Midstate News for 2011

Below is a history of MidState Medical Center news that occurred during 2011. Click the [+] next to each title to view that story.

December 24, 2011
MidState Medical Center Among Qualidigm's 'Communities of Care' Named A Hartford Business Journal Health Care Hero for Advancements in Health Care Prevention

MidState Medical Center Among Qualidigm's 'Communities of Care' Named A Hartford Business Journal Health Care Hero for Advancements in Health Care Prevention

Meriden - Qualidigm, the health care consulting and research organization in Rocky Hill, has been named a 2011 Health Care Hero by the Hartford Business Journal for advancements in health care prevention through its "Communities of Care" Program of which MidState Medical Center is a volunteer participant.

The Hartford Business Journal's annual recognition identifies outstanding leaders in the Health Care Industry who embody heroes through their proven excellence in helping others. This year's judges included representatives from the Healthcare Advocate's Office (OHA), the Connecticut Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Yale University School of Nursing.

MidState Strives to Reduce Hospital Readmissions for Patients with Heart Failure

For close to two years, MidState has worked with Qualidigm as part of Communities of Care; a growing initiative of 12 healthcare communities statewide each comprised of a volunteer nursing home, hospital, home care and physician partners to reduce preventable readmissions to the hospital for patients with heart failure.

"This award-winning effort seeks to improve the quality of care and life for people with heart failure" said Anne Elwell, Qualidigm's vice president for Community Relations. "This is essential since each year nearly five million people in the United States experience heart failure. In fact, hospitalizations for heart failure are one of the nation's most pervasive, costly and life-altering issues that needlessly affect patients' life quality and burden our health care delivery system," Elwell explained.

The collective, coordinated efforts of all participating Community of Care partners - about 150 statewide health care providers including MidState Medical Center - is intended to standardize the provision of care to heart failure patients within and across care settings, and to engage patients and their families as active care partners. The innovation aims at improving patient and family communication with health care providers, accurate medication record keeping, and follow-up care following a patient's discharge from the hospital.

Qualidigm's New Heart Talk Video Series

Toward these key education and communications goals, Qualidigm recently produced and released Heart Talk, an educational video series to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions for health care professionals, nursing assistants and patients with heart failure.

The three-part video series is made possible by funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Jason W. Ryan, M.D., a cardiologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, assistant professor of Medicine and co-director of UConn's Heart Failure Center, serves as narrator. The goal of the short, instructional videos is to offer easy-to-understand and consistent information about heart failure. The free films are being used by hospitals, nursing homes, home care and hospice agencies, physician practices, patients and caregivers nationwide and are available at www.qualidigm.org.

The first video is for licensed healthcare professionals; the second is for nursing assistants; the third is for patients, families and caregivers. The videos focus on the key recommendations that, if followed, can help patients with heart failure live a healthier life without unnecessary hospitalizations. The films are in English and will be produced in Polish and Spanish in 2012. Heart Talk videos for patients account for literacy as well as health literacy using easy-to-understand language explained at a sixth-grade level.

"The improvements to medical and communications processes developed by Qualidigm's highly effective Communities of Care can also be used to prevent readmissions for patients with other diseases," said Howard Dubin, MD, Director of the Hospitalist Service at MidState Medical Center. "We know that improved processes can only lead to better health care outcomes and that means happier patients and families," said Dr. Dubin.

About Qualidigm

Qualidigm's mission is to continually advance improvement in the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of health care. The organization is serving in its 26th year as the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization contractor for the State of Connecticut. Qualidigm is also a Patient Safety Organization designated by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. Other clients include the State Medicaid Agencies in Connecticut and Rhode Island, eHealthConnecticut, a statewide Health Information Exchange; academic institutions, national and international health care consulting firms, local and national foundations focused on quality health care, accreditation bodies, providers in all health care settings, payers and purchasers.

December 23, 2011
Medical Oncologists Transition To MidState Medical Center Medical Oncology & Hematology

Medical Oncologists Transition To MidState Medical Center Medical Oncology & Hematology

Meriden - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that Gary Tansino MD, Gerard Fumo MD, and Rajani Nadkarni MD of Medical Oncology & Hematology PC (MOH) have transitioned to MidState Medical Center Medical Oncology & Hematology, effective January 2, 2012.

Our medical oncologists have been a strong partner with our hospital for over 25 years. They are a great asset to our cancer program and have an excellent reputation among patients in our community. This change will give us the ability to further collaborate and coordinate the most effective treatment plans for our patients.

The office for MidState Medical Center Medical Oncology & Hematology will remain in its current location with the same phone number. An interdisciplinary team of hospital staff has been working diligently to ensure a seamless transition for both patients and staff.

