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

March 17, 2013 Edition

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HH Facts:

1994 – First perfusion contrast echocardiography with Albunex in the region performed at Hartford Hospital by Drs. Linda Gillam and Daniel Fram.

 
In This Issue...
Top News

Hartford HealthCare Teams Up with ConnectiCare for Innovative Health Care Delivery

Hartford HealthCare and ConnectiCare have agreed to collaborate on care coordination and innovative technologies which will significantly improve the delivery and efficiency of care for local Medicare Fee-for-Service patients. On January 10, 2013, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Hartford HealthCare’s application to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO).

The core focus of the Hartford HealthCare ACO is a model of highly personalized care coordination that will improve individual health care outcomes for patients with complex health issues. ConnectiCare, through its Care Management Solutions subsidiary, is providing the Hartford HealthCare ACO with expertise and resources in patient-focused care coordination and health data management.

Collaboration within the new ACO brings together two locally based organizations for the benefit of 12,000 Medicare Fee-for-Service patients in the Hartford region.

“We’re very excited to form the Hartford HealthCare ACO to benefit local Medicare patients,” said Elliot Joseph, President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare. “Patients and providers have to be strong partners in making care decisions. Our ability to jointly coordinate care and leverage medical information and technology with ConnectiCare will provide the next-generation of health for our patients."

 

Are You Hiring A New Doctor?

Don't delay their start date! It takes 60 days for credentialing, so submit the hospital medical staff application immediately.

 

New Employee Fitness Center Now Open

The new Barney Fitness Center for Hartford Hospital employees opened March 11 in the new Hudson Street Garage. The Fitness Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and features the latest exercise equipment. It will also offer a variety of classes, and individual movement and health evaluations – all free to Hartford Hospital staff.

All members of our fitness center staff are nationally certified trainers with a total of 80 years of experience. Their mission is to help other staff members learn the right way to exercise and to develop healthier lifestyles. They will conduct innovative functional movement screenings for individuals and then structure exercises to help improve movement patterns and reduce the risk of injuries. The center staff also will gear exercise programs toward weight control and provide advice on dieting and nutrition.

For more information, visit the Employee Fitness Center Intranet page, email fitness@harthosp.org or call ext. 2-3077.

 

Jeff Flaks Addresses National Audience at ACHE Leadership Congress in Chicago About Care Disparities

President/CEO Jeffrey Flaks brought national attention to Hartford Hospital's successful methods of addressing health care disparities in our community in a presentation he made at the American College of Healthcare Executives' Congress on Healthcare Leadership held in Chicago March 11-14.

The presentation was called "Addressing Care Disparities: A Partnership of Three Community Hospitals."

Joining Flaks in the session were Brenda Adjei, program director of the National Cancer Institute; Bruce Holsteinn, president/CEO of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System; Donna O'Brien, president of Community Healthcare Strategies; and Margaret Sabin, CEO of Sutter Health Partners.

 

Physician License Renewal CME is Available on Jubilant Learning Portal

State mandated CME for physician license renewal is available on the Hartford Hospital Jubilant Learning Platform. You will need your Novell sign on information to access the portal.

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 intranet (inside H.H.), click on the Academic Affairs page, then Medical Education or Medical Staff Office page. Click on the Learning Portal for Medical Education and Training 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 mpappas@harthosp.org

 

Flu Season Officially Over

Because we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the number of influenza cases presenting to our hospitals, we are officially ending the flu season for purposes of staff compliance with Hartford HealthCare’s Universal Influenza Prevention Policy, effective immediately.

This means that staff members who received flu vaccination exemptions no longer are required to wear masks, per the policy, and the color-coded tags distributed during vaccination may be removed from I.D. badges and discarded.

Please keep in mind that patients still may present with flu or develop it while in our care. Per CMS, all patients admitted will be evaluated for influenza vaccination status and given the vaccine as appropriate through March 31. New staff will be offered vaccination through March 31.

