Wash In - Wash Out


Hand Hygiene Saves Lives

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

March 3, 2013 Edition

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HH Facts:

1992 - First Ross procedure performed at Hartford Hospital by Dr. Lee Ellison.

In This Issue...
Top News

Hartford Hospital Named One of America's Best 100 Hospitals

Hartford Hospital was once again named as one of America’s Best 100 hospitals by HealthGrades. The rating is based on hospital complication and mortality rates for common procedures.

Healthgrades evaluated about 4,500 organizations and selected nearly 1,500 hospitals as being eligible for the award. The 100 selected hospitals represent the top 2 percent of hospitals in the nation, according to Healthgrades, which also noted that 165,636 lives would have been saved if all U.S. hospitals performed at the level of the 100 Best Hospitals from 2009 to 2011.


Hand Hygiene Update

We know that each year in Hospitals across the United States nearly 2 million patients acquire infections, many of which can be life threatening. Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and one of the simplest steps for all of us to take.

Because of its importance, we set an aggressive goal of 90% compliance across Hartford Healthcare system and have put reliable measures in place. While our overall compliance at Hartford has improved we have a very long way to go. The report for mid-February showed overall compliance at 56% with washing going into rooms at 43% and coming out at 68%. In the first half of February, our medical students were our highest performers at nearly 93% while our physicians performed at 65% and our advanced practitioners at approximately 58%. It appears we may be able to learn a lot from our medical students to achieve a performance we can be proud of.

Creating a safe environment for our patients requires we all take ownership for success in hand washing and continue to set the standard for the entire institution. We have the opportunity every day to role model for all those around us, and to demonstrate our values of safety and caring.

Please make this behavior part of what you do each and every day at every opportunity. Teach and mentor those you interact with, and be receptive to feedback from every member of our health care team. We all want to do what is best for our patients and hand washing is a simple way to improve the health and welfare of those that entrust us to care for them at their most vulnerable times.

Thank you for making this important in your daily activities.


Dr. Stuart Markowitz Testifies on Behalf of Hospital Before Legislative Appropriations Committee

By Dr. Stuart Markowitz, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

As you are certainly aware, the governor’s proposed budget for the biennium ending June 30, 2015 includes unprecedented severe cuts to hospitals of funding that supported the care of the un- and under-insured. Hartford Hospital alone stands to lose about $66 million in payments over the next three years, and by 2015 all of such funding will be eliminated.

We fully appreciate that the State of Connecticut faces a very difficult financial situation with a very large deficit that leads to the governor having to make some challenging decisions. However, cuts of this magnitude will challenge our abilities to continue to function and operate as we do today. Hartford Hospital is a major safety net for Connecticut citizens and we willingly care for each and every patient that comes through our doors. At the same time, our reach into our communities is enormous and in FY 2011 alone we provided $99 million in community benefit and charity care.

For the past several years we have not sat back idly as the state’s financial situation worsened. We have begun many initiatives engaging our entire staff through H3W, Thrive and other programs to become as efficient as possible and increasing the overall value of the services we provide. At the same time we have seen our patient satisfaction scores rise to the highest levels in our history and we have received a growing number of local and national recognitions as a top performing hospital.

We will continue to grow and be successful, but we will need to change the way we operate and adapt to a rapidly changing healthcare environment. I had the opportunity to testify on behalf of Hartford Hospital last week at the Legislative Appropriations Committee hearings on the governor’s budget and its impact on Hartford Hospital. Educating our legislators at every opportunity will be key to having them understand the impact on hospitals and to our communities that such drastic cuts will have. We offered our expertise to work with the committee and with the governor to reduce the long-term burden of health care to taxpayers and to help create a system that provides excellent, lower-cost care to all our citizens.

As this budget review process continues over the next few months we will be calling on you to reach out to your legislators and express your concerns and assist in their education of the impact such a budget will have on the people of Connecticut. Please take the time to make calls and send letters when requested. We will be developing and distributing information to you as it becomes available and creating an organized strategy which will ask for your participation. We thank you in advance for your help.


