israeli companies seeking to establish a presence in Connecticut and domestic companies seeking to work abroad, the event featured remarks by Ido Aharoni, Consul General, Israel; Nili Shalev, Economic Minister to North America, Israel; and, Catherine Smith, Commissioner, Department of Community and Economic Development, State of Connecticut.

Dr. Michael Drescher, associate chief of the Division of Emergency Medicine, accepted the award on behalf of the hospital, in light of his leading role in the partnership. The award was presented on June 12 by Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development for Connecticut and Nili Shalev, Economic Minister to North America for Israel.

Last year, Hartford Hospital was honored to have been selected by Magen David Adom as a training site. Thanks to the generosity of Henry Jacobs, MD, JD, a fund has been established to further advance the fellowship program, which will give paramedics from Magen David Adom the opportunity to train here with our LIFE STAR team, and access our Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation, among other hospital resources. The training provided will directly benefit patients and families in Israel who rely on Magen David Adom's services.


Obituary: Dr. Robert Kiley, Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Bob Kiley, retired radiation oncologist, passed away June 8.  He was a diagnostic radiologist at Jefferson X-Ray, where he was a managing partner.

 "Bob was an all-around great man who I had the pleasure to work alongside," said Dr. Stuart Markowitz.

Dr. Kiley received his MD degree from Yale in 1953 followed by his residency in Radiology at Columbia. He served on the HH active staff until his retirement in 1992. In his early years he was both a Diagnostic Radiologist and Radiation Oncologist and later practiced exclusively Diagnostic Radiology with Jefferson X-Ray (Jefferson Radiology) where he became a managing partner.


Dr. Jonathan Kost Presents Lecture on Pain Medicine

Dr. Jonathan Kost, medical director of the Hartford Hospital Pain Center, presented a lecture called "The Current Practice of Pain Medicine" at a conference entitled Safe Opioid Prescribing Academy on June 7 at Hartford Hospital.

Other presenters were from Yale, New York University of School of Medicine, UMass Medical Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.


Dr. Eric Crespo Promoted to Director of Interventional Electrophysiology Lab

Dr. Eric Crespo has been promoted to director of the Interventional Electrophysiology Laboratory in the Division of Cardiology. In this position, he will be responsible for improving patient quality and safety in the lab, further establishing Hartford Hospital as an advanced center for complex ablations, and advancing scientific research within the division. Dr. Crespo will assume this position on July 1.

Dr. Crespo joined the Section of Electrophysiology in 2009 after completing his electrophysiology fellowship at the Fletcher Allen Medical Center and the University of Vermont. He has overseen the growth of the complex ablation program for atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. 

He is the principal investigator for the DIRECT trial, which seeks to examine the physiologic benefits of directly pacing the bundle of HIS as an alternative to standard cardiac resynchronization therapy.  He is also  the principal investigator of the ATTAIN PERFORMA trial, evaluating a unique quadripolar lead for cardiac resynchronization therapy as a preliminary step toward FDA approval; and the principal investigator of the CABANA trial, which is investigating first line catheter ablation therapy for atrial fibrillation versus antiarrhythmic drugs for the treatment of symptomatic atrial fibrillation in patients at moderate to high risk of a thromboembolic event. 

In addition, he is implementing a comprehensive database to track outcomes of the Section’s ablation procedures and to enable more advanced research. 


Hartford Hospital Auxiliary Announces Another Record Year of Good Works

The Hartford Hospital Auxiliary hosted its Annual Meeting on May 14, reporting a record year of accomplishments to benefit the hospital.

In 2012-2013, the all-volunteer Auxiliary raised and pledged a total of $687,000 to the hospital, with over $160,000 allocated for new projects, including: a smart phone application to pre-screen patients in the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center; 28 televisions for the Dialysis Unit; additional training equipment for CESI; a wireless security system for the Women’s Health Department; and a music program for the Institute of Living. The Auxiliary’s annual springtime "RX for Fun" party benefited Hartford Hospital’s Donor Transplant Program with a gift of $10,000. The Auxiliary also recently pledged $10,000 to the Gun Buy-Back program in Hartford.

In 2012, the 23rd Annual Golf Tournament raised $313,683, of which $100,000 was granted to the new Epilepsy Center at Hartford Hospital. The 2013 Tournament is quickly approaching and the Auxiliary, led by co-chairs Lori Flaks and Shelli Siegel, is preparing to set another record in September. The ER’s Purple Pod will be the $100,000 beneficiary of the 2013 Tournament.

Next year’s co-presidents, Christine Collins and Virginia Van Dyk, are both young mothers, active in the community. They have recruited a wonderful board of longtime and brand new Auxiliary members from Hartford County. Christine’s background as a lawyer at Shipman & Goodwin and Virginia’s experience as an oncological nurse at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will make them a dynamic team at the helm of the Auxiliary, Hartford Hospital’s premier fundraising arm.