The end of this year’s flu season in our region is a great milestone for Hartford HealthCare. We made a huge leap as a care system on behalf of our patients and families with our Universal Flu Prevention Program. The program, undertaken at all member organizations, was a tremendous success. Overall, we moved from a staff vaccination rate of roughly 68 percent last year to a rate of nearly 100 percent this year. This dramatic increase represents many lives protected and saved from influenza.

 

Hospital Leaders Attend CHA Safety Training

During the week of March 3, Hartford Hospital joined other institutions around the country participating in National Patient Safety Awareness Week. We also are taking part in a two-year national initiative through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) called Partnership for Patients.

All Hartford HealthCare acute hospitals are engaged in the initiative and are working together and with the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) and Healthcare Performance Improvement to adopt error-prevention tools and approaches in order to achieve a standard of zero preventable errors.

Several Hartford Hospital leaders have been among the more than 100 HHC representatives who attended CHA leadership training, including Jeffrey Flaks, president and CEO; Dr. Jamie Roche, vice president for Patient Safety and Quality; Dr. Stuart Markowitz, chief medical officer; and Peter Fraser, vice president of Human Resources.

The training concerned how a systemic approach and organizational culture improves patient safety and reduces harm.

 

New HHC Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs

Hartford HealthCare has named Kimberly A. Harrison to the position of vice president for public policy and government affairs. Her appointment took effect March 4.

A veteran Connecticut lobbyist, Kim will give HHC a strong voice in Washington and at the state Capitol at a time when policy decisions are changing the health care landscape at a historic pace. Her experience as an advocate and public policy strategist will help to ensure that HHC can meaningfully and credibly contribute to policy formation to ensure we are always here for the patients and communities that depend on us.

Since 1997, Kim has owned an independent lobbying practice and represented a wide array of clients on numerous social issues, informing the debate and resulting legislation. Hartford HealthCare has an ambitious vision – to be nationally respected for excellence in patient care and most trusted for personalized coordinated care. Kim has the respect in the halls of government to tell our story and ensure that our important role in keeping people healthy and saving lives is understood and valued.

The way she goes about this work is wholly aligned with our core values and how Hartford HealthCare works. I am pleased she is joining our team. Kim holds a master’s degree in public affairs and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut. She will report to Margaret Marchak, JD, MBA, senior vice president and chief legal officer for HHC.

 

Hospital Finances for February: Storm Nemo Was Tough On Our Bottom Line

February was a difficult month with respect to inpatient and outpatient volumes. The beginning of the month was impacted by a severe winter storm and volumes remained lower than anticipated through the remainder of the month.

Inpatient discharges were 2% below budget for the month, and 0 .7% below the prior year.

Outpatient revenues were below budget by approximately 2.6% for the month. Almost all the shortfall in outpatient revenues occurred in the days surrounding the winter storm.

Through five months of fiscal year 2013 inpatient discharges are 1.1% greater than budgeted and 2.1% greater than last year. Outpatient revenues are 1.8% above the budget for the five months ending February 2013.

Excellence

Drs. Babigian and Castiglione Travel to Ecuador With Medical Mission Team

Dr. Alan Babigian, co-director of hand surgery, and Dr. Charles Castiglione, director of plastic surgery; joined a group of 10 health care workers from Hartford as part of a 29-member team who traveled to Coca, Ecuador in January. The trip was organized and funded by Hands Across the World, a nonprofit from Massachusetts.

Other team members were: Brian Hill, RN, Tim Gregus, CST from Hartford Hospital, Michael Bafuma, RN from CCMC, Dr. Christian Arroyo (UConn surgical resident), Tembra Gregu, RN from St Francis Hospital, Rachel Chuilli, student nurse, Connie Castiglione from Hartford Specialists and Michael Castiglione, translator.

The team spent eight days in Ecuador and performed 110 operations, major and minor. They operated on cleft lips/cleft palates, burns, trauma, hand surgery, hernia surgery and scar revisions, on children and adults.

The hospital in Ecuador suffered several power failures each day, without warning, which often made operating a challenge.

Hartford Hospital is in the process of launching the Hartford Hospital Center for Global Health. There were a series of meetings in 2012, and our staff will be engaging in more activities in 2013, with more international trips, education of international health care workers at Hartford Hospital (at CESI) and possibly transporting international patients to Hartford to undergo more complex procedures here.

