From the Offices of Stuart Markowitz, MD and Jeffry Nestler, MD

In This Issue...

October 20, 2013 Edition

Wash In - Wash Out



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HH Facts:

2000 - Dr. Michael Hallisey performed the state’s first carotid angioplasty and stent.

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Top News

Flu Vaccine Update; Deadline is Nov. 8

We have experienced difficulty in getting delivery of our full supply of influenza vaccine. As a result, we are modifying our Universal Influenza Prevention Policy for this year at Hartford Hospital. Here are the changes:

Employed staff and all bedside staff (employed or non-employed) who have not received exemptions, must receive a flu shot by Nov. 8 as planned. Nothing has changed for these individuals. We will provide flu shots to this group.

For now, we will not provide flu shots to non-employed individuals, including students, volunteers and licensed independent practitioners – except those who provide bedside care. As a result, these individuals will not have to meet the Nov. 8 deadline.

Those without exemptions who are not vaccinated will have to use a mask in accordance with our policy, which calls for masking during flu season in areas that may be in use by patients, which includes lobbies, etc. (Frequently Asked Questions related to Universal Influenza Policy may be found here:

We strongly encourage everyone in the above group to receive flu shots in the community (family physician, pharmacy, etc.) and to supply Occupational Health with proof of vaccination.

After Nov. 8, we will assess our supply and may offer flu shots to non-employed individuals.

In the past, there have been problems with the manufacture and distribution of flu vaccine, which is why we address possible shortages in our policy. Universal Influenza Prevention is about supporting our value of safety. We are using our current supply to immunize employees and bedside staff to do everything possible to protect our patients from the dangers of influenza.


JohnsonMandatory Benefits Enrollment Nov. 4-15

Employed physicians who want to receive HHC employee benefits in 2014 must enroll during open enrollment Nov. 4-15.

If you do not enroll at this time, you will not receive benefits in 2014.

Visit to learn more.





Remind a Colleague: Wash In, Wash Out

All health care workers and patients should feel comfortable reminding any other health care worker to sanitize regardless of their role. This should always be done in a courteous and constructive manner. All health care workers should respond courteously and gratefully when reminded.

If you remind another health care worker to sanitize, and he or she responds with irritation or hostility, please notify their department chief, Dr. Jamie Roche or Dr. Jack Ross, who will communicate with them to prevent recurrences.


HH Cosponsors Medical Seminar for Runners Before Hartford Marathon

Thousands of runners toed the line on October 12, for the 20th running of the ING Hartford Marathon. New this year was a collaboration between the Hartford Marathon Foundation, Hartford Hospital, and University of Hartford to put on the first annual “Medical Seminar for Runners.” Athletes who attended the symposium received up-to-date information on running, marathons, health and nutrition.

The collaborative symposium was staged at The Hartford Club on Friday afternoon, immediately preceding the pre-race pasta dinner. Speakers included Dr. Paul Thompson, chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital; Dr. Beth Parker of Hartford Hospital and the University of Hartford, Dr. Doug Casa of the Korey Stringer Institute at University of Connecticut, and Dr. Rich Wood of Springfield College.

Topics included a presentation of research conducted at the 2010 and 2011 Boston Marathons (Dr. Parker), heat stroke and treatment of heat-related illnesses at medical tents (Dr. Casa), proper nutrition for training, racing and recovery (Dr. Wood), and the influence of chronic physical activity on heart health (Dr. Thompson). The symposium was extremely well-received, and the three sponsors are already discussing plans for the second annual symposium in 2014.


Finances for September: Favorable

Inpatient volumes based on discharges for the month of September were 2.4% above budget.  The comparison to the prior year shows September of 2013 discharges, approximately 4.8% above the prior year.  Outpatient revenues exceeded budget by approximately 2.5% for the month.  The favorable outpatient revenue variance was driven by Emergency services, Perioperative services, Women’s Health Services and the Eye Surgery Center.               

Through end of fiscal year 2013, inpatient discharges were 0.5% greater than budget and 1.4% greater than the prior fiscal year.  Outpatient revenues were 1.6% above budget for the fiscal year ending 2013.  The favorable outpatient revenue variances for the year were in Emergency services, Perioperative services, Radiation /Oncology and Rehabilitation services.


Tiger Text (secure HIPAA compliant text app) To Be Provided Free For All Providers

Physicians often use their smartphone’s text messaging capabilities to support clinical communications with colleagues, care team members, medical staff and patients. However, the basic SMS messaging applications pre-loaded on most smartphones today are neither secure nor HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. Clinicians exchanging patient-related text messages over a public Wi-Fi or cellular connection create significant security risks and compliance problems for the hospital.