Innovative and Complex Care

$1.25 Million Grant to HH Research Program for Personalized Medicine To Treat Depressive Disorder

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has given a $1.25 million grant to Hartford Hospital’s research program on using personalized medicine to treat patients with severe depressive disorder.

The Institute of Living and Hartford Hospital’s Genetic Research Center have been working together on the project. The funding is significant to Hartford Hospital as an academic medical center as it represents diversification of our research funding beyond the National Institutes of Health and raises our prominence at AHRO, which is the leading U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency focused on patient care and clinical outcomes.

This funding bolsters the credentials of the IOL under the leadership of Dr. Harold Schwartz and of the Genetics Research Center under the direction of Dr. Gualberto Ruano. We believe we are making tremendous strides in propelling Hartford Hospital to the national center stage of personalized medicine in clinical practice.

Research and Academics

Dr. David Tolin Awarded $3 Million Grant from NIH

Dr. David Tolin, director of the Anxiety Disorders Center and Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the Institute of Living, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $2,916,925 from the National Institutes of Health.

The five-year R01 grant is for the study of "Neural Mechanisms of CBT Response in Hoarding Disorder."


The Neil J. Grey, MD Lecture in Diabetes Attracts 100+

More than 100 physicians and clinical care professionals attended the sixth annual Neil J. Grey, MD Lecture in Diabetes on May 9.

Supported by the Neil J. Grey, MD Fund for Diabetes, the lecture featured Dr. Guillermo Umpierrez, professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at Emory University School of Medicine, director of the Grady Memorial Hospital Clinical Research Network, Atlanta-CTSA, and director of Diabetes and Endocrinology at Grady Memorial Hospital.

The Grand Rounds lecture, sponsored by the Department of Medicine, also featured Dr. Michael Lindberg, chair, Department of Medicine, and Dr. Robert Oberstein, endocrinologist.

Dr. Grey’s widow, Joan, was in attendance, as was Rose Maljanian, a chair of the Neil J. Grey, MD Fund for Diabetes fund raising committee.


Dr. Orlando Kirton Steps Down As Program Director of UConn Surgery Residency

Dr. Orlando Kirton, chairman of the Department of Surgery, has stepped down as program director of the UConn general surgery residency.

Dr Kirton has been actively involved in the general surgery residency for 14 years, as associate program director for 10 years and program director for the past four years. He has graduated more than 85 chief residents who have gone on to fellowships, academic faculty positions and general practice. Under his leadership the general surgery residency program achieved its first 5-year accreditation cycle in 2012.

Dr. Kirton, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, completed his surgical training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and fellowships in trauma and surgical critical care at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was on the faculty at the University of Miami from 1992-1999 before coming to Connecticut. Dr. Kirton is currently professor of Surgery at UConn.


CESI Welcomes Navy Doctors for Undersea Medical Officer Program

The Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation welcomed back the second class of U.S. Navy physicians and medical personnel with the Undersea Medical Officer Program (UMO). The 16 medical providers, from Naval bases throughout the United States, attended a class May 30.

They will be deployed to surface ships, staff Naval hospitals and be embedded with ground troops. The UMO previously used a naval base in San Diego for simulation training, but CESI was so successful for submarine medics that Naval educators requested that the UMO trainees be sent back to CESI.

The feedback we received was that CESI is not only a wonderful training facility but also has a very committed staff. Several Hartford Hospital physicians donate their time to CESI when the UMO doctors and medics are training here.

Chief's Corner

Welcome To "Chief's Corner"

We recognize the need for sharing information about activities throughout the hospital more widely with our Medical Staff.

Chief's Corner will bring you highlights of activities of interest, which will be authored by our Department Chiefs under my direction. Should you have any comments or suggestions along the way, please share them with us.

- Dr. Stuart Markowitz, Vice President, Chief Medical Officer


Foxman Dr. Ethan B. Foxman, Chair, Imaging Center
Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Services

Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology services care for patients across nearly all departments and service-lines at Hartford Hospital. This sets an imperative to have a strong team driving the department, and as such, I’m privileged to work with the following associate chiefs:

Dr. Bret Coughlin – Associate Chief of Radiology Operations
Dr. Thomas Farquhar – Associate Chief of Service Line Development
Dr. Stephan Ohki– Associate Chief and Ombudsman
Dr. Mike O’Loughlin– Associate Chief of Research and Education
• Dr. Barry Stein –Associate Chief of Radiology Informatics
• Dr. Robert Spillane – Associate Chief of Quality and Safety

Together with Bobbi McNeil, director of Radiology, we are a team with more than 70 physicians and 200 staff members.

Within our FY 2013 plan, we have dedicated ourselves to a number of strategic initiatives for which the associate chiefs and I have direct ownership.

One area of current focus is turn-around-times (TATs) for Emergency Department radiology examinations. In January 2012, we initiated 24/7 in-house attending coverage, and in the winter of 2013 we implemented a new Radiology Information System that is capable of providing daily TAT data. We are in the process of benchmarking our performance against best-in-class metrics.