Food Service For Patients and Staff To Be Updated

On May 1, Food Services will discontinue the current “Cook-Chill” system of food preparation and replace it with a more traditional “Cook-Serve” system.(Cook Chill involves the full cooking of food, followed by rapid chilling and storage at controlled temperatures for up to three days, and then reheating food before service. The new system will allow food to be cooked right before serving. This should provide improved flavor, aroma and temperature control for patient meals.)

At the same time, Food Service will also introduce:
• new, healthier food selections
• a printed menu for patients
• new trays and food heating system
• an internal brand with a catchy name and colorful design
• a menu symbol that indicates a food choice with reduced sodium, fat and calories
• enhanced coordinator service
• basic tray line in Donnelly to provide meals for 125 patients at the IOL

These actions were inspired by feedback from multiple sources, including staff H3W groups, physicians, patient satisfaction surveys and patient advisory groups. There will be tasting opportunities for staff in March and April.


Second Annual ‘Chef to Farm’ Dinner Set for July 12th

Please save the date for the 2nd Annual Hartford Hospital Medical Staff “Chef to Farm” Dinner on Friday, July 12, 2013 at Rosedale Farms.  Details will follow. You will be able to join the officers of the Hartford Hospital Medical Staff in celebrating the beauty and abundant bounty of our local farms – as a unique opportunity to socialize and enjoy the company of your colleagues. You’ll be treated to the freshest foods and produce in the sublime beauty of Our Farms, the true treasures of the state.


Joint Commission Visit Focused on Stroke Program

Hartford Hospital has applied for Joint Commission Certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This certification would differentiate Hartford Hospital from Primary Stroke centers and recognize the significant differences in resources, staff, and training that are necessary for the treatment of complex stroke cases.

On February 21 and 22 the Joint Commission conducted a focused survey of our Stroke Program as part of the certification process. Two nurse surveyors completed a thorough review of our processes for patient care through unit tours, record and policy review, and interviews with many members of the care team.

Many positive attributes were highlighted including the longevity of our program, highly engaged physicians and nurses, dedicated rehabilitation and dietary staff, and strong leadership, all resulting in a well integrated care team. The use of Neuropsych services was noted as a best practice that the surveyors will share with other programs. The surveyors also offered insight into opportunities to improve efficiency of documentation, collection and use of quality data, and collaboration with referring hospitals. The Joint Commission will provide a final report within the next few weeks.


Hartford Hospital Will Enroll Participants in ACS CPS-3

The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-3 is enrolling participants at Hartford Hospital. To better understand ways to prevent cancer, the ACS is recruiting men and women across the US and Puerto Rico for this landmark new research study, known as CPS-3.

Individuals may choose to participate if they are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study (which involves completing follow-up surveys periodically over the next 20-30 years), are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old and have never been diagnosed with cancer.

If you become part of CPS-3, you will complete periodic surveys about your health, lifestyle habits, and family history. Your involvement will help American Cancer Society researchers better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer, which will ultimately save lives.

There will be enrollment events on Wednesday, April 24 from 2-5:30 p.m. in the ERC Informal Lounge; and Friday, April 26 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Gilman Auditorium. Participants must call or go online to get an appointment for one of the two days.

Previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I and CPS-II) have played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risks.

Visit www.cancer.org/cps3ne, call 1-888-604-5888, or e-mail cps3@cancer.org.


Florida Hospital Management Visits HH to Learn About H3W

On February 14 six members of Florida Hospital of East Orlando, Florida Hospital visited Hartford Hospital with an interest in learning more about H3W. The visit was prompted by the presentation given this past November by Jeff Flaks and Dr. Jamie Roche at the Annual National Press Ganey Conference.

The management team of Florida Hospital started out the day by attending the Radiation Oncology H3W Work Group Meeting and then spent the remainder of the day with our administrative team and H3W Facilitators reviewing the elements of our operating model. During the day the team took the opportunity to tour CESI as well.


Dr. Barry Stein Serves As Invited Faculty At Roentgen Society Meeting

Dr. Barry Stein, vice chair of the Department of Radiology, chief of Cardiovascular MRI and CT and member of the Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, was on the invited faculty at the New York Roentgen Society Meeting Feb. 11 in New York City. His topic was "State of the Art Venous Imaging."