We will provide (free of charge) an encrypted HIPAA compliant text messaging app called Tiger Text for all physicians, APRNs, PAs, and fellows in the HHC system. TigerText enables physicians to use their Smartphones, tablets and laptops to securely send and receive HIPAA compliant text messages with colleagues, care team members, administrative staff and patients.

A pilot test of Tiger Text has been completed at MidState Medical Center, with very positive response from physicians.

We will be deploying TigerText across the system in October and November, with extensive vendor support and assistance. Please watch for more information.


First Press Ganey User Group Meeting in Southern New England Held at HH

Press Ganey held the inaugural Connecticut/Southern New England User Group meeting at Hartford Hospital on Oct. 9. Participants were treated to a tour of CESI.


Ribbon Cutting on Oct. 30 for Olin Center Annex

A ribbon cutting for the opening of the Olin Center Annex and the 10-year anniversary of the Olin Center will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 3 p.m. Remarks and refreshments will take place in the Staunton Williams Auditorium at the Institute of Living followed by a ribbon cutting at the Olin Center.


Comprehensive Epilepsy Center Anniversary Open House

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is conducting an open house to celebrate its one year anniversary on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in the epilepsy conference room on Center 11. Come and learn more about epilepsy and our 6 bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Beverages and snacks will be served.


HH, PT and the NFL

On September 27, Dr. Paul D. Thompson, chief of Cardiology at Hartford Hospital, was one of four cardiologists invited by the National Football League to discuss strategies to reduce the risk of cardiac disease and exercise-related cardiac events in present and former NFL players.


Dr. Len Jacobs Works With National Collaborative on Improving Survivability from Mass Casualty Shootings

Dr. Lenworth M. Jacobs, vice-president of academic affairs and chief academic officer and director, Trauma Institute at Hartford Hospital, moderated a panel discussion called "Mass-Casualty Shootings: Saving the Patients," on Oct. 9 during the Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago.

Dr. Jacobs told the gathering that the mass-casualty event on December 14, 2012, that left 26 dead at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, served as a call to action for him, and he will never forget the autopsies he reviewed of children killed there by high-power military bullets. After that event, the ACS Board of Regents formed a committee to address effective responses to mass-casualty events with a goal of improving patient survival.

The Joint Committee to Create a National Policy to Enhance Survivability from Mass Casualty Shooting Events, chaired by Dr. Jacobs, had issued recommendations that are called the Hartford Consensus in April, which concluded that the leading cause of preventable death in these incidents was uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage; and the Hartford Consensus II in July, which recommended additional training, education, and equipment for the public – much like CPR training – since uninjured bystanders or minimally injured victims would already be on the scene and could respond right away.

“With the recent incidents at the Navy Yard (Washington, DC) and Westgate Mall (Nairobi, Kenya), this topic is very much top of mind,” said Dr. Jacobs. “In one case, emergency responders were delayed 40 minutes because law enforcement didn’t want to put them in danger. Most of these shooting events are over in 15 minutes and people can bleed to death within five minutes from these severe injuries. Responses to save victims have to be immediate, fully orchestrated and ready to go, day or night, in any city in the U.S.” Dr. Jacobs continued, “This is everyone’s responsibility and everyone – from law enforcement to the public – has to be part of the solution.”


Dr. Mark Shekhman To Be Honored by Arthritis Foundation

Dr. Mark Shekhman, co-director of the Joint Center, will be honored on Friday at the Third Annual "Docs, Dine & Wine" Physicians' Award put on by the Arthritis Foundation. The event will feature a celebrity chef dinner at The Riverview in Simsbury.

Dr. Jonathan Dixon, director of the section of Rheumatology, is medical co-chair of the event.

Other honorees are Dr. Michael Joyce from Saint Francis Care, and Dr. Carl Nissen from CCMC.

For sponsorship, ticket or donation information, contact Bob Smith at or call 860.563.1177or toll free: 800.541-8350; or Michael Guinan at or 860.985.0087.


Dr. Orlando Kirton Selected as MCCM

Dr. Orlando Kirton, director of Surgery, was selected as Master of Critical Care Medicine (MCCM) by the Council of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. His selection as an MCCM reflects his status as a long-standing Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine (FCCM) for the past five years based on his achievements as a prominent and distinguished leader of national and international stature, his personal character, leadership, eminence in clinical practice, outstanding contributions to research and education in critical care and exemplary contributions to SCCM, ACCM and the field of critical care in its broadest sense.