Our preliminary data from Q1 2013 indicates that approximately 90% of completed ED examinations are reported in less than 1 hour. Our stretch goal is to achieve 100% reporting in under an hour and faster reporting times for certain specific types of examinations by the close of FY 2013. We have information technology, process and staffing changes coming on line that are moving us in this direction.

We are also working with the technical staff and Emergency Department to shorten order-to-completion times for studies in the ED.

We look forward to continuing this work and other ongoing initiatives here at Hartford Hospital.


MarkowitzDr. Stuart Markowitz, Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
Strengthening the Doctor–Nurse Partnership

Communication continues to be our greatest opportunity for improving quality and safety, elevating our patient and staff satisfaction scores, and for building stronger sense of team amongst our clinical colleagues.

We have come a long way from the traditional hierarchical system to a state of greater mutual respect and interdependence. We have all benefited from that advancement and so too have our patients. But as we often say, it is a journey and we are still on the road.

Over the past nine months we have worked throughout the institution on issues that have traditionally led to an extended length of stay for many of our patients. We have found significant opportunity in that work to provide more efficient and effective care for our patients and we are seeing early signs of success in many areas.

Over the coming weeks and months I will highlight for you additional opportunities that come from our Clinical Progression Rounds, Patient Progression Meetings and other forums working to improve our performance.

Collaboration, direct and clear communication, and respect for the entire patient care team are essential for quality patient care. We all understand how stressful and at times chaotic medical practice has become but when our physician and nursing staff work together well our patients reap the benefit.

Doctors and nurses can learn from each other at every encounter. Unfortunately the feedback from our working groups suggests this is not happening enough. All too often I hear about doctors rounding on the floors with absolutely no contact with the nursing staff, charting notes to be reviewed at a later time of the day leading to delays in care and fragmented communication with the patient and their families.

I encourage each of you as you make rounds at whatever time of day to take just a few additional minutes to speak with your patient’s nursing team, hear what they have observed, share your care plan and expectations, discuss potential barriers to the next steps, and be certain your strategies and outlooks are aligned. Share your feedback and appreciate the work that has been done. Positive attitudes and behaviors can be contagious and establish the framework on which excellence can grow.

There is nothing more impactful to the care of our patients than excellent communication amongst the clinical teams. Let’s take this to the next level.

Thank you.

Enhancing The Patient Experience

Voices of Our Patients: Kudos To Dr. Alexandra Flowers, Neurology

Dear Dr. Klimek,

I have been a patient at Hartford Hospital for the past eight years with periodic visits to the Neurology Department for ongoing diagnostic treatment for an extremely rare brain disease known as "Alexander Disease."

I am under the devoted and competent care of Dr. Alexandra Flowers, whose dedication and intellectual involvement in my unusual case has been unyielding.

Dr. Flowers, in spite of her busy schedule, has always been there for me with reassurance and care. She is a one-of-a-kind physician whose untiring attentiveness to research my disease has been admirable and reassuring.

It is a difficult thing to "find a needle in the haystack" as the saying goes, and although the obscurity of my disease is indeed puzzling, I owe Dr. Flowers so much for her undaunting willingness to help me through this nightmare I am presently living.

This recognition is long overdue, as it is Dr. Flowers' professional abilities that have helped me through the years.


Connie Hutter

Operational Update

New Issue of Clinical Integration Newsletter, Connected Care, Available Here

In the June 3 issue of Connected Care, the Clinical Integration newsletter for Hartford HealthCare, Dr. James Cardon, CEO of Integrated Care Partners and HHC chief integration officer, writes about the critical role of information technology in health care delivery.

"Care coordination is based on communicating information, which is accomplished much more easily with a strong information technology infrastructure," he said. "Information technology is critical in the new age of health care when payment is based on patient outcomes and quality rather than individual services, tests and procedures.

"IT supports care delivery by enabling the sharing of patient information and other data, improving coordination through the sharing of information, and facilitating the measurement of performance and quality. IT will play an important role in Integrated Care Partners’ achievement of high-quality, coordinated care at a reasonable cost – or, in other words, providing value."


State Mandated CME Renewal Available Free To HH Doctors on Jubilant Learning Portal

State mandated CME for physician license renewal is available free on the Hartford Hospital Jubilant Learning Platform. You will need your Novell sign on information to access the portal. If you have forgotten your sign on, please call the HELP desk 55699 (outside: 860-545-5699).

To access Jubilant from the web, go to the Hartford Hospital page and click on the gold tab “Medical Professionals.” Click on “Learning Portal” from the drop down menu, and then click on the green tab “Learning Portal Login.”

From the home page of the intranet (inside HH), click on the Learning Portal for Medical Education and Training link. Once you’ve clicked on the link, use your Novell sign in, and the CME is under Physician License renewal CME.

