State Approves Integration of Bridgeport and Milford Hospitals

On June 7, the unification of Bridgeport Hospital and Milford Hospital was approved by the State of Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS).  Under the agreement, effective June 9, Milford Hospital became a fully integrated campus of Bridgeport Hospital, a member of Yale New Haven Health.

“Milford Hospital has played a critical role in the delivery of healthcare in our region for nearly a century and we are pleased to welcome this exceptional hospital to Bridgeport Hospital and Yale New Haven Health (YNHHS),” said Marna P. Borgstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Health.  “We are excited to bring new clinical services, updated infrastructure, and stability to this important organization that will allow us to grow access to high quality healthcare locally and regionally.”

Facing historic shifts in the healthcare environment, Milford Hospital has been experiencing a decline in volume and revenues in the past several years.  In 2014, Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and Bridgeport Hospital partnered to create a highly successful Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) which generated exceptionally high patient satisfaction rates.  However, the need for a broader relationship became apparent as financial performance continued to be challenged.

“The Milford Campus of Bridgeport Hospital ensures access to a high-quality and cost-effective hospital location while addressing bed capacity issues at Bridgeport and Yale New Haven Hospitals,” said Richard D’Aquila, President, Yale New Haven Health.  “This integration will bring greater efficiencies and more access to Yale New Haven Health clinical programs and expertise.” 

Under the integration, YNHHS intends to develop the Milford Campus of Bridgeport Hospital into a vibrant, state-of-the-art community hospital and center for gerontologic health, staffed with clinicians who have the requisite geriatric competencies to care for an aging population based on the patient’s goals, preferences, and values.  This new campus will not only invigorate healthcare services in the Milford community, but it will also invigorate the community as a whole.

“This is the beginning of a brighter future for Milford Hospital.  The entire hospital family is excited that the transaction will now officially close,” said Mark Toney, President and CEO of Milford Hospital.  “Looking forward, our staff and physicians will have the stability, resources, and strong clinical partnerships that come as a direct result of being aligned with a nationally recognized health system.  I am deeply grateful to our Board of Directors, our staff, and to Bridgeport Hospital and YNHHS for moving this transaction forward and ensuring opportunity for growth and a continuing healthcare for the residents of Milford and surrounding communities” 

Current Milford Hospital employees, including those represented by organized labor, became employees of Bridgeport Hospital and YNHHS effective June 9.  Bridgeport Hospital has agreed to recognize all existing labor relationships.

“We are pleased that Milford Hospital is becoming part of Bridgeport Hospital and Yale New Haven Health,” said Samuel Bergami Jr., Chairman of the Milford Hospital Board of Directors.  “Our top priority in seeking a potential partner for Milford Hospital, our staff, patients, and the community, was joining a system we trust and respect. Yale New Haven Health was the clear choice.”  

“We deeply respect the legacy of caring that defines the history of Milford Hospital,” said Michael Ivy, MD, interim President of Bridgeport Hospital.  “The addition of the talented physicians, nurses, and staff to Bridgeport Hospital provides for clear alignment in our goal to provide the best possible care for the patients we serve.”

YNHHS will make significant investments in the Milford Hospital infrastructure including capital improvements, expansion of clinical service lines, and the implementation of the EPIC electronic medical record system allowing for enhanced data sharing among providers. 


Jeffrey A. Flaks Named President and Chief Executive Officer of Hartford HealthCare

On June 27, Hartford HealthCare announced that it has named Jeffrey A. Flaks its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2019.  Mr. Flaks succeeds Elliot Joseph, who has been Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Executive Officer since 2009.  Mr. Joseph made the decision to retire after leading the organization for more than 10 years.

“For several years, the Hartford HealthCare Board has been planning and preparing for an eventual executive succession.  Our goal has been to ensure that Hartford HealthCare’s leadership, culture, and commitment would continue to fulfill its mission to improve the health and healing of the people and the communities we serve,” said David P. Hess, Hartford HealthCare Board Chair.