Innovative and Complex Care

World's smallest heart pump saves man's life

News 8, WTNH, Feb. 19

The world's smallest heart pump; doctors at Hartford Hospital used it to save a man's life, but they were forced to take extraordinary measures to do it. A minor surgical procedure brought Howard Gaynor to Hartford Hospital, but two heart attacks while recovering led to a more invasive step.

"In the throws of that second heart attack, his heart really began to struggle quite badly," Dr. Ronan Margey said. Dr. Margey is the interventional cardiologist who stepped in.

"In Howard's case, unusually the heart attack was predominately affecting the right side of the heart," said Dr. Margey. The right side of the heart that pumps blood into the lungs. The only solution: the smallest heart pump designed for the right side of the heart, but the new device was not yet approved for clinical trials in the U.S. 

 "In Howard's case, it was shaped like this," said Dr. Margey. "We were left in a situation where by we could either watch what was going to be a progressive decline and a worsening of the situation or we can try to do something."

They worked quickly to get approval from the hospital ethics board, the manufacturer and the FDA.  "This is actually the right sided pump device so the first time this device is used in the United States," Dr. Margey said. Approved for compassionate use, doctors were able to save Gaynor's life.

Research and Academics

HH Team Poster Submission Receives "Best Poster" Designation from American College of Cardiology Conference

A poster submitted to the 2013 American College of Cardiology conference entitled "Effect of Educational Intervention on the Accuracy of Data Submitted to a National Registry" by Dr. Vinay Gulati, Dr. Matthew Parker, Michael Thorns RN, Thea Ling RN, and Dr. Steven Zweibel has been awarded the prestigious "Best Poster" designation. This designation represents approximately the top 3% scoring percentile of poster acceptances.

The study evaluated the frequency of data entry errors into a national ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) registry at Hartford Hospital and the effects of quality controls and staff education on reducing those errors. After these measures were in place, the error rate decreased from 6.50% to 1.03%.

Care Coordination

Annual Tuberculosis Screening Resumes For All Employees

For the last seven years, we have enjoyed the benefit of an environment that was low risk for tuberculosis transmission. Unfortunately, that environment has now changed and our risk has increased, necessitating the resumption of annual tuberculosis screening for all employees.

More information is available on the Occupational Health website at: http://intranet.harthosp.org/hh/dept/41?route=2.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Occupational Health at ext. 5-2175.


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 5 at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center in Avon. 6:30-8 p.m. Presenter: Dr. Michael Selden.

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

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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.


Campus Improvements: Skybridge and Fitness Center To Open March 11

The new Skybridge, which connects the new Hudson Garage across Jefferson Street to the Ingalls Building, and the new Barney Fitness Center, located in the Hudson Garage, will open on March 11.

The Hudson Street Garage opened its doors on Jan. 9, and staff members are being gradually reassigned to park there. The state-of-the-art, nine floor, 1,250 space garage cost $40 million and took one year to build.

When all staff parking has been reassigned, we will see a 16% increase in parking spaces for staff. Lots J and B, and the first two floors of the old employee garage will be converted to patient and visitor parking, resulting in a 35% increase in parking spaces for that group. We will also have ample space for cars that come on campus for special functions. We expect to have 500 to 1,000 open spaces on campus at any given time.


Boisvert Named VP and CFO for Hartford Hospital

Gerald J. Boisvert, CPA, has been appointed vice president and chief financial officer (CFO) for Hartford Hospital, effective April 1. His appointment fills a critical role on our management team.

He has worked at CCMC since 1997. As CCMC’s CFO, Gerry was responsible for overseeing a $70 million investment portfolio, as well as finance and accounting, patient accounts, patient access, health information, purchasing and materials management, environmental services, facilities and food services, community relations, and rehabilitation services.

Boisvert recently completed his 10-year tenure as a member of the University of Saint Joseph Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. Formerly, he served in a volunteer capacity as president of the Southside Institution Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) and chairman of the Learning Corridor Corporation. He earned a bachelor of science in business administration from the Boston University School of Management and is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a Fellow in the Health Care Financial Management Association. He also is a member of several professional organizations.


Library Catalogue Going to Cloud-based OS Known as Electronic Open Stacks; Easier To Use

The Library Catalogue located on the Library Intranet/Internet site has been known as "HartCat" for many years.  On Tuesday (March 5) there will be a new Library Catalogue that is a Cloud based operating system known as "Electronic Open Stacks." 