Once you have passed the post-test, you will be awarded a printable CME certificate. Your CME will also be maintained and easily self-service accessed on the Learning Portal site, should you need a copy in the future.

Please note that your Risk Management required activities through MRM will provide your Risk Management CME.

Questions? Contact Maryanne Pappas at

HH In the News

The Patient Who Let Us Peek Inside A Brain In "Present Tense"

NPR Books, June 6

In 1953, 27-year-old Henry Gustave Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery in an attempt to alleviate his severe epileptic seizures. The surgery left him with a form of amnesia; he could remember many things from the past, but was unable to form new memories.

Neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin worked with and studied Molaison for almost 50 years, from 1962 until his death in 2008. She writes about how his case has helped scientists understand how memories are processed and stored in her new book Permanent Present Tense.

"He had an IQ test the day before his operation," she said. "A psychologist at the Hartford Hospital had tested him. After his operation his IQ actually went up, which isn't a surprise because he wasn't having as many seizures."


Editorial: The Gun Rampage Next Time

The New York Times, May 31

In a postscript to the Newtown school massacre in Connecticut, a trauma physician from Hartford Hospital has been meeting with experts from medicine, law enforcement and the military to plan better emergency responses to mass shootings so as to improve the chance for survival of gunshot victims.

Just as wartime battlefields historically produce advances in trauma medicine, professionals in Connecticut and elsewhere in America where gun violence has become all too common are seeking to improve such emergency care — a development that concedes that future bouts of gun carnage are inevitable.


One Year Later, Colby Salerno's Heart Going Strong

Hartford Courant, June 9

It took a while for Colby Salerno to get used to his new heart.

"I could feel it immediately," he said. "It seemed abnormal to me how strong a heart normally beats. Now I've gotten used to it, a year later. At the time, it just felt like my whole body was shaking with every heart beat. It was definitely unpleasant."

Monday marks exactly one year since Salerno, 25, returned home from a very long stay at Hartford Hospital after receiving a heart transplant. Things are going well. Last month, a heart exam by catheter showed that everything was fine.

"I'm doing excellent, I can't really complain too much," he said. "There have been little bumps, but it's better than what I was dealing with."

The first year holds the biggest risk of organ rejection, but in the past 12 months there's been no sign that Salerno's body would reject the new heart. Salerno still has to take precautions — using Purell a lot, cooking his food thoroughly, and taking all of his medications. He's now on six medications, down from the 20 he was prescribed after his May 30 operation at Hartford Hospital.

"He has done remarkably well over the first year," said Dr. Detlef Wencker, director of the hospital's heart transplant program. "After he was discharged from the hospital, he has been so active. He's much more active than most transplant patients you see."


Hospital raises awareness on drowning dangers

News 8, WTNH, June 12

Hartford Hospital is looking to help save lives this summer. It's kicking off a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of swimming, and what parents should really be looking for when their kids are at the pool or the beach.

"They are fine for a while, then they are not fine. If you are watching them, you just have to be aware of that," said Dr. A.J. Smally, Medical Director of emergency medicine at Hartford Hospital.

As day two ends, a drowning victim in New Milford still is missing. Hartford Hospital wants to make sure you stay safe.


Esperion Gets Positive Results From New Study of Cholesterol Drug

CBS Detroit, June 9

Esperion Therapeutics Inc. Friday announced “positive” results from a Phase 2a clinical study of its product candidate ETC-1002 in patients with high cholesterol and a history of bad reactions to existing statin drugs.

The study demonstrated that ETC-1002 cut LDL-C, the so-called bad cholesterol, by an average of 32 percent, and was well tolerated.

The data will be submitted for presentation at a future medical meeting and for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

“I view this level of LDL-C reduction as comparable to what is seen with mid-dose statins,” said Paul D. Thompson, M.D., director of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research at Hartford Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut. “These patients have very limited therapeutic options. Therefore, a well-tolerated medication that significantly lowers LDL-C could benefit this underserved patient population.”

In the HHC System

HOCC Cited For Breast Center Excellence

New Britain Herald, May 21

The comprehensive breast cancer program at the Hospital of Central Connecticut has become the first facility in the state cited as a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence in the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers program.

“Today the management of breast cancer is quite complex,” said Barbara Fallon, M.D., FACP, medical director of HOCC’s breast program. “This award recognizes outstanding performance and coordination of our breast cancer team.”

The certification, effective in April 2014, acknowledges that the program has achieved 25th percentile or better in 90 percent of 36 quality indicators every six months in the past year. These indicators ensure patient-centered, high-quality services through the continuum of breast care, from radiology to radiation therapy, medical oncology, surgery and program support services, says Donna Boehm, R.N., M.SN., M.P.H., oncology program development manager.

She credits an interdisciplinary team of staff members and physicians whose combined efforts culminated in certification. “Through that, we were able to elevate the quality of service,” she said.