 

GI Division Teams Up With CESI and Covidien To Host National Training Day

In a combined effort with CESI and Covidien, the GI division hosted a training course on Radiofrequency Ablation of Barrett’s Esophagus on March 15.

Dr. David Chaletsky, HH GI division, and Dr. Charles Lightdale,a nationally-recognized speaker from Columbia University Medical Center, lectured and demonstrated live cases at Hartford Hospital to more than 20 GI physicians from across the northeast.

As a high volume treatment center, and major center of education for Radiofrequency Ablation, Hartford Hospital is considered national leader in the treatment of Barrett’s Esophagus.

 

Medical Volunteers Needed March 23 For Sandy Hook 5K Run

Hartford Hospital will provide medical coverage for the Sandy Hook 5K Run scheduled for Saturday, March 23 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in downtown Hartford. To date, there are 12,000 registrants for the race.

We will be supporting three medical aid stations. If you are an MD, RN or EMT who can help cover the medical stations, we welcome your assistance. Please contact Ralf Coler at 860-545-2373.

Innovative and Complex Care

Changes Coming in the Cardiology Hospitalist Staff

The Cardiology Hospitalists are a team of 7 doctors and 3 nurse practitioners who provide round-the-clock general medical inpatient care within the Division of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital. Four of our doctors will be returning to training to meet their goals of becoming subspecialists in cardiology this summer and will all be missed. In July, we will be welcoming four new doctors to the team:

Dr. Sarfaraz Memon will be joining us from the teaching faculty of Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA. He completed his medical degree at Isra University in Pakistan before training in internal medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Queens Hospital.

Dr. Ahmed Elwan comes to us from the Albert Einstein Medical College & Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, where he is currently chief medical resident. He received his medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt and also spent five years as an echocardiographer in Egypt before moving to the United States.

Dr. Shihab Masrur will be coming to us from the internal medicine residency at Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts. He received his medical degree from Allama Iqbal Medical College in Pakistan. Prior to his residency, he was a stroke and outcomes researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Ossama Elsaid will be joining us from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where he is a medical resident. He completed medical school at Ain-Shams University in Egypt as well as internship and cardiothoracic residency at the National Heart Institute in Cairo.

Please join us in welcoming these new Cardiology Hospitalists to Hartford Hospital!

Research and Academics

Dr. Gualberto Ruaño selected for the Connecticut Science Centers Genomics Advisory Committee

Dr. Gualberto Ruaño, director of the Genetics Research Center, has been selected as a member of the Genomics Advisory Committee for the Connecticut Science Center.

The Science Center is in the process of planning a breakthrough exhibit, The Genome in Me, scheduled to open in early 2014 to which Dr. Ruaño will contribute his perspective and expertise as an innovator, physician, and scientist in the field of personalized medicine.

Other members of the Genomics Advisory Committee include Dr. Henry Lee (forensic scientist, The Henry Lee Institute of Forensic Science), Dr. Edison Liu (president and CEO, Jackson Labs) and Dr. Mark LaLande (professor and chair, Genetics and Developmental Biology, University of Connecticut).

The Genome in Me will promote a wider understanding and appreciation of Genomics, a field that represents one of the 21st century's most promising scientific frontiers.

 

Dr. Hank Schwartz Leads IOL Presentation at Zachs Family Dialogue Event

Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of the Zachs family, Dr. Harold Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief and vice president, Behavioral Health, and senior research scientist Mike Stevens had the opportunity to present the case for support of the Institute of Living’s Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Initiative to other potential donors on March 14.

The event was held at the home of Eric and Jessica Zachs and was co-hosted by Henry Zachs and Judy Zachs. The family made a generous lead gift to support the expansion of research in child and adolescent psychiatry. Among the 35 guests were physicians of the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Program, including Dr. Lisa Namerow, who helped plan the event.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Burns Presents Public Seminar on Latest Advances for Relief of Hip and Knee Pain

Dr. Jeffrey Burns, co-director of Hartford Hospital’s Joint Center, will present a free educational seminar about advanced treatments for hip and knee pain on Saturday, April 6 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Pond House Cafe, 1555 Asylum Ave, West Hartford.