The Library collection will now be easier to search. All the aspects of the collections of the Health Sciences Libraries will be at your finger tips.  You can access this new catalogue on your Hartford Hospital computer or at home via the "Portal." At present the catalogue is available on your mobile devices through your "Browser" as a web link as long as you can access the "Portal".  There is no "App" available at this time. If you have any questions call/email Sheila Hayes 860-972-2416 shayes01@harthosp.org


Reminder To Medical Staff

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

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

HH In the News

Will Payroll Tax's Bite Slow Spending?

Hartford Courant, Feb. 20

A poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling done a year after the payroll tax was cut by 2 percentage points found that two-thirds of Americans didn't notice when their paychecks grew. Since the cut was designed to get Americans to spend more, will the return to 6.2 percent hurt demand for goods and services?

For those who earn the least, the answer is certainly yes. But since the top 20 percent of earners account for 38 percent of all spending, the effect on the broader economy may not be dire. The top 40 percent of households, combined, accounted for 61 percent of U.S. spending.

Minerva Rosario, who works in the medical records department at Hartford Hospital, said her paychecks are $20 smaller. She said it's definitely caused her to economize more. Rosario, 48, has one adult child still at home. She said she buys things more cheaply, but still, she has had to put off paying a bill since the year began.

Kiomy Martinez, a medical assistant at Hartford Hospital, said since the tax went up, she stopped going out to nice restaurants. Last year, she said, she went out at least once a week to a restaurant with table service. No more. Not only that, but she waits until the 10th to pay her rent, where she was paying by the 4th last year. With about $30 less in each paycheck, she doesn't give her son lunch money anymore. "It's peanut butter and jelly."


Kinship Binds Organ Recipients, Donors' Families

Associated Press, Feb. 22

After Lauren Maston, 33, received her heart transplant at 29, a letter from the donor's mother helped send her into a deep depression. As a secretary in Hartford Hospital's intensive care unit, where she was once a patient waiting for a new heart, Maston has met many transplant recipients who have experienced similar post-transplant depression.

Colleen Brown, who as a transplant nurse practitioner at Hartford Hospital works closely with organ recipients, says such depression among recipients isn't uncommon; they're faced with a number of difficult burdens. "They are faced with reality of death as they're waiting, the fear that the transplant isn't going to happen, and then," she says, "having to live with the reality that someone else has to die to help (them)."

Brown is also intimately familiar with being on the donation end of the procedure. Eleven years ago, her sister Deborah, "Debby," who had previously made known to the family that she wanted to be an organ donor, died in a car accident at the age of 31. That was in 2001, when even though 1968's Uniform Anatomical Gift Act stipulated that "an individual should be able to control the disposition of his or her own body after death," there was not yet an online donor registry that could be accessed by organ procurement organizations (OPOs), such as LifeChoice Donor Services, to confirm the patient's wishes.

"By law, we are supposed to follow that directive," says Hartford Hospital in-house LifeChoice donation coordinator Jami Tyska. "However, the only people who knew about that directive at the time was the DMV (department of motor vehicles)." The culture at the time, Tyska explains, was to defer to the next-of-kin. Since then, however, laws have passed making online donor registries — which automatically include DMV organ donor information — accessible to OPOs, and next-of-kin may not override that first-person consent.

In the HHC System

Hartford HealthCare Chooses 1st Private Equity Manager

Pensions & Investments, Feb. 28

Hartford HealthCare committed $65 million to Neuberger Berman Secondary Opportunities III, the first private equity commitment for the $1.8 billion pension and endowment fund, said David Holmgren, chief investment officer.

The Hartford HealthCare's policy committee approved creating a 6% private equity allocation at a meeting Wednesday. Neuberger Berman's selection came from a shortlist provided by investment consultant Mercer Hammond. A secondary private equity strategy was selected first; commitments to direct limited partnership funds will be considered incrementally over the next four years, Mr. Holmgren said.