The designation of MCCM will be conferred upon him at the combined American College of Critical Care Medicine Convocation/Society of Critical Care Medicine Awards Presentation in conjunction with the SCCM 43rd Critical Care Congress, on January 11, 2014, in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, San Francisco, California.


Drs. Vergara and Ruaño To Present at National Primary Care Week Events

National Primary Care Week (Oct. 21-25) is a celebration of the contributions of primary care to the health of the nation. Lunch and Learn sessions will be held at the UConn Health Center all week. (More information at

Dr. Cunegundo Vergara, director of Ambulatory Services at Hartford Hospital will present at the Lunch and Learn session on Monday, October 21, discussing "Interprofessional Health Care Team in Action: Roles of Health Care Providers in a Medical Home."

Dr. Gualberto Ruaño, director of the Genetics Research Center at Hartford Hospital, will present at the Friday, October 25 session, and discuss "Personalized Medicine: Accountable Genetic Care and Treatment to Impact Health Care Outcomes.”


Physicians From Gastroenterology Present at ACG Annual Meeting in San Diego

Physicians from Connecticut GI and the Hartford Hospital Gastroenterology Division had six poster/abstracts at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, CA last week:

1)The Performance of Second-line Integrated Molecular Profiling Compared to Common, First-line Testing Risk Features in Diagnosing and Predicting Benign and Malignant Pancreatic Lesions: Interim Results from an Outcome-based Registry in 422 Patients
Mohammad Al-Haddad, MD,1 Christian Schmidt, MD,1 Marc Catalano, MD,2 Nadim Haddad, MD,3 Nidhi Malhotra, MD,3 Howard Mertz, MD,4 Ali Siddiqui, MD,5 Thomas Kowalski, MD,5 Sandeep Patel, DO,6 Emuejevoke Okoh, MD,6 Mark Lybik, MD,7 Damien Mallat, MD,8 Michael Karasik, MD,9 Colin Swales, MD,9 Jeffrey Linder, MD,10 Brendan Corcoran, BS,11 Eric Ellsworth, MS,11 Sara Jackson, PhD,11 Sydney Finkelstein, MD11. 1. Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN; 2. St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI; 3. Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 4. Nashville GI Associates, Nashville, TN; 5. Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA; 6. University of Texas San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; 7. Northside Gastroenterology, Indianapolis, IN; 8. Premier Gastroenterology of Texas, Dallas, TX; 9. Connecticut GI, PC, Hartford, CT; 10. Digestive Health Associates of Texas, Dallas, TX; 11. RedPath Integrated Pathology, Pittsburgh, PA.

2) Diastolic Dysfunction Does Not Impact the Outcome of Abdominal Surgery in Patients with Chronic Liver Disease
Shounak Majumder, MD,1 David Silverman, MD,3 Vimal Rabdiya, MD,3 Priti Mehla, MD,1 Colin Swales, MD2. 1. Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT; 2. Department of Gastroenterology, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT; 3. Department of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT.

3) Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis Caused by an Annular Pancreas in Adults: A Therapeutic Dilemma
Shounak Majumder, MD,1 Nikhil Kapila, MD,1 Colin Swales, MD2. 1. Internal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT; 2. Hartford Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology, Hartford, CT.

4) Spontaneous Tumor Rupture as the Initial Manifestation of Primary Hepatic Leiomyosarcoma (LMS)
Bhavtosh Dedania, MBBSB, MD,1 Shounak Majumder, MBBS, MD,1 Houman Rezaizadeh, MD,1 Michael Einstein, MD2. 1. University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT; 2. Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT.

5) Treatment of Hepatitis C in Dialysis Patients with Triple Therapy
Michael Einstein, MD. Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT.

6) Clinical Validity of Integrated Molecular Profiling in Diagnosing Pancreatic Lesions: Interim Results (N=422) of an Outcomes-based Registry
Marc Catalano, MD,1 Mohammad Al-Haddad, MD,2 Christian Schmidt, MD,2 Nadim Haddad, MD,3 Nidhi Malhotra, MD,3 Howard Mertz, MD,4 Ali Siddiqui, MD,5 Thomas Kowalski, MD,5 Sandeep Patel, DO,6 Nick Martinez, MD,6 Mark Lybik, MD,7 Damien Mallat, MD,8 Michael Karasik, MD,9 Michael Golioto, MD,9 Jeffrey Linder, MD,10 Brendan Corcoran, BS,11 Eric Ellsworth, MS,11 Sara Jackson, PhD,11 Sydney Finkelstein, MD11. 1. St. Luke’s Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI; 2. Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN; 3. Georgetown University, Washington, DC; 4. Nashville GI Specialists, Nashville, TN; 5. Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA; 6. University of Texas San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; 7. Northside Gastroenterology, Indianapolis, IN; 8. Premier Gastroenterology of Texas, Dallas, TX; 9. Connecticut GI, PC, Hartford, CT; 10. Digestive Health Associates of Texas, Dallas, TX; 11. RedPath Integrated Pathology, Pittsburgh, PA.