 

First Pancreatic Symposium Successful

The First Annual Pancreatic Symposium took place on March 8 at the Farmington Marriott. It was attended by 80 people. The goal of the symposium was to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer, identify patients with cystic lesions of the pancreas who may be at risk and discuss current models for tracking patients and treating once identified.

The focus of the symposium was on the use of clinical staging, the use of appropriate prognostic indicators and evidence-based national treatment guidelines in treatment planning. Topics of discussion were Epidemiology/Our Experience/EUS/Screening, Genetics, Pathology, Imaging, Management of Cystic Neoplasms, Surgical Updates, and Updates in Medical Oncology.

Seminar faculty featured Dr. Michael Golioto; Dr. Michael Karasik; Dr. Saverio Ligato; Dr. Michael O'Loughlin; Dr. C. Max Schmidt; Dr. Ramon Jimenez; Dr. Pragna Kapadia; Dr. Timothy Hong, and Linda Steinmark, MS, CGC.

Care Coordination

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Care Conference Coming Friday

Join the first Hartford HealthCare Integrated Multi-disciplinary Care Conference including the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Centers from Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and Midstate Medical Center on Friday, March 22 from 3-5 p.m. in Bliss 303.

Faculty for the conference are: Dr. Darren Tishler; Dr. Pavlos Papasavas; and Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, Midstate Medical Center.

This conference is developed as a means to present M & M cases, develop systemwide quality indicators, and implement best practices in order to advance the care and outcomes of metabolic and bariatric surgery patients.

Surgeons, providers, nurses, and clinicians/staff involved in the care of the metabolic and bariatric patient across the entire continuum of care are welcome. Advanced registration is recommended by March 18. Please contact Sally Strange at 860-545-1391 or email sstrang@harthosp.org

 

Educational Seminars About Colon Cancer Offered During March

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Hartford Hospital is offering free educational seminars, where physicians will discuss who is at risk, methods of detection (including colonoscopy), the latest screening options, as well as staging and treatment guidelines.

Tuesday, March 19 at the Hartford Hospital Wellness Center at Blue Back Square in West Hartford. 6:30-8 p.m. Presenter: Dr. Paul Vignati.

Tuesday, March 26 at Gateway Medical Park in Glastonbury. 6:30-8 p.m. Presenter: Dr. William Sardella.

Wednesday, March 27 at the Family Health Center in Enfield. 6:30-8 p.m. Presenter: Dr. Joseph Ianello.

For more information, call the Cancer Connect Line at 860-545-6000.

Operational Update

Medical Staff Annual Spring Event and Awards Meeting Scheduled for May 22

The Board of Directors and Medical Staff Spring Event and Awards has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 22 from 6-8 p.m. in Heublein Hall.

 

Policies Approved By Medical Staff Executive Committee

1.) Pain Management for the Adult Patient with a Suspected Long Bone Fracture in the ED Protocol - Approved and posted on Hospitalwide Policies (Alfresco) HH Intranet site http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh

2.) Infection Control Policy - Approved and posted on HH Intranet site main page under Manuals (Infection Control Manual section 01 policy #012). http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh

3.) Informed Consent Policy - Approved and posted on Hospitalwide Policies (Alfresco) HH Intranet site http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh

4.) PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) and Midline Policy - Approved and posted on Hospitalwide Policies (Alfresco) HH Intranet site http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh

5.) Integration of Services and Communication Between Outpatient Ambulatory Departments (OPD) to Corresponding Inpatient Services Policy - Approved and posted on Hospitalwide Policies (Alfresco) HH Intranet site http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh

 

FichandlerFichandler Two New APRNs Join The Medicine Hospitalist Team

Nicole Cronan, NP. Cronin earned a master of science degree in nursing in the family practitioner track at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford. Telephone 203-910-3043; e-mail Ncronan@harthosp.org.