HOCC is now one of 40 certified quality breast centers listed on NQMBC’s website.

The program includes a nurse navigator and weekly breast conference meetings. The nurse navigator guides patients through the system from diagnosis to treatment and includes survivorship workshops and manuals for breast care.


HHC's Walk With A Doc Donate Life Day June 22 in New Britain

Hartford Courant, June 9

Hartford HealthCare's next Walk with a Doc will be held 9 a.m. Saturday, June 22 at Walnut Hill Park, New Britain.

This special event, Walk with a Doc Donate Life Day, will include a 30-minute walk and health tips from Rekha Singh, M.D., surgeon, who will talk about the value of organ and tissue donation. Participants will also have an opportunity to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor through Life Choice Donor Services.

More than 117,000 people are on the national organ transplant waiting list, according to LifeChoice Donor Services, Inc. And largely due to the rarity of donation opportunities, only about 28,000 organs are transplanted each year.

Hartford HealthCare is one of 10 Walk with a Doc program sites nationwide participating in the event. Walk sign-in is at 8:30 a.m. New participants will receive a hat and pedometer; each walker will receive a water bottle. To register, or for more information, please visit or call 1-877-914-WALK.


Health Care Jobs Move Home

The Wall Street Journal, June 10

Throughout the ups and downs of the recovery, the health-care sector has remained a jobs engine, notching 11,000 of the 175,000 positions added in May. The Labor Department’s tallies for the health-care sector reflect a trend toward more outpatient care, with hospitals shedding almost 6,000 jobs last month while doctors’ offices and ambulatory care centers added workers. Fewer patients are in hospitals or skilled-nursing facilities and more are at home, receiving care.

That, in turn, has powered demand for home health-care aides. Almost 7,000 such positions were created in May, the Labor Department said. Job-seekers are taking notice.

“I get up to 300 resumes a day,” said Mary Ann Johnson, a clinical staffing specialist at VNA Healthcare in Central Connecticut, a partner in the Hartford HealthCare System. Ms. Johnson has seen the nonprofit’s workforce double to 800 today from 400 in 1998, when she began working there.

Ms. Johnson places individuals with a variety of skills and degrees — such as registered nurses or certified nursing assistants — to care for geriatric patients at home. The pay and duties vary, she said, with home health aides usually starting at $11.25 or $12 an hour, depending on their experience, and some making $15 or $16 an hour. Registered nurses usually start at $30 an hour, she said, with those who have specialties such as cardiac care making closer to $40 an hour.

The tenure also varies, Ms. Johnson said. “We’ve had nurses with us for 35 or 40 years,” she said. “For the younger workers, the average tenure is about two years or so.”

While Ms. Johnson receives many resumes from health-care industry veterans, she also is fielding some from career-switchers: “A fair number of them come out of the information-technology field and the financial field.”

Health Care News In the Region

St. Francis Hospital merger deal falters

Hartford Business Journal,June 12

The proposed merger between St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Missouri for profit hospital operator Ascension Health Care Network is dead, authorities say.

The two hospital organizations signed a letter of intent to merge in January, but were unable to reach a final partnership agreement, the Hartford Business Journal has learned.

St. Francis Hospital officials declined to say why the deal faltered.

In a written statement St. Francis CEO and President Christopher Dadlez said the hospital will continue to operate as an independent entity.

Ascension Health Care did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

As part of the preliminary agreement earlier this year, St. Francis Hospital, the nonprofit care provider, agreed to become part of St. Louis' Ascension Health Care Network, an affiliate of the largest not for profit Catholic health system in the nation.


Westerly Hospital sale to L+M completed

The CT Day, May 31

As of midnight today, The Westerly Hospital became part of the Lawrence + Memorial Hospital Corp., ending 91 years as an independent hospital to join a larger partner that can provide the financial stability it has long sought.

Under the terms of the purchase, L+M agreed to a total of $69 million in cash and other commitments, including the assumption of $22 million in debt, closing costs of $1.5 million, $6.5 million in working capital during the first two years, and $30 million in new technology, equipment and expansion of services over the next five years.


Connecticut Children's Ranked Among Nation's Best Children's Hospitals

PR Web,June 11

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has been ranked among the best in the nation for six of its specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013-14 “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings.

It is Connecticut Children’s fifth time to be named among the best since the rankings were created eight years ago.

“Connecticut Children’s is committed to making our state’s children the healthiest in the country,” said Martin J. Gavin, President and CEO of Connecticut Children’s. “We are honored that the highly specialized care we provide, thanks to the exemplary work and expertise of our staff, has been recognized again by U.S. News.”

Hot Topics in Health Care

The Weird World of Colonoscopy Costs

The New York Times, June 8

Colonoscopies are one of three standard ways to screen for colorectal cancer. So it is disturbing to learn that the cost of this routine procedure, performed on more than 10 million Americans each year, differs radically from state to state and even within the same metropolitan area. As Elisabeth Rosenthal reported last week in The Times, the amount paid by a patient and the patient’s insurance plan for a routine colonoscopy can be as high as $8,500 in the New York area, compared with a high of $1,900 in Baltimore. The low price in New York was $740, less than a tenth of the highest price.