Research and Academics

Drs. Thompson, Kluger et al Study Patients with Unexplained Syncope

Dr. Paul D. Thompson, chief of cardiology; Dr. Jeffrey Kluger, head of the arrhythmia service, Dr. Shishir Mathur, cardiology fellow; Danette Guertin, APRN, of the arrhythmia service, and Craig I. Coleman, Pharm D, head of the pharmacy research unit, recently analyzed their clinical database of 1,336 patients with recurrent unexplained syncope.

Patients who reported higher levels of physical activity were more likely to have an abnormal tilt table result than sedentary individuals. The authors concluded that exercise training may impair reflexes that control blood pressure increasing the risk that physically active people will experience fainting spells.

The study was published in the August edition of Connecticut Medicine.


7th Annual Fred Cohen Symposium: 
“Brain Tumors-Standard Therapy and Why We Need a Bigger Boat:  Tumor Morphology or Molecular Array”

Hartford Hospital special Grand Rounds is the 7th Annual Cohen Symposium: “Brain Tumors-Standard Therapy and Why We Need a Bigger Boat:  Tumor Morphology or Molecular Array,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 1, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in JB-118.

Speaker will be Dr. Craig Patrick Nolan, neurologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, NY.

Target audience includes neurologists, neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, APRNs, oncology nurses, geriatric specialty  nurses, clinical nurse specialists, physician assistants, pathologists, pharmacists, oncology surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, hospitalists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists and dietitians, psychologists, psychiatrists, psycho-oncologists, and other interested oncology clinicians and specialists.

For more information, contact Sandi Beggs at ext. 5-2309 or


Trauma After Care Program's Annual Gathering

The Trauma After Care Program is sponsoring its Annual Gathering, where bereaved families, volunteers, and hospital staff come together to learn about grief and bereavement. It will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center.

It is a special time for anyone to remember loved ones who have died and to honor them by learning about ways of coping that might be helpful during the holiday season. 

This year the speaker is Karen Carney, RN, LCSW, FT, author of the Barklay and Eve Children’s Books She is the Bereavement Program director at the D’Esopo’s A Safe Place to Grieve Foundation and Resource Center in Wethersfield. 

Space is limited and pre-registration is required by Oct. 28.  Please RSVP to Heide Weise at or call 860-972-5418.


Dr. Edmond Cronin Publishes Article in Journal of American College of Cardiology

Dr. Edmond Cronin, attending electrophysiologist, published an article in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology called "Persistence of Atrial Septal Defect After Cryoballoon Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation." Read the article here.

Dr. Cronin, who recently joined the Department of Electrophysiology from Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues examined whether a residual atrial septal defect (ASD) was apparent at follow-up in patients who had undergone cryoballoon ablation of atrial fibrillation. Of 42 patients undergoing first cryoballoon ablation and with available pre- and post-procedure transthoracic echocardiograms, 7 (16.1%) had persistent ASD at 4 months follow-up compared with 1 (2.4%) of matched patients treated with radiofrequency ablation. The authors speculate that these numbers would likely be higher with more sensitive imaging techniques. Two patients in the cryoballoon group experienced symptoms or signs during follow-up although causality could not be established in either case. The authors conclude that caution should be exercised with larger transseptal sheaths and that further study is necessary to determine the clinical significance of these residual ASDs.

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. Should you have any comments or suggestions along the way, please share them with us.

- Dr. Stuart Markowitz, senior vice president at Hartford HealthCare and president of the Hartford Region


Jack is Back!

Dr. Jack Greene, who is well known to Hartford Hospital, is the new Hartford HealthCare regional vice president of Medical Affairs for the Hartford Region and Hartford Hospital.

Jack has been part of the Hartford Hospital staff since beginning his residency here in 1983. He is board certified in Ob-Gyn and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his clinical, quality and teaching performance over the years.  Most recently he assumed the position of chief medical officer at Midstate Medical Center.

"I am pleased that Jack is able to return to Hartford Hospital to work with all our leadership teams and clinical practices to continue to advance the mission and vision for the Hartford region," said Dr. Stuart Markowitz. "Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Jack back to Hartford Hospital.  He will be a fantastic addition to our team."