Nancy Erman, APRN. Erman earned a master of science degree in nursing at UConn. Telephone 860-670-0865; e-mail Nerman@harthosp.org

 

Reminder To Medical Staff: Change of Address

Please notify the Medical Staff Office in writing of any change of address, e-mail or employer.

Please send changes to: Medical Staff Office, 80 Seymour Street, Room 114, Hartford, CT 06102.

 

Opt-in the SSJ Mailing List

If you or someone you know would like to be added to the Seymour Street Journal email list, or to receive it at a different email address, please go to http://www.harthosp.org/SSJ. This ensures that you will receive the newsletter at your preferred email address.

HH In the News

Hartford's Genomas Patient-DNA Modeling Now National

Hartford Business Journal, March 4

Hartford biomedical firm Genomas says three more states -- New York, Florida and California -- have issued it clinical laboratory licenses, effectively marking a national rollout of its predictive model for personalizing medical treatment for patients.

Genomas founder-CEO Gualberto Ruano, M.D.,said Monday those three populous states join Connecticut, Texas and Pennsylvania, and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in certifying its laboratory services.

Those lab services are the backbone of Genomas' specialty is generating predictive models based on patients' DNA for crafting pharmaceutical treatments that effectively deal with illness while minimizing harmful side effects.

In Connecticut, Genomas' distribution and customer support partner is Clinical Laboratory Partners, an affiliate of Hartford Hospital.

SEE ALSO: Genomas Expands Personalized Medicine Business With Clinical Lab Licenses in New York, Florida, California; PR Newswire

 

Why The NRA Keeps Talking About Mental Illness, Rather Than Guns

The Economist, March 13

The message discipline of the National Rifle Association and congressional allies has been impressive. After an initial period of silence, the NRA came out with a consistent narrative about mass shootings. The problem, said the NRA's executive vice-president, was that criminals and the dangerously ill can get their hands on guns.

In one area—suicide by gun—mental illness plays a very strong role, and closer supervision could do real good, despite the risks. In 2010 suicide accounted for 61% of gun-injury deaths in America.

Such statistics do not fit the narrative of the gun lobby, of course, with their insistence that a gun in the home makes citizens safer. Yet even here, where improved gun controls linked to mental health could do real good, it is vital to get the details right and avoid "knee-jerk" law-making, says Dr Howard Schwartz, (sic) chief psychiatrist and director of the Institute of Living, one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in America, founded in Hartford in 1822.

The post-Newtown national discussion about mental health is distinctly double-edged, says Dr Schwartz. It may increase access to some programmes. But the debate is also being used by those with other motives. Mental illness is ubiquitous, he notes, with rates of schizophrenia or bipolar disorders more or less the same around the world, with some rare exceptions.

Yet rates of gun violence differ dramatically between America and comparable countries. And those differences tally closely with differences in the accessibility of weapons. To Dr Schwartz the diagnosis is straightforward: "the NRA is demonizing mental illness to distract from the obvious, in-your-face relationship between the availability of guns and murder rates."

 

Single lung not likely to hinder new pope, doc says

NBC News, March 13

The world's newest pope lost a lung to an infection as a teenager, but medical experts say that likely hasn't limited the 76-year-old pontiff's energy or actions in the past -- and shouldn't stop him in the future. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who will be known as Pope Francis, appears to be fit and lean and should have lung capacity that is nearly normal, said Dr. Zab Mosenifar, a lung expert at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"Without seeing and testing him, I would comfortably say he functions at 85 to 90 percent capacity of someone his age that has both lungs and hasn't taken such good care of himself," Mosenifar said.

The new pope likely lost his lung more than 50 years ago, at a time when severe fungal infections or pneumonia were treated with surgery because antibiotics weren't widely available. But his single lung likely grew and expanded to near-normal capacity within a year or two, said Mosenifar, who is co-medical director of the Women's Guild Lung Institute. There are likely 30,000 to 40,000 transplant patients in the U.S. living with one lung, and thousands more who lost a lung to disease or trauma, Mosenifar said.

Many single-lung patients go on to have not only normal lives, but active ones, said Dr. Edward Salerno, a pulmonologist with Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn.

"They can exercise and not feel any dysfunction," he said.

