CHA's 97th Annual Meeting: Leading the Journey to Better Care, Better Health, Lower Costs

The Connecticut Hospital Association welcomed 600 hospital CEOs, senior hospital administrators, physicians, and other key hospital and healthcare decision makers to its 97th Annual Meeting, held June 30, 2015, at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

Board Chairman Bruce Cummings, President/CEO, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, discussed achievements over the course of the year in the areas of patient safety, mental health, population health management, and collaboration.  “Our groundbreaking work in patient safety has accelerated and spread to the point that we now have tens of thousands of people trained in high reliability science – a success story we could hardly have imagined when we began four years ago,” said Mr. Cummings.  He also described how hospitals identified mental health system improvements as a top priority, and went on to successfully advocate for Community Care Teams – integrated teams of hospital representatives and community partners who work together to address a patient’s needs holistically.  As well, Mr. Cummings discussed how hospitals are advancing population health, addressing the burden of asthma and the problem of increasing opioid addiction in our communities through statewide clinical initiatives.

Jennifer Jackson, CEO, CHA, highlighted how hospitals’ work in quality and patient safety is transforming care and setting Connecticut hospitals apart as leaders.  She also discussed hospitals’ ongoing commitment to improving health equity and eliminating health disparities.  “As our country grieves heartbreaking acts of violence and has conversations about race, discrimination, and advancing civil rights for all, we are reminded of our opportunity and obligation to engage in the most fundamental form of social justice by providing healthcare that results in equal access and outcomes,” said Ms. Jackson.  “We are proud of our commitment to health equity and diversity but humbled by how much more there is to do.  We must be resolute in our focus on eliminating disparities and improving the health of those most vulnerable.”

In their remarks, both Mr. Cummings and Jennifer Jackson emphasized Connecticut hospitals’ role both as a healthcare safety net and economic driver.  They reinforced hospitals’ commitment to continue working in Hartford to build a sensible, sustainable, and properly funded healthcare environment. 

After the business meeting, which also included the presentation of the Annual Meeting awards, attendees heard from guest speaker Katty Kay, lead anchor of BBC World News America.  Ms. Kay discussed critical issues around the world and the need for America to step up as a leader. “What the world needs is a strong America,” she said.  “We have to have an America that can look at sensible reforms.  We need to stay a superpower by educating the next generations, and we have to have politicians who can make strong decisions.”

CHA gratefully acknowledges the generous Annual Meeting sponsorship of our Platinum Sponsor, Credit Suisse.


Connecticut Hospital Association Welcomes the Newly Elected Members of its Board of Trustees

At the CHA Annual Meeting, members elected trustees to the CHA 2015-2016 Board of Trustees.  John Murphy, MD, President and CEO, Western Connecticut Health Network, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Patient Care Quality.  Christopher Dadlez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Population Health.  Elliot Joseph, President and CEO, Hartford HealthCare, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Hospital Finance.  Peter Karl, President and CEO, Eastern Connecticut Health Network, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Government, and Marna Borgstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and President and CEO, Yale New Haven Health System, was elected Member At Large.

Newly elected or re-elected trustees include:  Marna Borgstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and President and CEO, Yale New Haven Health System; Anne Diamond, Chief Executive Officer, UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital; Jeffrey Flaks, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hartford HealthCare; Stuart Marcus, MD, President and CEO, St. Vincent’s Medical Center; and Colleen Smith, RN, Consultant, Nursing Consulting Partners, and former Chief Nursing Officer.

Other members of the 2015-2016 CHA Board include:  Chairman Bruce Cummings, President/CEO, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital; Vice Chairman David Whitehead, President, Hartford HealthCare East Region; Secretary Peter Karl, President and CEO, Eastern Connecticut Health Network; Treasurer Christopher O’Connor, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Yale New Haven Health System; DNS Board Chairman Patrick Charmel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Griffin Hospital; CEO Forum Chairman Kurt Barwis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bristol Hospital; Rohit Bhalla, MD, Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, Stamford Hospital; Vincent Capece Jr., President/CEO, Middlesex Hospital; Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO, CHA; William Jennings, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgeport Hospital; Kevin Myatt, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Yale New Haven Health System; Darlene Stromstad, President and CEO, Waterbury Hospital; and Chad Wable, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Mary’s Hospital. 

