Annual Meeting

2017 CHA Annual Meeting

Connecticut Hospitals: Building a Healthier Connecticut

The Connecticut Hospital Association welcomed more than 550 hospital CEOs, senior hospital administrators, physicians, and other key decision makers, along with award winners who improved the lives of patients and advocated for hospitals this year, to its 99th Annual Meeting on June 14, 2017.

CHA Board Chairman David Whitehead, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Hartford HealthCare, said that Connecticut hospitals have continued to provide excellent care even as they marshalled advocacy efforts to contest cuts and taxes that affect hospitals, and he urged hospital leaders to “double down” on their commitment to protect healthcare.

“Building a healthier Connecticut means having a quality healthcare system that endures. That takes vision, skill, and backbone. We have proven that we have what it takes,” said Mr. Whitehead. “Our strength comes from our unity. In the face of challenges both here in Connecticut and on the national level, we have committed ourselves to leading the way, standing together, and speaking with one voice.”

As hospitals have come together to lead the fight against state budget policies that harm patients, Mr. Whitehead added, they have been joined by tens of thousands of grassroots supporters. He then introduced Janie Mezzatesta, a cardiac nurse at Griffin Hospital for nearly 40 years who, in 2015, developed cellulitis on her right leg from a bug bite and eventually had three of her limbs amputated.

Ms. Mezzatesta, who also spoke in support of hospitals at a press conference at the state Capitol earlier this year, told the crowd that, as a nurse, she never expected to be the one who needed care. But being on the receiving end of care made her appreciate providers and their commitment to improving patients' lives. After she became sick, Ms. Mezzatesta received care at Griffin Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, and at Gaylord Hospital, where she recently completed outpatient physical therapy.

“I am still in touch with my therapists from all three facilities," she said. "They all care so much about their work and their patients. There have been times when I would have liked to have given up, but even now they won’t let me do that,” said Ms. Mezzatesta. “They are all so passionate about their work. They want to help people get their lives back. Their life’s work is important to them, and vital to people like me for whom they care.”

Jennifer Jackson, CEO, CHA, discussed the focus of the membership over the last year.  "We have deepened our commitment to patient safety through high reliability and building a culture of patient­ centered care," she said. "We’ve taken innovative steps to work collectively to improve population health and health equity, focusing on eliminating disparities, enhancing care coordination, and recognizing and addressing social determinants of health."

After the business meeting, which included the presentation of the Annual Meeting awards, attendees heard from guest speaker Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize­winning columnist at the Washington Post and MSNBC analyst. Mr. Robinson, who said he believes the U.S. is in the midst of the kind of “political realignment” that only happens once or twice a century, discussed the uncompromising nature of our political discourse – which he blamed on both political parties.

CHA gratefully acknowledges the generous Annual Meeting sponsorship of our Platinum Sponsors, Wiggin and Dana, SKD Knickerbocker, PatientPing, and Berkeley Research Group.