In the HHC System

Hospital of Central Connecticut Opens Women's Heart Center

Hartford Courant, Feb. 28

Concerned that public awareness of women's heart disease might be lagging, a cardiologist at the Hospital of Central Connecticut has established a center focusing on heart health for women.

While the dangers of heart disease in men is well-known, Dr. Heather Swales said people tend not to think of women as much when it comes to cardiovascular health. That's despite the fact that it's the leading cause of death for women.

In comparison, she said, there's much more awareness about breast cancer "even though it has much less incidence and prevalence than heart disease."

The Women's Heart Wellness Center began at the hospital in late January. It offers a "gender-specific screening" for risk factors for heart disease. Menopausal symptoms, use of birth control over the age of 35 and preeclampsia all increase a woman's risk for heart disease, she said. Much of this information has been known for some time, she said, but "it's slowly being disseminated into the knowledge of health-care providers."

Even many health-care providers are unaware of how dangerous heart disease is to women, she said. It's that lack of awareness that may account for how both patients and physicians approach diagnosis and treatment.

 

Hospitals Lift Visitor Restrictions; Continue To Remain Vigilant About Flu

Norwich Bulletin, March 5

An unusually severe flu season has subsided enough for local hospitals to lift visitor restrictions, but officials remain on alert as new cases continue.

As of Feb. 23, more than 5,200 cases of confirmed seasonal influenza have been reported statewide, and Connecticut is among 11 others where the illness is still classified as “widespread” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the situation has improved enough that stringent regulations in place for more than a month in some hospitals have begun to loosen or disappear altogether.

“There’s been a steady decline in activity over the last several weeks that’s indicative of what’s been happening around Eastern Connecticut,” Windham Hospital spokesman Steve Coates said.

Like Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam and The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Windham set out strict guidelines for visitors over the past several weeks, including prohibiting anybody younger than 18 from visiting and restricting patients to just two adult guests at a time.

The rules have meant hardships for outsiders, Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said, but were necessary to protect the health of people receiving treatment within the hospital. Of the more than 200 flu cases Backus has seen this year, none were contracted by people already receiving care — a statistic officials attribute to the restrictions and a newly implemented policy requires all employees to either get a vaccination or wear a mask at work.

 

Laparoscopic Procedures, Quick Recovery

News 8, March 1

More community hospitals across Connecticut are offering the latest in treatment and technology. News 8's Medical Reporter Jocelyn Maminta spent the day at Windham Hospital, finding out how patients there are benefiting. Lori Bender shows no signs of having a hysterectomy just last week. "Just a tiny bit of bruising, no stitches, just amazing," said Bender.

Her quick recovery is due to a relatively new single incision laparascopic procedure performed by OB-GYN Dr. Robert Gildersleeve at Windham Hospital.

"It's taking a complex surgical procedure and trying to do it through a small single hole," said Dr. Gildersleeve. "A gel point is a newer innovation that allows for an introduction of many laparoscopic instruments. Two or three or more through a single incision and through those we see with a camera and we are able to operate with long skinny instruments that reach down the area we are interested in."

Revolutionary minimally invasive methods like this are just among the latest big city techniques and technology, offered in community hospitals like Windham. In Radiology, the prostate MRI is used to detect prostate cancer, the second most common cancer among men. "It's the best diagnostic method we have," said Dr. Steve Lee, who heads up the department. "If a patient has an abnormal digital exam and has a biopsy and comes back negative, you just want to make sure there's no misdiagnosis."

Health Care News In the Region

Aetna, ProHealth Launch Accountable Care Plan in Connecticut

Hartford Courant, March 12

Aetna and ProHealth Physicians Inc. announced a new accountable care organization (ACO). This is Aetna’s first ACO arrangement in Connecticut, although the company has accountable-care arrangements in Maine, New Jersey and Westchester County, N.Y.

The arrangement begins with ProHealth’s 30,000 Medicaid patients and will expand to include another 23,000 patients who have Aetna health insurance and are patients of ProHealth doctors.