Variations like these are not limited to colonoscopies. Big price differentials occur in a wide range of procedures and services, including hospital stays, M.R.I. scans and artificial hips, among others. Bringing the highest prices down to more reasonable levels will be an essential ingredient in holding the nation’s health care costs to sustainable levels.

What accounts for the big differences in colonoscopy costs? Prices can depend on the particular doctor and where the procedure is done. Colonoscopies are cheaper in a doctor’s office, more expensive in an ambulatory surgical center that can tack on a facility fee, even more expensive in a hospital outpatient department and through the roof if performed in a hospital.

Who administers a sedative, if required, also matters. Anesthesiologists charge the most, other health professionals cost less, and a gastroenterologist who provides the sedative as well as the procedure may do so without added cost. Prices also rise steeply in some markets because insurance companies lack sufficient impetus or bargaining power to negotiate for lower prices when they can usually pass on the costs to their enrollees in the form of higher premiums.

There are no easy fixes. Insurers, big employers and state and federal governments can all bring pressure to bear. Possible remedies proposed by experts include having private insurers and Medicare pay the same amount for a service or procedure regardless of where it is performed, encouraging insurers not to pay for an anesthesiologist except when one is medically necessary, using state-level political powers to lean on health care providers and insurers to lower their prices, and adopting “reference pricing” that limits what insurers will pay and forces people who want something more expensive to pay the difference.

The Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law, has already established more than 200 hospital and physician organizations under Medicare that will accept a fixed sum to provide all the care an individual needs over the course of a year. This provides an incentive for the groups to keep their patients healthy and provide quality care cheaply. The new health insurance exchanges created by the reform law should also put pressure on insurers to negotiate down the prices charged by hospitals and doctors.

Under the reform law, insurers have to pay for preventive services like colonoscopies without cost-sharing. But, in most cases, giving patients more information could help. They need to know what the total costs will be on a procedure, what their share will be and how well various doctors perform. High costs are no guarantee of high quality.


Website Eases Switch To New Healthcare Codes

Medical News Today,May 18

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed a website that walks healthcare providers through the challenging transition from the current International Classification of Diseases -- ICD-9 -- to the new ICD-10.

Doctors, hospitals and all other healthcare providers have until October 2014 to switch to the new coding system, used to classify every disease or condition and in every aspect of healthcare from ordering supplies to insurance reimbursement.

The switch won't be easy -- the number of codes has grown from 14,000 to 68,000. The AMA estimates the administrative costs for physicians will be $87,000 to $2.7 million per practice, plus potential losses in reimbursement due to incorrect coding.

The UIC team created a web-based tool to help physicians, hospitals and clinics make the transition without the need to hire experts. The study is available online in advance of print in JAMIA, the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

They also identified the diseases presenting the greatest reporting complexity.

The study shows that the transition to ICD-10 is likely to be far more costly and disruptive than previously reported -- particularly for a subset of specialists, says Yves Lussier, UIC professor of medicine and engineering in medicine, and principal investigator on the study.


Health Care's Overlooked Cost Factor

The New York Times, June 11

When the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Corporation merged its two hospitals with the neighboring Highland Park Hospital just north of Chicago 13 years ago, the deal was presented as an opportunity to increase efficiency and improve the quality of patient care.

But when the Federal Trade Commission finally decided to look at the deal, it encountered an entirely different objective: to gain market power.

Mark Neaman, Evanston’s chief executive, had told his board that the deal would “increase our leverage, limited as it might be,” the investigation found, and “help our negotiating posture” with managed care organizations.

The commission caught Ronald Spaeth, the Highland Park C.E.O., talking about the corporation’s three hospitals and explaining how “it would be real tough for any of the Fortune 40 companies in this area whose C.E.O.’s either use this place or that place to walk from Evanston, Highland Park, Glenbrook and 1,700 of their doctors."

It was a great deal for the hospitals. The fees they charged to insurers soared. One insurer, UniCare, said it had to accept a jump of 7 to 30 percent for its health maintenance organizations and 80 percent for its preferred provider organizations.

Aetna said it swallowed price increases of 45 to 47 percent over a three-year period. “There probably would have been a walkaway point with the two independently,” testified Robert Mendonsa, an Aetna general manager for sales and network contracting. “But with the two together, that was a different conversation.”

There have been more than 1,000 hospital system mergers since the mid-1990s, often involving dozens of hospitals. In 2002 doctors owned about three in four physician practices. By 2008 more than half were owned by hospitals.

If there is one thing that economists know, it is that market concentration drives prices up — and quality and innovation down.

Research by Leemore S. Dafny of Northwestern University, for instance, found that hospitals raise prices by about 40 percent after the merger of nearby rivals.