In recognizing Mr. Joseph’s many contributions, Board Chair Mr. Hess said:  “Under Elliot’s leadership, and during a time of immense change in healthcare, Hartford HealthCare has evolved into a truly integrated system of care, providing more needed health services to more people, in more convenient locations.”

Mr. Hess called Mr. Flaks “a well-recognized leader and deeply respected colleague.”

“In ways large and small, Jeff Flaks has proven himself ready for this expanded and demanding role.  As President and CEO, he will be called on to build on the firm foundation that he and the entire leadership team have created.”

Last month, Mr. Flaks celebrated 15 years of service with Hartford HealthCare.  In 2004, he joined MidState Medical Center as Chief Operating Officer.  Mr. Flaks then transitioned to Hartford Hospital as Chief Operating Officer in 2007 before becoming Hartford Hospital’s 21st President and CEO in 2011.

In 2013, Mr. Flaks was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the entire healthcare system, and was named President by the Hartford HealthCare Board in 2016.

“The opportunity to lead this great organization is an extraordinary honor, and I consider it a true privilege,” Mr. Flaks said.

“At Hartford HealthCare, we’ve done great work to transform ourselves so that we can lead the next era of American healthcare.  As an organization, we haven’t shied away from change, but instead we have chosen to lead it, bringing to life our vision of being most trusted for personalized, coordinated care.”

“I am so proud of what our team has built at Hartford HealthCare,” said Mr. Joseph.  “There is no one better than Jeff to lead Hartford HealthCare into the future.”


Diverse Group Attends Palliative and End-of-Life Care Program

On June 25, CHA hosted a thought-provoking and informative program on palliative and end-of-life care. Social workers, spiritual care representatives, nurses, advanced care planning coordinators, risk management staff, and patient experience representatives were among those who attended the Palliative and End-of-Life Care: Engaging Clinicians and Patients program.

In the opening presentation, Damanjeet Chaubey, MD, Medical Director, Palliative Care, WCHN/Nuvance Health, discussed the value of an inter-professional team-based model of palliative care in managing seriously ill populations.  She also shared strategies for building, sustaining, and growing effective palliative care programs.  Working together with families, WCHN/Nuvance Health developed a palliative care screening tool, a care decision document, and a palliative plan of care, as well as education and training for staff, patients, and families.

“Our goal is to align the personal goals of patients and their families with a treatment plan,” Dr. Chaubey stated.  “The key to palliative care is a shared decision-making model.”

Last year, WCHN/Nuvance Health was honored by the American Hospital Association with its Circle of Life Award®, which celebrates innovative organizations and programs across the nation that have made great strides in palliative and end-of-life care.  Over the past 10 years, the WCHN/Nuvance Health Palliative Care program has grown from a small team at Danbury Hospital to reaching patients across the network and the continuum of care, including home care, nursing homes, cancer center outpatients, and in the offices of primary care physicians and pulmonologists.

In her presentation, Making Advance Care Planning Easier, Rebecca Sudore, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, provided information on preparing patients and their families to work with clinicians.  Dr. Sudore emphasized the importance of educating the public about advance care planning.

“Both the patient and the family need to come to agreement on a care plan.  They may have different ideas on what they want, and they should discuss far in advance what the care and treatment plan will involve,” she said.  Dr. Sudore also noted that the advance care plan may change in the moment of treatment.  “No one can predict how they are going to react or feel in a situation.”

Lisa Caramico, MD, anesthesiologist, Bridgeport Anesthesia Associates, Bridgeport Hospital, shared the story of her husband’s end of life journey and the family’s difficulty in finding support until they were introduced to hospice care.

“Your family should know your end-of-life healthcare wishes and determine who is going to be your healthcare proxy to ensure those requests are fulfilled,” Dr. Caramico said.


Issue-Based Forum on Ligature Risk Mitigation Draws Crowd

On June 13, more than 120 people attended an issue-based forum to help hospitals understand and achieve compliance related to ligature risk mitigation and patient safety.

Captain Hyosim Seon-Spada, NDP, RN, FNP-BC, CIC, USPHS, Regional Quality Management Coordinator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), noted that suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2016, and that between 5 and 6.5 percent of suicides were committed in inpatient settings. 