Enhancing The Patient Experience

Voices of Our Patients: Kudos To Dr. D'Andrea Joseph

Dear Dr. Joseph,

I am writing this on behalf of my children and myself. We wish to thank you and your great “Brain Trauma Team.” You have done a super job at saving the life of my son, Larry Bodian. Thanks to you he is coming along and improving daily if not hourly. The staff at Hartford Hospital’s trauma floor was great also, so caring and courteous. I am sure you are getting his report as the Gaylord group are doing wonders also. Thank you again, and please take care of your precious hands.

All our best,

Millie Bodian Sobel
Caryn Woodward
Keith Bodian and Richard Bodian

Operational Update

Medical Staff Elections Nov. 21

There are eight open positions in medical staff leadership – four officers: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary - and four at-large members of the Medical Executive Committee. The election will take place November 21.



Retirement Reception for Dr. Theodore Mucha

There will be a retirement reception for Dr. Theodore F. Mucha on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the IOL in the Hartford Room. Dr. Mucha, medical director at the Institute of Living, is retiring after 48 years of distinguished service

A psychiatrist with a specialty in psychoanalysis, Dr. Mucha is a revered teacher who has been a cornerstone of the psychotherapy training program for the IOL residents throughout his career.


Make Your Pledge to The Medical Staff Annual Fund

Join your colleagues and make your Annual Campaign gift or pledge by September 30 and continue keeping Hartford Hospital the very best in the region. One hundred percent of your donation goes to programs and services that make a difference for our patients and the community we serve.

Dr. Sharon Diamen is the chair of the Medical Staff Annual Campaign. To date, 155 physicians have contributed nearly $100,000 to the Annual Campaign.

Your gift can be directed to an established department fund or to the Medical Staff Annual Fund, which this year has provided support so far to the Institute of Living (through Behavioral Health Case Management), the Health Assistance Intervention Education Network (HAVEN), the CT Medical Society Medical Malpractice Campaign, Hartford Hospital's Outpatient Transplant Center, and to medical education through a summer pre-med research program.

For more information, please contact Mary Parola in Fund Development at 860-545-2322 or You can also make your gift online at


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 Genetics Of Compulsive Hoarding

Psych Central

People who compulsively acquire and hoard clutter to the extent that it impairs their daily activities are labeled “compulsive hoarders.” David F. Tolin, Ph.D., founder of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living in Hartford, said that “for a condition like compulsive hoarding to come about you probably have to have a person who has a certain set of inherited characteristics. But biology is not destiny. Just because somebody has a genetic predisposition to develop a certain behavioral condition, that doesn’t mean they are doomed.”


Psychiatrist Talks About Mental Health in Wake of DC Police Chase, Shooting

FoxCT, Sept. 24

Dr. Harold Schwartz of the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital talks about the reports that Miriam Carey, the woman who led officers on a chase in Washington, D.C. before she was killed by police gunfire, was taking antidepressant medications.

Carey’s mother and one of her sisters, according to a broadcast interview and reports, said she had suffered from postpartum depression with psychosis, though the sister told CNN Carey was beginning to taper down the medication she was taking.


OR & L Construction Participates in Hartford Hospital Family Health Center Grand Opening

Hartford Courant, Oct. 4

O,R&L Construction participated as design builder at the grand opening for the new Hartford Hospital Family Health Center, 1559 Sullivan Ave., in South Windsor, on Sept. 28. The grand opening was a family event to introduce the new health center to the community. Jeffrey Flaks, Hartford Hospital's CEO, Dr. Kent Stahl, CEO of Hartford Healthcare Medical Group and Thomas Delnicki, South Windsor's mayor, presented the new center to the community and lead the ribbon cutting ceremony. The Center's physicians and other staff members also took part in the ribbon cutting. O,R&L was the design builder for this 16,000 square foot two story, medical office building, which is a LEED registered project.

This new medical office building was designed, constructed and will be maintained sustainably. Through strict specifications and documentation this building respects the site and the community, reduces energy and water use, incorporates certified, regional and recycled materials and maintains healthy indoor air quality.

The Hartford Hospital Family Health Center provides primary and urgent care to all ages, seven days a week. This is the first environmentally friendly building for Hartford Hospital, which will set the standard for future buildings. The building is also one of the first LEED registered medical centers in the state of Connecticut. For more information, visit


Risk for Heart Problems in Breast Cancer Patients

WTNH, Oct. 17

There is a risk of a heart condition among breast cancer patients. Certain drug therapies, along with radiation, can increase the risk of damaging the heart muscle. While the risk is small, it's alarming enough that doctors are teaming up to prevent it from happening. Studies show Herceptin and Andriamycin that in some women can increase the risk of weakening the heart.