Outgoing trustees included Ulysses Hammond, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital; Curtis Robinson, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; and Robert Smanik, Day Kimball Healthcare.  CHA is grateful for their valuable service and important contributions.


CHA Awards Highlight Healthcare Leaders and Heroes

UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital, Bristol Hospital, New Milford Hospital, and a host of healthcare heroes and leaders were honored at the CHA Annual Meeting for their dedication to improving the health of Connecticut residents.  

CHA presented UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital with the 2015 John D. Thompson Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Healthcare Through the Use of Data for its project, STEMI Partnership for Patient Outcome Optimization.  Read more here.  Watch a video about the project here.

UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital won the John D. Thompson Award for its project, STEMI Partnership for Patient Outcome Optimization.

CHA and the Connecticut Department of Public Health presented Bristol Hospital and New Milford Hospital, a member of the Western Connecticut Health Network, with the 2015 Connecticut's Hospital Community Service Award.  Bristol Hospital won for its Family Wellness Program, and New Milford Hospital won for its program, Plow to Plate®.  Read more here.  Watch a video about the winners here.

Bristol Hospital won a Connecticut's Hospital Community Service Award for its Family Wellness Program.
New Milford Hospital won a Connecticut's Hospital Community Service Award for its program, Plow to Plate®.

The American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award, created to recognize hospital leaders who effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect the hospital's vital role in the community, was presented to Stephen Larcen, PhD, President, Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, and Senior Vice President, Hartford HealthCare. Read more here. Watch a video here.

Stephen Larcen, PhD, received the AHA Grassroots Champion Award.

Curtis D. Robinson, CHA Board Member, received an Honorary Membership Award for his commitment to helping those in need, his work on behalf of hospitals, and his inspiring career.  Read more here.

Curtis D. Robinson received an Honorary Membership Award.

Kim Hostetler, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, CHA, was honored with the first Service in Pursuit of Excellence award.  The award was created to honor individuals who have displayed extraordinary service to the healthcare field.

Kim Hostetler received the Service in Pursuit of Excellence Award.

An inspiring and committed group of 11 healthcare heroes were honored this year.  Read more about them by clicking here.

Healthcare heroes were honored during the award ceremony.

Congratulations to all CHA award winners.


Medicaid Rate Cut Eliminated and Small Hospital Pool Created During Special Session

On June 29, 2015, the State Senate and House of Representatives met in a one-day special session.  Both chambers passed the 700 page budget implementer bill, and Governor Malloy signed it into law on June 30.  The measure will reduce the cuts to hospitals by approximately $45 million – from $105 million to $60 million – in each year of the biennium.   

Specifically, the budget implementer:

  • Eliminates the $30 million per year hospital Medicaid rate cut contained in the budget.
  • Establishes an approximately $15 million per year small hospital fund.

In addition to hospital funding, the budget implementer addressed a number of issues of interest to the hospital and the healthcare communities.  Specifically, SB 1502, An Act Implementing Provisions Of The State Budget For The Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education And Health And Human Services:

  • Modifies, with respect to hospitals, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey’s proposal to require hospitals to pay property taxes.  The proposal imposes a property tax on real property that a “health system” acquires on or after October 1, 2015 that is subject to the property tax at the time of the acquisition, and any personal property related to healthcare services delivered at the acquired property.  The provisions apply to health systems that had for HFY 2013 at least $1.5 billion in net patient revenue from facilities located in the state.  The bill excludes any real and personal property within a main hospital campus.  Additionally, private colleges and universities would be required to pay property tax on residential real property used or intended to be used for student housing, regardless of when it was acquired.
  • Enacts CHA–sponsored mental health priorities:
    • Establishes within the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) a grant program for the purposes of providing community-based behavioral health services, including (1) care coordination services and (2) access to information on and referrals to available healthcare and social service programs.
    • Provides that grants under the program shall be used for the purposes of providing community-based behavioral health services, including (1) care coordination services and (2) access to information on, and referrals to, available healthcare and social service programs.
    • Requires DMHAS, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Social Services (DSS), and providers of behavioral health services, including, but not limited to, hospitals and advocacy agencies, to study the current adequacy of psychiatric services.  Such study shall include, but need not be limited to: (1) a determination of the number of short-term, intermediate, and long-term psychiatric beds needed in each region of the state; (2) the average wait times for each type of psychiatric beds; (3) the impact of wait times on persons in need of inpatient psychiatric services, such persons' families, and providers of such inpatient care; (4) identification of public and private funding sources to maintain the number of psychiatric beds needed in the state; (5) access to outpatient services including wait times for initial appointments; (6) available housing options; and (7) access to alternatives to hospitalization including, but not limited to, peer-operated respite programs.  The report on the study shall include, but need not be limited to, recommendations concerning: (1) expansion of the utilization criteria to increase access to acute, inpatient psychiatric services throughout the state; (2) an increase in the number of long-term, inpatient hospitalization beds available for persons with recurring needs for inpatient behavioral health services; (3) funding to increase the number of psychiatric beds; (4) placement of additional psychiatric beds in healthcare facilities throughout the state; and (5) funding to increase alternatives to hospitalization, including, but not limited to, access to outpatient services, housing, and peer-operated respite programs.
  • Makes certain CHA-supported changes to Medicaid provider audit process.
  • Requires DSS, over the next four years, to begin transitioning the current hospital-specific diagnosis-related group (DRG) reimbursement to a statewide DRG reimbursement model.
  • Exempts the first $1 million in revenues from the 6% tax and clarifies that procedures that are conducted in ambulatory surgical centers that are already taxed under the hospital provider tax do not get taxed again under the newly established 6% tax.
  • Transitions certain HUSKY A adults (including pregnant women) with incomes greater than 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to the exchange.  It also requires DSS and the exchange to ensure that these individuals being transitioned into the exchange do not have a gap in coverage.

In addition to the budget implementer bill, the General Assembly also addressed bills dealing with law enforcement’s use of excessive force, bond authorizations, state land conveyance, and school construction-related matters.


ECHN Board of Trustees Announces Partner Selection

On June 26, Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN), the parent company of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General Hospitals, announced that the Board of Trustees has agreed to the terms of a letter of intent to be acquired by Prospect Medical Holdings.

Prospect is an innovative, privately owned healthcare services company that owns and operates 13 hospitals, with a total of 2,258 licensed beds, as well as 40 clinics and outpatient centers in diverse, high-density population areas within five markets in California, Texas, and Rhode Island.  Prospect also manages the provision of healthcare services for approximately 257,000 members enrolled in its networks of more than 8,900 primary care physicians and specialists.

Terms of the acquisition will be reviewed by the governing body of ECHN corporators and a vote will be held during summer of 2015.  Peter Karl, President & CEO of ECHN, stated, “The letter of intent makes clear that Prospect would continue ECHN’s longstanding commitments of providing healthcare services and charity care to the wider ECHN community and approach healthcare with a strong coordination of regional care.  Prospect also has a strong track record of providing high-quality, cost-effective services to the communities it serves, working in collaboration with physicians, medical groups, community providers, payors, and other key stakeholders such as labor unions.”

Mr. Karl said “We have been careful and deliberate with our affiliation process.  We have worked hard to consider the interests and engage all of our constituents in this process, including our patients, employees, medical staff, corporators, the communities we serve, and legislative and union leadership.  We believe Prospect is the best partner for our collective future.”


Update Summer Schedule

CHA Update will be published on a bi-weekly schedule throughout July and August, returning after Labor Day to a regular weekly schedule on Thursday, September 10, 2015.