Captain Seon-Spada, an officer of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, discussed CMS policy on ligature risk, which is considered to be anything that can be used to attach a cord, rope, or other material for the purpose of hanging.  She described factors that contribute to ligature risk issues in the inpatient setting, as well as mitigation solutions that include: establishing clear policies and procedures, conducting staff training and monitoring for compliance, and reviewing and communicating risk and observations.  Captain Seon-Spada, along with Barbara Cass, Chief of the Healthcare Quality and Safety Branch, Connecticut Department of Public Health, provided guidance on regulatory expectations.

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Jim Iacobellis, Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, CHA, on ligature risk mitigation and other safety issues for at-risk patients.  The panel included regulators and hospital representatives –  Captain Hyosim Seon-Spada; Barbara Cass and Anthony Bruno, DPH; Raymond Gorski, CHFM, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, a member of Trinity Health Of New England; and Mark Sevilla, Yale New Haven Hospital.   


Middlesex Health Receives Fifth Magnet Designation

Middlesex Health earned its fifth consecutive nursing Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  This means that Middlesex continues to meet the very rigorous standards of clinical nursing excellence set by the ANCC.  Fewer than 20 healthcare organizations worldwide have earned this designation five times.

Middlesex Health is among six others in the state to achieve Magnet Status.  Bristol Health, Connecticut Children's, Greenwich Hospital, Stamford Health, St. Vincent's Medical Center, and Yale New Haven Hospital are among the 8 percent of hospitals nationwide that have achieved this gold standard.

Each Magnet designation is for four years; Middlesex first earned its designation in 2001 and has earned re-designation ever since.

“I am proud of our entire Middlesex Health team,” said Middlesex Health President and CEO Vincent G. Capece Jr.  “While this Magnet designation is focused on our nursing professional practice, all of our employees were involved in the Magnet process.  Earning this designation demonstrates our entire organization’s pursuit of excellence.”

The Magnet process included a written application and a site visit, which occurred in February.  Appraisers visited all areas where nurses practice to validate information Middlesex provided in its written application.  Appraisers met with physicians, interdisciplinary teams, community members, and members of the Middlesex Health Patient Family Advisory Council.

“Every day, Middlesex staff members go above and beyond to ensure that our patients receive the best possible care,” said Jackie Calamari, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.  “Our Magnet designation is just one of the ways that our organization has distinguished its clinical excellence.  It’s a testament to the positive difference our staff is making in the communities we serve.” 


Bristol Chamber of Commerce Honors Kurt Barwis

Kurt A. Barwis, FACHE, president and Chief Executive Officer, Bristol Health, recently received the E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service Award from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Barwis serves on the CHA Board of Trustees and the Committee on Hospital Finance.  He also serves on the Board of Governors of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 48,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems, and other healthcare organizations.

In 2017, Mr. Barwis was honored by the American Hospital Association as its Connecticut Grassroots Champion.

Board certified in healthcare management as an ACHE Fellow, Mr. Barwis served as an ACHE Regent for Connecticut from 2016 to 2019, and on the Regents Advisory Council from 2008 to 2016.  He is a recipient of several ACHE Recognition Program awards, including the Service Award in 2012, the Distinguished Service Award in 2015 and the Exemplary Service Award in 2018.


CHA to Host Training Program on Human Trafficking

CHA, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families, the Connecticut Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (H.A.R.T.), and Connecticut Children’s, will host Training of Trainers Introduction to Human Trafficking for Medical Providers.

The program will be held at CHA on July 11 and 15, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Participants must attend both sessions of the program to be eligible for certification.  The program flyer includes a link to register.  The free program is designed for individuals who can educate staff at hospitals, clinics, or physician offices to meet the annual legislative mandate required for hospitals and clinics. 

The Training of Trainers includes a one-day of curriculum learning, a half-day of classroom teach-backs and, lastly, a live training for medical providers with a lead trainer to ensure the trainee is comfortable with the content.  The process ensures the trainee clearly understands the curriculum, can respond to common questions that arise, and is comfortable teaching solo moving forward.