"Any woman who is getting doxorubicin or andriamycin gets some form of heart imaging before they start," said Dr. Patricia DeFusco, a breast surgeon at Hartford Hospital.

"If a woman has had a significant coronary disease or in the past and so she has some sort of compromise in the heart or in somen who are older who may have more risk -- those are the women we really have to think very carefully about the risk benefit of using the medication," said DeFusco.

The risk is small, 3 to 5 percent in the first year of treatment, but she says it's still alarming.

In the HHC System

Health Changes And Their Impact At MidState Medical Center

My Record Journal, Oct. 7

Talk about money problems. How about the $250 million budget that confronts MidState Medical Center annually? Addressing 72 Y’s Men of Meriden on Tuesday, Sept. 24, Lucille Janatka, president and CEO of MidState, divulged a few elements of the ever changing fiscal challenge that the medical complex faces.

Janatka, who arrived at MidState in 1999, noted that the United States spends more per capita on health care than any other developed nation, and yet is in the bottom quartile of outcomes. And today, “there’s no money; the system is not sustainable,” she commented. Both the federal and state governments have responded by reducing reimbursements to hospitals. Medicare, which provides 55 percent of MidState’s revenue, only actually pays 90 percent for the care it “covers”. And it’s worse with the state, whose Medicaid payments provide 20 percent of the revenue, but which only cover 65 percent of the actual costs of delivering that care.

Janatka discussed the daunting challenge of maintaining a three to four percent profit margin, necessary in a not-for-profit organization such as MidState in order to provide for ongoing growth and modernization. Cost reductions are critical. Affiliation with Hartford HealthCare permits cost savings via bulk purchases of supplies and less expensive Information Technology services. Employee reductions have been accomplished both through attrition and by querying employees as to their suggestions for improving efficiency.


Public Invited To Youth Mental Health Forum

Hartford Courant, Oct. 17

Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare partner, working with the Glastonbury Alcohol & Drug Council, is sponsoring a public forum on youth and mental health. The forum takes place on Oct. 23, from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at the Riverfront Community Center, 300 Welles St., Glastonbury. This event is free and open to the public.

"It is important to discuss openly and honestly the mental health issues that affect young people," said Rushford President & CEO Jeff Walter. "We invite participation from parents and grandparents, teachers and other school staff, coaches, healthcare providers and caregivers, social workers, parole and public safety officers - anyone with an interest in the mental well-being of children, adolescents and young adults."


Parents Learn About Challenges of Understanding Video Games

Reminder News, Oct. 16

South Windsor Youth and Family Services recently sponsored an informational night about video gaming and the effects it has on the today's children and teens. The event took place at the Timothy Edwards Middle School on Oct. 10.

Paul Weigle, M.D., currently an adolescent psychiatrist at Natchaug Hospital, has spent a great deal of time studying the effects that video games have on the developing mind. Weigle also provides psychiatric care for children and teens at the Joshua Center Partial Hospital Programs in Mansfield and Old Saybrook and lends his expertise to Connecticut schools by way of psychiatric consultations.

According to Weigle, boys are much more likely to become addicted to video games than girls. “Currently, 8.5 percent of the United States' youths are addicted to video games,” said Weigle. “Of that, the rate of boys being addicted is two and a half times greater than that of girls. Research has shown that the typical video addict experiences low self-esteem, has poor social skills or is anti-social and doesn’t have a strong parental influence. These are factors that seem true to all countries, not just the United States.”

Health Care News In the Region

As Merger Falters, St. Francis Plots Future

Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 7

It's not easy getting a hospital merger done these days. Just ask St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center CEO Chris Dadlez. In January, Dadlez expressed optimism after St. Francis' parent signed a letter of intent to pursue a merger with a Missouri-based, for-profit hospital operator.

The union, Dadlez said at the time, would allow the hospital to build a statewide, integrated healthcare delivery system. Privately, officials from both sides also hoped to leverage the deal to make another major acquisition in Connecticut.

The merger was complex: It would have required St. Francis to convert from a nonprofit to for-profit entity, a model not favored in Connecticut.

By June, the deal with Ascension Health Care Network (ACHN), a joint venture between Missouri's Ascension Health and New York private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, was dead. What happened?