With Addition of New Cancer Center, Business Officials Say Health Care Industry Will Drive Area Economy For Decades To Come

New Britain Herald, Feb. 23

In October, the Hospital of Central Connecticut broke ground on a site alongside Interstate 84 on the New Britain/Plainville town line for a new cancer center and medical office complex. As one of the developers for the new medical complex, Michael Tomasso, principal and officer of the Tomasso Group Companies, said it required years of design and research.

“No effort was spared to deliver the finest building and modern technology,” he says.

The design process for the cancer center was focused on healing and the patient experience — from housing all the medical specialties and services under one roof, to using natural materials in the creation of an outdoor healing garden.

“The combination of these things will attract people from greater distances and enhance local economic activity,” he predicts. “I’m not saying we’ll take anything away from local hospitals, but we may draw patients who would be traveling to hospitals in other states. The final product will be that good.”

Steve Hanks. chief medical officer of the HOCC, like Tomasso, heralds the long-term economic benefits of the cancer center.

“[It] will be a significant contributor to local growth and development,” he says. “The cancer center will be our first stake in the ground to create world-class ambulatory space. It lets us import patients as a regional destination center, not just for cancer, but for other medical services.”


Squeezing Hospitals The Real Budget Buster

New Britain Herald, Feb. 20

The major hospitals in our region — as well as those throughout the state — are facing dramatic cutbacks in the governor’s proposed biennial budget. We all know that the state is strapped. A historic tax increase and a long-term no-layoff agreement with state unions got us through the last budget cycle but hamstrings us now, taking away two of the few options for adding revenue and saving real money.

The results are what we see as the gouging of the state’s infrastructure, one of the few institutions that serve rich and poor, young and old, chronically sick and occasionally ill — as well as top the list of contributors to the social and intellectual fabric of the community. Let’s not leave out being the major employer and economic driver, too.

With our local hospitals only receiving 70 percent of their costs now for serving a growing Medicaid population, are they in a position to pick up the tab on closing the budget gap? By receiving less and less of the “hospital tax” created to stabilize their fiscal health, the governor appears to think so. With more people going into the state’s health insurance exchange and private insurance under Obamacare, the assumption is there will be less cost to hospitals. We’re not so sure.

“Shared sacrifice,” we have to assume, now starts in the emergency room. The Hospital of Central Connecticut (New Britain General and Bradley Memorial) and Bristol Hospital will be getting less from the state no matter what the final outcome in the budget debate.


Hospitals Fear State Cuts

Norwich Bulletin, Feb. 20

Over the next two years, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy plans to phase out the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate to hospitals for care of uninsured patients. Local hospital leaders said that by having to unfairly pick up the growing share of those costs, it will come at a major expense — of managing existing facilities and programs, severely hampering the ability to expand and ultimately in patient care.

“Let’s talk about the community impact. You’re talking about real dollars that are going to come out of our ability to provide programs and services, and some of those are not resident — within our hospitals — so the trickle-down effect is going to impact the community as a whole,” said David Whitehead, president and CEO of The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. “You have to look at the facts of this. It’s not just the hospitals.”

But hospital officials say the state’s cut of their reimbursement takes place before the federal health law takes effect. That gives the state extra tax money for the general fund at the expense of the hospitals.

“When we hit 2015, essentially hospitals will be net taxpayers to the state if this budget goes forward,” said Stephen Frayne, vice president of policy for the Connecticut Hospital Association. “We don’t know enough about the rest of the budget and where he’s getting his money from, but at the end of the day if they want to make investments, the hospitals really shouldn’t be the seed money for that.”

Hospitals are already bracing for potential losses of federal funding from sequestration.

For rural hospitals like Windham, the loss of Medicaid reimbursement would be “devastating,” said Cary Trantalis, the facility’s vice president of operations. The state’s only Medicaid-dependent hospital, Trantalis said 60 percent of patients are on the program.


Hospitals Warn Budget Cuts Will Cut Jobs and Services - Maybe Close Doors

The CT Mirror, March 1

For Connecticut hospitals, the good news is their patient caseloads have grown dramatically since 2009. The bad news is those are Medicaid patients, and government payments don't cover the full cost of treatment.

And then there's really bad news: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would cut their state funding by one-fifth over the next two years.

Put it all together, hospitals say, and at best, they will cut jobs and services. At worst, some will shut their doors. And facilities in the state's poor northeastern corner say they are particularly at risk.