Other studies have found that hospital mergers increase the number of uninsured in the vicinity. Still others even suggest that market concentration may hurt the quality of care.

Coming Events

June 20 (Thursday)

Emergency Medicine Grand Rounds

Gilman Auditorium, 12 p.m.

Topic: Safe Opioid Use in the ED: A Clinical Perspective

Presenter: Dr. Kavita Babu, UMass Medical Center


June 23 (Sunday)

18 Hole Stroll During Travelers To Benefit Pancreatic Cancer Research

TPC River Highlands, Cromwell

Register now for the Pancreatic Cancer Research 18-hole Stroll, to be held on Sunday, June 23 at the Travelers Championship PGA Tour Event at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell. The $50 registration includes entry to the final round of the Travelers Championship, breakfast, shirt, silent auction, live music and the 18-hole Stroll, finishing with the crowning of the 2013 champion.

The Travelers Championship is sponsored by Hartford HealthCare.

For additional information or to register, visit, or call 866-789-1000.


June 24 (Monday)

22nd Annual Raynbow Golf Classic To Benefit HH Diabetes Education

Wampanoag Country Club, West Hartford

The 22nd Annual Raynbow Golf Classic Tournament will be held Monday, June 24 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford. The event will benefit Hartford Hospital Diabetes Education, JDRF and Cancer Center at Connecticut. The fee is $800 for a foursome; other sponsorship opportunities are available.

For more information, contact Nadia Woodman at 860-545-2161 or


June 27 (Thursday)

Technical Writing Skills for Better Documentation/Communication

ERC, 2-4 p.m.

Technical Writing Skills for Better Documentation/Communication will be presented by the Health Science Libraries on Thursday, June 27 from 2-4 p.m. in the ERC 3rd floor in the Library Classroom. Sheila Hayes, senior librarian, will be the instructor; and Elizabeth A. Fishe will be the facilitator.

Better documentation in health care is essential for patient safety and legal clarity. The secondary benefits of good technical writing skills are better overall communication both spoken and written. The core of the course is to teach healthcare professionals to use the active voice in all documentation and even in giving verbal reports. The course also addresses form and function of the English language as it relates to health care documentation.

The class is based on the book, “Handbook of Technical Writing” by Charles T. Brusaw, Gerald J. Alred and Walter E. Oliu.

Hartford Hospital is accredited by the Connecticut State Medical Society to sponsor Continuing Medical Education for Physicians. Hartford Hospital designates this educational activity for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 credit (s). Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The class will also be offered on Sept. 23 and Nov. 11.

To register call/email 860 972-2416


June 28 (Friday)

HHC and HHC Medical Group Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Care Conference

The Hospital of Central Connecticut, Center for Metabolic Health, 11 South Rd, Farmington, 3-5 p.m.

Facilitator is Dr. Darren Tishler, director of Hartford Hospital's Bariatric Surgery Program. Case presentations will be made by Dr. David Okolica of HOCC and Dr. Nicholas Verdura of Midstate Medical Center. The education topic will be a presentation of updated pre and post-surgery nutritional guidelines presented by May Harter, RD of HOCC and Dawn Garcia, APRN of HHCMG.

RSVP to your respective coordinator: Sally Strange at 860-972-1391 or; or Kelly Miller at 203-694-5435 or; or Paula O’Neil at 860-224-5900 ext. 6293 or


June 29 (Saturday)

4th Annual Kym's Kause Motorcycle Ride To Benefit LifeChoice

East Windsor, 11 a.m.

The 4th annual Kym's Kause Benefit Motorcycle Ride will be held on Saturday, June 29 at 11 a.m. starting at Scout Hall, 28 Abbe Road, East Windsor. The event is to promote organ donor awareness, and is in memory of Kym Meyers, a 19-year-old patient at Hartford Hospital who died waiting for a liver transplant.

Fee is $25 per rider, with $15 for passenger or guest. The event will include a steak and chicken lunch, live band, raffle prizes, 50/50 raffle, face painting, basketball and vendors.

Riders and guests will have the opportunity to speak with families that have received the priceless gift of organ donation and those that have donated personally. LifeChoice will also provide brochures and information for guests to bring home to discuss with their families.

For more information, go to


June 29 (Saturday)

Laughter For a Cause

The Russian Lady, 6-9 p.m.

Come out and enjoy a night of laughter on Saturday, June 29 from 6-9 p.m. at The Russian Lady to support ovarian cancer research and awareness.

The evening includes appetizers, a free drink ticket, comedy lineup of Hartford Hospital staff members Angel Rentas, Howie Mason and Victor Ramos, and music by DJ M.E. You will have free admission to the Russian Lady (191 Ann Uccelo Street in Hartford) after the show.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center and CT Women of Hope.