Property taxes and state budget cuts made it difficult to get the numbers to work, Dadlez said. Pension issues also played a role, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Instead of forcing a bad deal, St. Francis decided to move in another direction.

"When ACHN discussions dissolved we took a deep breath and needed to rethink the marketplace," Dadlez said in a recent interview.


Bristol Hospital May Cut Ties to United Healthcare

Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 3

Bristol Hospital said it may cut ties to United Healthcare following extensive contract negotiations.

The hospital said United's health plan doesn't provide adequate reimbursement for treatments its staff provides. It's urging patients to call United to advocate for a contract agreement. The current contract expires Nov. 18.

George Eighmy, CFO at the hospital, called the move a difficult decision.

"We understand and recognize that as part of fulfilling this mission we need to participate with health insurance companies providing coverage throughout the communities we serve," Eighmy said in a statement. "But after months of negotiating with United Healthcare, we were unable to reach a fair and equitable agreement. The rates that were proposed by the Bristol Hospital were consistent with those paid by other health plans."

United released a statement Thursday reading: "United Healthcare is committed to renewing our contract with Bristol Hospital and is actively negotiating a new agreement to allow our members continued access to its facilities and physicians without placing an unfair economic burden on local consumers and businesses."

Before and beyond Nov. 18, emergency care at Bristol will continue to be covered under terms of United's member agreements, according to the hospital.

Bristol said it maintains contracts with Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, and ConnectiCare.


Doctors, Patients Scramble To Determine Effects Of United Healthcare's Smaller Network

Hartford Courant, Oct. 9

Doctors, patients and Medicare advocates scrambled on Wednesday to determine how they are affected by UnitedHealthcare's decision to eliminate thousands of doctors from its physician network for Medicare Advantage next year.

UnitedHealthcare plans to eliminate 810 primary-care physicians and 1,440 specialists from its Medicare Advantage network in Connecticut next year, the association said. The insurer would not confirm that number Wednesday but said that, in 2014, it will have at least 1,500 primary-care physicians and more than 4,000 specialists in the network. "We can tell by the doctors that are contacting us, these are the doctors who are doing, well, kidney dialysis, retina detachments," Thompson said. "These are the doctors who will take the most difficult patients."

"These patients who only have a few months to live, they've got to change their doctor when they're in the last six months of their life? I mean that's how cold and devastating this is," Thompson said.

A UnitedHealthcare executive denied that the insurer was targeting doctors who are most expensive to the system.


Quinnipiac Med Signs Another Hospital Partner

Hartford Business Journal, Oct. 16

Quinnipiac University's recently launched medical school has signed a five-year clinical affiliation agreement with Griffin Hospital in Derby, the school announced.

The Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine's students will complete supervised clinical rotations at Griffin starting in 2015, and Griffin doctors will be named clinical professors at the school.

The fledgling school has now inked similar deals with a handful of hospitals, including principal clinical partner St. Vincent's Medical Center of Bridgeport, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Waterbury Hospital and Jewish Senior Services, The Jewish Home of Fairfield. Hartford Hospital is a research partner of the medical school.

Griffin is already a clinical site for students from the Quinnipiac's health sciences and nursing schools.

Hot Topics in Health Care

Physicians Reach Quality-Improvement Goals at Mass. General With the Help of Incentives

Medical News Today, Oct. 9

A program offering modest financial incentives to salaried Massachusetts General Hospital-affiliated physicians who achieve specific quality improvement targets has helped the organization meet goals related to the adoption of electronic health technology, improved quality and efficiency, and communication with patients and other providers. In their report in the October issue of Health Affairs, leaders of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO) describe results of the first six years of the MGPO Quality Incentive Program.


HIPAA Impedes the Sharing of Medical Information

The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 17

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was a well-intentioned law designed to protect patients from having their health information disseminated without their approval, but it also impedes the sharing of information among those with the same health afflictions.


A Patient's Trust In a Doctor Could Hinge on Eye Contact

Medical News Today, Oct. 17

Doctors who make a lot of eye contact are viewed as more likable and empathetic by patients, according to a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Patients also gave doctors higher empathy scores when their total visit length was longer and when doctors engaged in a few "social touches" such as a handshake or pat on the back. However, more than three social touches in one visit decreased empathy scores. The researchers said it's possible that too many social touches from a doctor may seem forced and not genuine to a patient.

The study, published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine, analyzed videotaped doctors' visits and reinforces the notion that nonverbal social communication is an important part of doctor/patient relationships that should be thoughtfully managed, especially as more technology and "screen time" is introduced into doctors' offices.