"These cuts jeopardize the very existence of Johnson Memorial Hospital," said David Morgan, president and CEO of the Stafford-based acute care center. He testified last week before the Legislature's Appropriations Committee.

"These cuts will clearly put at risk the viability of our hospital and the programs that are meeting the health care needs of those not able to pay for the full cost of their care," said Cary Trantalis, vice president of operations for Windham Hospital. "... Something has to give."

The state's 29 acute-care hospitals insist that when it comes to their relationship with the state, they have been doing the giving. "In short, what started 18 months ago as a scheme to help balance the state budget ... has been converted to an unadulterated tax on hospitals," Stephen Frayne, senior vice president for health policy for the Connecticut Hospital Association, told lawmakers.


Malloy Pulling Rug Out From Under Obamacare

Hartford Courant, Feb. 22

Op-Ed by Dr. Constantine Manthous, associate director of critical care services at the Hospital of Central Connecticut and an associate clinical professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed budget could have a potentially devastating effect on health care in Connecticut. The plan could eviscerate the promise of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, even before it is fully implemented.

This should concern us all. Gov. Malloy has demonstrated his willingness to confront hard situations such massive storms, prolonged economic duress and the Newtown tragedy. But the proposed budget's impact on health care is either extremely cynical or extremely ill-advised (bordering on incompetent).

Bruce Cummings, CEO of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, highlighted the financial numbers in a fiery letter to the New London Day. To summarize, the governor proposes reducing hospital support by $650 million over the next three years. The governor justifies these cuts by presuming that hospitals will enjoy a windfall when the uninsured and under-insured (roughly 500,000 by the governor's estimate) are able to buy insurance through exchanges or receive Medicaid under the health care act.

The governor must be aware that Medicaid only pays a fraction of the true cost of care. So the burdens on hospitals to absorb what will be a 50 percent to 100 percent increase in Medicaid patients will only deepen their debt. Or something will give.

There is already a presumption that patients receiving Medicaid enjoy a reasonable standard of care. That is simply false.


Southington FunFest Promotes Healthy Living

My Record Journal, Feb. 24

Visitors to the annual Healthy Family FunFest were greeted with information, samples and professional advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle Sunday afternoon at the Aqua Turf Club.

The FunFest, sponsored by the Hospital of Central Connecticut and the Southington-Cheshire YMCA, lets people see what kinds of health services are available to them in the area. It also provides fun activities for children and the chance for people to share stories and see how they can better their lives.


Construction, Renovations Complete at Meriden's Venture Academy

My Record Journal, Feb. 25

Students at the middle and high school level today will begin using the new Venture Academy, which underwent six months of construction and renovations. School administrators, city officials and community members gathered Monday at the school, which is located at Rushford Center, to celebrate the completed project, which increased the academy’s size by 3,300 square feet. The academy serves students with emotional and behavioral needs. The project included three new classrooms, a large community room and a cafeteria.

In a deal between the city and Rushford, which runs at the former hospital site on Paddock Avenue, the school district did not have to pay rent on the 6,936 square feet occupied by the Venture Academy. The school system will pay $45,000 a year now for the additional 3,300 square feet, which includes utilities and custodial work.

Health Care News In the Region

Caring for burn patients in CT

News 8, wtnh, Feb. 18

It's the only dedicated 'burn care' facility in Connecticut, and it's where most burn patients are treated.

The Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital was recently renovated, and a lot of the money for the 'state of the art' unit was raised by Connecticut firefighters.


Hospitals Promise United Front Against Malloy Budget Proposal

Hartford Courant, Feb. 25

Warning that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget would devastate community hospitals across the state, leaders of Bristol Hospital on Thursday said they would support a vigorous lobbying campaign against it.

"These are dramatic cuts that no one would imagine imposing on any other industry," board Chairman Marie O'Brien told several Bristol-region state lawmakers at a breakfast meeting. "Would you do this to aerospace and defense? To manufacturing? To financial services?"

The Connecticut Hospital Association contends that Malloy's budget would cripple the state's health care system by sapping $550 million from hospitals over the next two years.

For Bristol Hospital, one of the city's top three employers, that would mean a $3.1 million hit, forcing layoffs and shutting down various programs and services, according to hospital President Kurt Barwis.