 

Connecticut VA Hospital Leading Attack on Hepatitis C

Hartford Courant, March 4

On most Thursdays, a small group of patients assembles at the VA Hospital in West Haven because they share a common disease -- hepatitis C – and a common treatment -- a protocol of new antiviral drugs.

West Haven has been one of several veterans' hospitals nationwide leading efforts to better treat – and hopefully cure -- hepatitis C, a virus that is four times more common among veterans than in the general population.

Nationally about 4,000 veterans have taken the new antiviral drugs since they went on the market in 2011 costing an estimated $100 million in prescriptions. On most Thursdays, a small group of patients assembles at the VA hospital in West Haven because they share a common disease -- hepatitis C – and a common treatment -- a protocol of new antiviral drugs.

West Haven has been one of several veterans' hospitals nationwide leading efforts to better treat – and hopefully cure -- hepatitis C, a virus that is four times more common among veterans than in the general population.

Nationally about 4,000 veterans have taken the new antiviral drugs since they went on the market in 2011 costing an estimated $100 million in prescriptions. An estimated 1.3 percent of Americans are infected with hepatitis C.

About 4 percent of all veterans treated at VAs – or roughly 165,000 – have the virus. In the region that includes Connecticut there are about 5,000 vets with hepatitis C, according to 2008 numbers, the most recent available.

 

St. Francis Hospital Launches Spinal Surgery Institute

Hartford Business Journal, March 5

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is launching a new institute for spinal surgery that will be run by a team of seven orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons specializing in minimally invasive techniques.

The Spine Institute of Connecticut at St. Francis is a new limited liability company established by the hospital that will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of congenital, chronic and acute spinal disorders.

St. Francis has been in the spinal surgery business for years, but the new institute seeks to raise the profile of its services. It will consolidate the hospital's spinal surgery operations under a group of seven doctors who work at the John T. O'Connell Tower on the Hospital's main campus.

Surgeons at the Institute will treat conditions ranging from minor strains, sprains and back pains to more complex spinal issues including herniated discs, scoliosis, degenerative disc and spinal stenosis.

In fiscal 2012, St. Francis performed more than 1,500 spine procedures.

Coming Events

March 21 (Thursday)

Emergency Medicine Grand Rounds

Gilman Auditorium, 12 p.m.

Topic: HIV Updates
Presenter: Dr. Jack Ross, Director of Infectious Diseases and Director of HIV Programs

 

March 21 (Thursday)

Neurology Grand Rounds

JB-118, 8 a.m.

Topic: Pilot Study of Medical Stimulation To Improve In-Patient Acute Stroke Management
Presenter: Dr. Nora Lee, Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology; Co-Medical Director of the Stroke Center, Hartford Hospital

 

March 22 (Friday)

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Integrated Multi-disciplinary Care Conference

Bliss 303, 3-5 p.m.

Advanced registration is recommended by March 18. Please contact Sally Strange at 860-545-1391 or email sstrang@harthosp.org

 

April 5 (Friday)

Surgery Grand Rounds

Gilman Auditorium, 6:45 a.m.

Topic: Modern Approach to Rib Fracture Fixation
Presenter: Dr. Vicente H. Gracias, Chief, Division of Acute Care Surgery, and Director, Surgical Critical Care Fellowship Program, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey

 

April 6 (Saturday)

American Lung Association "Fight for Air" Climb

Join the Hartford Healthcats Team! Race, run or walk to the 38th floor of Connecticut’s tallest building to raise money for the ALA’s fight for air, pulmonary research, asthma and other lung diseases. The "Fight For Air" Stair Climb will be held on Saturday, April 6 with check-in starting at 8 a.m. at City Place, 185 Asylum Street in Hartford.

Advance registration is $35 ($50 day of event), and there is a $100 fundraising minimum per person. Contact Heather Caisse at hcaisse@lungne.org or by phone at 413-505-5059. To learn more about the Fight for Air Climbs, click here.

 

April 9 (Tuesday)

Cardiology Grand Rounds

JB-118, 11 a.m.

Topic: “Coronary Revascularization Decisions: Medical Therapy vs PCI vs Bypass Surgery”
Presenter: Dr. Gregg Stone, Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, Director of Interventional Vascular Therapy, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

 

May 9 (Thursday)

Sixth Annual Neil Grey MD Memorial Lecture in Diabetes

Gilman Auditorium, 8 a.m.