Coming Events

Oct. 24 (Thursday)

Retirement reception for Dr. Theodore F. Mucha, IOL Medical Director

IOL in the Hartford Room, 2-5 p.m.

There will be a retirement reception for Dr. Theodore F. Mucha, medical director at the Institute of Living, on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 2-5 p.m. at the IOL in the Hartford Room. Dr. Mucha is retiring after 48 years of distinguished service. A psychiatrist with a specialty in psychoanalysis, Dr. Mucha is a revered teacher who has been a cornerstone of the psychotherapy training program for the IOL residents throughout his career.


November 1 (Friday)

7th Annual Cohen Symposium: “Brain Tumors-Standard Therapy and Why We Need a Bigger Boat:  Tumor Morphology or Molecular Array”

JB-118, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Hartford Hospital special Grand Rounds is the 7th Annual Cohen Symposium: “Brain Tumors-Standard Therapy and Why We Need a Bigger Boat:  Tumor Morphology or Molecular Array,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 1, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in JB-118. Speaker will be Dr. Craig Patrick Nolan, neurologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, NY.

For more information, contact Sandi Beggs at ext. 5-2309 or

7th Annual Cohen Symposium: “Living With Brain Tumors-Meeting the Challenges”

ERC, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Free educational seminar for patients and families to learn about living with a brain tumor will be held Friday, Nov. 1,from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the ERC.

Speaker will be Dr. Craig Patrick Nolan, a neurologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Hartford Hospital oncology speakers will address advanced care planning, Decadron side effects, and in addition, various empowerment break-out sessions will be held after lunch.

Registration is required; call the Health Referral Service at 860-545-1888. For more information, contact Sandi Beggs at ext. 5-2309 or



November 1 (Friday)

Scientific And Annual Meeting of the CT Chapter of the American College of Surgeons

Marriott Hotel in Farmington, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

The Scientific And Annual Meeting of the CT Chapter of the American College of Surgeons will be held Friday, Nov. 1 from 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel in Farmington. Special guest speaker will be Dr. Clifford Ko, director of the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care at the American College of Surgeons. There will be sessions for attending physicians and residents. Registration is required, and fees range from $60-$109. For more information, please call 860-679-3467.


November 3 (Sunday)

Trauma After Care Program's Annual Gathering

Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center, 2-4 p.m.

The Trauma After Care Program is sponsoring its Annual Gathering, where bereaved families, volunteers, and hospital staff come together to learn about grief and bereavement. It will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3 from 2-4 p.m. at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center.


Nov. 5 (Tuesday)

Update in Urology and Kidney Disease for the PCP

5-8 p.m.

An education event for primary care physicians on updates in the care of the patient with urologic conditions or kidney disease.

Dinner and CME provided. No charge to attend. Angelo's on Main-Rockledge in West Hartford.

Speakers will be urologists and nephrologists from the Tallwood Urology and Kidney Institute.

Registration link.


Nov. 7 (Thursday)

8th Annual Interdisciplinary Transplant Symposium

Sheraton Hartford South Hotel in Rocky Hill, 7:45 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Transplant Symposium provides an opportunity for experts in the fields of kidney, liver and heart transplantation to present cutting-edge information to individuals working with transplant recipients and living donors. It also provides an opportunity for individuals interested in transplantation to learn more about this dynamic field.

Registration fees: (Early bird discount through September 30):

  • Hartford HealthCare Employees: $50 ($75 after Oct. 1)
  • Non-Hartford HealthCare Employees: $75 ($100 after Oct. 1)
  • Students: $25 ($50 after Oct. 1)

Participants paying the $100 registration fee may register online at All others should call the Health Referral Service at 860-545-1888 or toll-free 800-545-7664.

For more information, contact Eliz Valentin, Transplant Program, at or 860-972-4339.


Nov. 8 (Friday)

Deadline to get flu shots


Nov. 11 (Monday)

Technical Writing for Better Documentation and Communication

5-8 p.m.

Technical Writing for Better Documentation and Communication class will be held Monday, Nov. 11 from 2 – 4p.m. in ERC 3rd floor in the Library Classroom. It is the last offering for 2013.

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). Two CME credits are offered for this class. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

To register call/email Sheila Hayes at 860-972-2416 or


November 21 (Thursday)

Annual Meeting of the Hartford Hospital Corporators

Heublein Hall, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m.



November 21 (Thursday)

Semi-Annual Meeting of Medical Staff

Gilman Auditorium, 6:45 a.m.



January 25, 2014 (Saturday)

Black & Red

Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, 6 p.m.

Featuring the music of Barenaked Ladies.




For more coming events, click here.

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