The state association made a pitch to the legislature's appropriations committee on Friday. It's not likely to know until May, or after that, how hospitals will fare in the final version of a new two-year budget.

But association representatives insisted that unlike in prior negotiations with state government, hospital executives from across Connecticut are determined to stick together rather than jockeying individually to minimize the damage to their own institutions.


CT Children's Medical Center Awarded Grant to Study Behavioral Pain Intervention For Children With Sickle Cell Disease

Digital Journal, Feb. 28

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has been awarded a $38,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to fund the project titled “Evaluation of Web-Based Management of Adolescent Pain (WebMAP) in Youth with Sickle Cell Disease.”

This study will examine whether an eight-week behavioral pain intervention program administered online via a web series to youth with sickle cell disease and their families can be effective in reducing pain and decreasing health care contacts.

“It is our hope that this project will help us reach our long term goal to develop effective, easily accessible, behavioral pain interventions for youth with sickle cell disease,” explained William Zempsky, MD, head of the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Ultimately, we want to be able to identify ways to reduce the long-term impact of pain on function, quality of life, and health service use in children living with this disease.”

Coming Events

March 7 (Thursday)

Endocrine Intercity Rounds

12 p.m., Gilman Auditorium

Presenter: Dr. Andrea Dunaif, professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Northwestern University.
Topic TBA.


March 7 (Thursday)

Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

8 a.m., Gilman Auditorium

Presenter: Dr. Katherine Upchurch, clinical chief of Rheumatology, UMass Memorial Health Care, Worcester, MA.
Topic: Spondyloarthropathy: What's New in Pathogenesis and Treatment?


March 7 (Thursday)

Neurology Grand Rounds

8 a.m., JB-118

Presenter: Dr. Jeffrey Loeb, Professor of Neurology; Associate Director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University.
Topic: Using Systems Biology To Develop New Treatments for Epilepsy


March 8 (Friday)

Pancreatic Cancer Symposium: Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Advances in Treatment

Farmington Marriott Hotel

Hartford Hospital’s "Pancreatic Cancer Symposium: Prevention, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Advances in Treatment" will be held on Friday, March 8 from 12-6 p.m. at the Farmington Marriott Hotel, 15 Farm Springs Road in Farmington.

This 2nd annual seminar includes a focus on the use of clinical staging, the use of appropriate prognostic indicators and evidence-based national treatment guidelines in treatment planning. Topics of discussion: Epidemiology/Our Experience/EUS/Screening, Genetics, Pathology, Imaging, Management of Cystic Neoplasms, Surgical Updates, Updates in Medical Oncology.

Seminar faculty features 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.

This event is open to all health care providers to earn 5 AMA PRA category 1 credits and 4.83 CEUs.

Cost is $50 for physicians, $20 for non-physicians. Registration is required by March 6. To register, go to harthosp.org/event/796 or contact Health Referral Services 860-545-1888 or Toll Free 1-800-545-7664. For more information, contact Ginelle McPherson at 860-545-4594 or gmcpherson@harthosp.org.


March 15 (Friday)

GI Division National Training Day

The GI Division at Hartford Hospital, CESI, and global health care products leader Covidien will host a national training day on March 15 for the use of radiofrequency ablation to treat disorders of the esophagus, stomach, and rectum. This event will attract gastroenterologists from around the country.

Dr. David Chaletsky, a gastroenterologist from Connecticut GI, PC, will perform live cases during the event, and will co-direct the course with Dr. Charles Lightdale, a nationally-recognized speaker from Columbia University Medical Center.

The GI division at Hartford Hospital is the one of the busiest centers in the country for the treatment of Barrett’s esophagus using radiofrequency ablation technology.


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.


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

Doctors Spotlight Dozens of Overused Tests, Treatments

CBS News, Feb. 21

Don't be afraid to question your doctor and ask, "Do I really need that?" That's the advice from leading medical groups who came up with dozens of tests and treatments they say physicians too often prescribe when they shouldn't.

No worrisome stroke signs? Then don't screen a healthy person for a clogged neck artery, the family physicians say. It could lead to risky surgery for a blockage too small to matter.