Tickets are $40 per person. To purchase tickets and for more information, please email Sara at


July 8 (Friday)

Hospital Incident Command System Training

ERC 123, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

There will be a training class in the Hospital Incident Command System on Monday, July 8 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon in ERC 123. It is being offered by the Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness (CEMP) at Hartford Hospital. The target audience is any individual who may be involved in the response to an emergency incident that may have an active role in the Hospital Command Center where the use of the HICS will be utilized.

The class will cover IS-100HC: Introduction to the Incident Command System; IS-200HC: Incident Command System for Healthcare; and NIMS-700: National Incident Management System (NIMS): An Introduction.

To register, send an email to with subject “Class Registration: July 8”. For more information, contact Rich Leach at the Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness at 860-545-1082 or


July 12 (Friday)

2nd Annual Medical Staff Chef to Farm Dinner

Rosedale Farms, Simsbury, 6-9 p.m.

2nd Annual Hartford Hospital Medical Staff “Chef to Farm” Dinner from 6-9 p.m. at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury.


July 13 (Saturday)


Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center, Avon

Save The Date And Start Training! The ERRACE (Everyone Ride/Run Against Cancer Everyday) organizational team is asking for your help in our fight against cancer. Our goal is not only to raise funds to support cancer care and research, but also to inspire good health, fitness, self awareness and to challenge you to try something new.

Like last year, our event will be held at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center in Avon and will include a supported 25, 50, or 100-mile road bike ride, a 20-mile technical mountain bike ride and a 5 km run/walk. In addition, we plan to have a return of the exotic car corral/parade, wellness tent, raffle, giveaways, and fabulous food.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of our co-executive director, Allyson Caputo, who passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was the driving force in the founding and running of ERRACE, an inspiration to all who knew her. Her life was not defined by its length, but by its glory. We continue on in her example of perseverance and challenge all of you to do the same.

We are excited to inform you that ERRACE was the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s top grassroots fundraiser for 2012. We raised over $185,000, thanks in part to our top fundraising team "miles4mary" and all the cyclists and runners who participated in 2012 to ERRACE cancer. This award has lead to our partnership with the LIVESTRONG foundation, and we are now a partnered event. Funds from ERRACE will still be split between the LIVESTRONG foundation and the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center.

To find out more please go to Please save the date and start training. We will inform you when registration is open.


July 21 (Sunday)

16th Annual Michael Rosano Golf Tournament In Memory of Dr. David Hull

Blue Fox Run, Avon, 11 a.m.

Fee is $150/golfer or $550/foursome, which includes: greens fee, cart, prizes, BBQ lunch, and buffet dinner. Proceeds will benefit LifeChoice Donor Services in memory of Dr. David Hull.

To register, go to, or call 860-286-3120.


July 24 (Wednesday)

Department of Medicine Grand Rounds - Dr. Eric Coleman to Talk About Safe Patient Handoffs

Gilman Auditorium, 8 a.m.

Dr. Eric A. Coleman, the nationally recognized director of the Care Transitions Program of the University of Colorado, will provide a special Department of Medicine Grand Rounds on Wednesday, July 24 at 8 a.m. in Gilman Auditorium. He will discuss what it takes to ensure high quality transitional care, with a goal of improving quality and safety during times of care “handoffs.”

Dr. Coleman is professor of Medicine and head of the Division of Health Care Policy and Research at the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also the executive director of the Practice Change Fellows Program, designed to build leadership capacity among health care professionals who are responsible for geriatric programs and service lines. For more information about his work, please go to or

Breakfast will be provided.


SAVE THE DATE: Oct. 2 (Wednesday)

29th Annual Cardiovascular Symposium

Connecticut Convention Center, 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


Jan Basile, MD, Professor of Medicine, Seinsheimer Cardiovascular Health Program, Medical University of South Carolina

Larry B. Goldstein, MD, Professor of Medicine (Neurology); Director, Duke Stroke Center, Duke University Medical Center

Martin S. Maron, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine; Director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center; Tufts Medical Center

Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, Professor, Harvard Medical School; Executive Medical Director, Shapiro Cardiovascular Center; Director, Clinical Cardiology, Brigham & Women’s

Gosta Pettersson, MD, Vice Chairman, Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Surgical Director of Lung Transplantation; Cleveland Clinic

Daniel J. Rader, MD, Edward S. Cooper, MD/Norman Roosevelt and Elizabeth Meriwether McLure Professor; Chief, Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics; Associate Director, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics; Director, Preventive Cardiovascular Program, Penn Heart and Vascular Center

William S. Weintraub, MD, Christiana Care; John H. Ammon Chair of Cardiology, Center for Heart and Vascular Health; Director of the Christiana Care Center for Outcomes

To register visit



For more coming events, click here.

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. If you would like to be added to the Seymour Street Journal email list, or to receive it at a different email address, please opt-in at This ensures that you will receive the newsletter at your preferred email address. Back issues can be viewed here. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, Medical Staff President, at (860) 836-7313.