The Sixth Annual Neil Grey MD Memorial Lecture in Diabetes will be held Thursday, May 9 from 8-9 a.m. in Gilman Auditorium. Speaker is Dr. Guillermo Umpierrez, head of endocrinology and diabetes at Grady Health System at Emory University.

 

May 17 (Friday)

12th Annual Henry Low Heart Center Cardiovascular Nursing Symposium

ERC, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

This symposium is designed to educate Hartford Hospital nurses on a variety of cardiovascular topics. Speakers will be Dr. Eileen Herman, Dr. Jeffrey Klugar, Dr. John Granquist, April Mann, Jami Tyska, and Angel Rentas.

 

May 22 (Wednesday)

Medical Staff Annual Spring Event and Awards Meeting

Heublein Hall, ERC, 6-8 p.m.

Medical Staff Annual Spring Event and Awards Meeting, May 22.

 

 

For more coming events, click here.

Hot Topics in Healthcare

Here Is What Sequestration Cuts Mean For Family Physicians, Says AAFP

AAFP, March1

The inability of Congress and the White House to reach a budget deal to block the Budget Control Act's sequestration cuts means that physicians now are facing an impending 2 percent cut in the Medicare physician payment rate as well as reductions to other programs that directly support the education and training of family physicians, according to the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians).

Without congressional intervention, the sequestration will result in a 2 percent cut in Medicare payment on April 1. The AAFP points out that "A small group practice receiving $280,500 in Medicare revenue for 2012 would receive $16,929 less in total revenue for 2013."

In addition, graduate medical education (GME) programs will be cut by 2 percent, according to the AAFP. "Most likely, major across-the-board reductions in funding to GME will impact the primary care workforce disproportionately."

 

Doctors Don't Often Tell Patients Of CT Scan Risks

Yahoo News, March 4

Only about a third of patients surveyed at one U.S. medical center said their doctors told them about the possible risks of a CT scan, such as radiation exposure, a new study finds.

Researchers, who published their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday, also found that most patients thought their doctors made the final decision to have the scans.

"I think that sounds pretty consistent of what my experience would be as a patient, physician and with family members," said Dr. Howard Forman, professor of diagnostic radiology and public health at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, who was not involved with the new study.

The new study jibes with previous research that found people are unaware of the radiation risks posed by CT scans (see Reuters Health article of January 3, 2013 here: http://reut.rs/VurqxS).

CT scans are high-powered X-rays that provide clearer images but expose patients to between ten and 100 times as much radiation as a normal head or chest X-ray.

 

HHS Takes 'Time Out' on Meaningful Use Stage Three Rule Making

AAFP, March11

HHS is effectively taking a "time out" in its rule-making process to ponder the best way to move forward with stage three of electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use objectives intended to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care.

According to a notice in the March 7 Federal Register, HHS "recognizes the need to use evidence and data on provider behavior to inform ongoing policy development that will result in a connected, person-centric health care system where health information is routinely shared across providers and settings of care."

Enhancing The Patient Experience

Kudos to B9I/E Staff From Dr. Steve Horowitz

Dear Karen,

Last month the B9I/E staffs were essential in saving my life. Saying 'thank you' does not seem adequate to the occasion.

My care givers were not only professional, highly skilled, empathetic, and compassionate, they were tender and caring beyond any professional standard. I could not have been in better hands!

My respect for what occurs cardiac postop is newly informed. Thankfully, most of the critical postop period is lost to my memory. Hopefully, I did nothing offensive. The ICU period I remember is not pleasant. But my overwhelming gestalt from this ordeal is of affection, concern, respect, and love from my hospital family. This enveloping sensation has helped the nightmare regress.

For all our electronic records, protocols, and doctor's visits, it was bedside care that really mattered. I will forever cherish those who cared for me and the infrastructure that made that care possible.

Thank you all!!!

Dr. Steve Horowitz

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 http://www.harthosp.org/SSJ. 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.