Don't routinely try heartburn medicine for infants with reflux, the pediatric hospitalists say. It hasn't been proven to work in babies, and could cause side effects.

Don't try feeding tubes in people with advanced dementia, say the hospice providers. Helping them eat is a better option.

These are examples of potentially needless care that not only can waste money and time, but sometimes can harm, says the warning being issued Thursday from medical specialty groups that represent more than 350,000 doctors. The recommendations are part of a coalition called Choosing Wisely, formed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. Participating medical societies were asked to identify five tests or treatments that are commonly overused in their specialty. The list is aimed at doctors and includes references to published studies. Consumers Reports and other consumer groups are publicizing the information in more patient-friendly terms.


Health World Braces for Sequester

The Hill, Feb. 24

Every corner of the healthcare world has something — and potentially a lot — to lose from the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to hit the government on March 1.

Doctors and hospitals say the sequester’s Medicare cuts will cost their industries more than 200,000 jobs just this year.

A reduction in food inspections could lead to more food-borne illnesses, the White House has warned. And advocates for medical research say their work could be set back a generation.

With the cuts looking increasingly inevitable, healthcare industries that have spent the past year lobbying Congress to cancel the sequester are now turning their attention toward absorbing its cuts.


Panel on Health Care Work Force, Lacking Budget, Is Left Waiting

The New York Times, Feb. 24

One of the biggest threats to the success of President Obama’s health care law comes from shortages of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. But a 15-member commission created to investigate the problem has never met in two and a half years because it has no money from Congress or the administration.

With an aging population and 30 million people expected to gain coverage under Mr. Obama’s health care law, the demand for medical care is expected to increase. But Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, the vice chairman of the panel, the National Health Care Workforce Commission, said, “We are prohibited from meeting and discussing these issues.”

Members of the independent nonpartisan panel said they wanted to address these questions: How many more doctors are needed? What is the right mix of primary care physicians and specialists? Who will care for the millions of people gaining Medicaid coverage next year?

Enhancing The Patient Experience

Conversion to Press Ganey Will Improve Patient Satisfaction MeasuringFichandler

We have a new HHC systemwide agreement with Press Ganey, a world leader in measuring patient satisfaction as a means to improve performance. (We currently use HealthStream.)
Benefits of the conversion will include:
• Largest client base will provide us with new benchmarking capacity
• All system surveys can be coordinated
• Expanded survey will gather more patient satisfaction information

User access was granted Feb. 26. There will be three onsite training sessions with Press Ganey are scheduled during March. Users will be supported by monthly webinars, client networking and chat rooms.

"This is just one of the ways we are working to transform the patient experience," said David Fichandler, director of Patient Experience.

For more information, call Fichandler at 860-545-2450 or email dfichandler@harthosp.org


Kudos to Dr. Jeffrey Cohen

After returning home from a trip in New Hampshire, I was struck with severe abdominal pains just before going to bed. Thinking the cramps were the result of something I had eaten earlier in the day, I assured my wife that they would pass over.

Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with a continual decline in my condition. What I thought was food poisoning turned out to be a ruptured appendix. I was rushed to Hartford Hospital.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen and a team of physicians operated. Unfortunately, the prognosis at this point was not good. My wife and family were told that the following 24-36 hours were critical.

Dr. Cohen explained that while they had literally flushed out my body, there were still toxins in my system threatening to shut down vital organs.

With the prayer support of a number of friends and family members along with the expertise of Dr. Cohen, his team and Hartford Hospital, I survived a very close call with death. After 11 days in the hospital and 2 months of recuperation at home, I was able to return to work.

Thankfully, to this day, there have been no adverse side effects from the surgery.

God chose to spare me and used Hartford Hospital to successfully accomplish the task.

To a person, every doctor, every nurse, every technician and even a signing custodian contributed to my miraculous recovery.


The Seymour Street Journal (SSJ) has been developed to communicate key messages pertinent to our hospital's physicians. It will keep you informed and up-to-date on hospital, network, and health care news in a concise, convenient format. The SSJ will be sent to your preferred e-mail address every other Sunday. Back issues can be viewed here. For any questions or suggestions, please contact Dr. Jeffry Nestler, Medical Staff President, at (860) 836-7313.