December 12, 2011
MidState Medical Center names 2011 Physician Recognition Award Winners

MidState Medical Center names 2011 Physician Recognition Award Winners

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce its 2011 Physician Recognition Award Winners. At the Medical Staff Annual Meeting in 2008, Physician Recognition Awards were presented for the very first time. Offering this prestigious recognition has continued annually, and in what has quickly become a proud tradition at the hospital, three physicians were honored on December 8. Another 25 nominees were also recognized.

Accepting awards were David Ross-Russell, MD for The Matthew Campione Community Service Award; Nirmala Ramadhar-Persoud, MD for The Joseph Goodman Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork Award; and Charles Kim, MD for the Daniel Kahn Clinical Quality Award.

Nominations came from the entire MidState community, including colleagues, staff, patients and patients' families. Each Selection Committee evaluated the nominees against the specific criteria established for each award and then recommended, to the Awards Steering Committee, up to two nominees for consideration. The Steering Committee then made the determination whether any of the awards were made, and to whom.

"Nominations are, in themselves, a significant recognition of accomplishment. Many of our nominees have been nominated by more than one nominator," said Harold Kaplan, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs.

Congratulations to these three outstanding physicians on this achievement.

More information on our award winners:

David Ross-Russell, MD
The Matthew Campione Community Service Award

Dr. Ross-Russell has been a member of our Medical Staff for 20 years, and has always demonstrated a profoundly humanistic approach to patient care. An active participant in Schwartz Rounds, and a long time advocate for ethical and compassionate patient care, he is the only member of our Medical Staff, and one of the first physicians in Connecticut, to be Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. As the Medical Director for the Hospice Interdisciplinary Team, he had a major role in oversight of primary care for hospice patients in the community. Although a lead physician for a major practice in Wallingford, Dr. Ross-Russell has still made time to help support us in the development of our new Palliative Care Service, where he now also serves as Medical Director.

Nirmala Ramadhar-Persoud, MD
The Joseph Goodman Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork Award

Dr. Ramadhar has clearly made a profound impression on her colleagues, the other members of her healthcare team, and her patients. As attested in one of the multiple nominations she received, "She is an excellent team player and team captain, and patient care is in her soul." A nurse, who has worked with Dr. Ramadhar for several years, says that, "In each capacity, I have witnessed her respect for a holistic team-based approach to coordinated care. Always approachable and reachable, she welcomes questions, comments or suggestions as it relates to a patient under her care." She is also cited for being a skilled clinician who will take the time to provide an important impromptu educational session to empower staff with the information needed to ensure excellent evidenced-based care.

Charles Kim, MD
The Daniel Kahn Clinical Quality Award

Dr. Kim has been a member of our Medical Staff for over 35 years, and throughout that time, has been recognized as an outstanding practitioner in his specialty, and in fact, was nominated by nine different colleagues, patients and staff members. His counsel has always reflected the most current standards of care, evidenced-based medicine and best practices. His consultations are timely and effective, and his skills in the operating room are broadly recognized. In addition, he has graciously and frequently taken on the role of educator to the Medical Staff, particularly as an active participant in Tumor Board discussions. He has promoted and practiced evidenced-based medicine and while usually dealing with the sickest of the sick, has always taken accountability for his patients and their outcomes.

December 12, 2011
MidState Physicians Praised for the 'Great Things' They Do

MidState Physicians Praised for the 'great things' They Do

MERIDEN - Physician awards and speeches from the president of the medical staff and chief executive officer highlighted the MidState Medical Center annual meeting Thursday night.

The Physician Recognition Awards have been handed out since 2008. They are given to physicians for their contributions to the hospital through community service, leadership, clinical quality and collaboration.

"This is the fourth year we have handed out these awards," said Dr. Harold Kaplan, MidState's vice president for medical affairs. "So often are physicians called out on the carpet when things go bad, and when they go well, it's just what they are supposed to do. They deserve positive responses for the great things they are doing."

The Daniel Kahn, M.D., Clinical Quality Award was given to Dr. Charles Kim, a specialist in thoracic cardiovascular surgery. He has been on the MidState staff for 35 years, going back to the days of its predecessor, Meriden-Wallingford Hospital. An anonymous nominator wrote that he or she "never met a surgeon so easy to admire and respect."

The Clinical Quality Award is presented to a physician who advocates for improvement in clinical quality and systems.

Dr. Nirmala Ramadhar-Persaud was awarded the Joseph Goodman, M.D., Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork Award. On one of the nomination sheets for her, a colleague said Goodman is "someone I would want as my own physician."

The Matthew P. Campione, M.D. Community Service Award, for a physician who has been instrumental in the development and support of community wellness and health care initiatives was awarded to David Ross-Russell. He has been with the hospital for 20 years and is the first physician at the hospital to be board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine. Ross-Russell has a family practice in Wallingford.

The hospital also recognized eight physicians who have been on staff for 50 or more years.

MidState President Lucille Janatka gave a state of Mid-State address to the packed cafeteria.

"I see that we are meeting and achieving patients' expectations," she said. "We continue to put targets and measures in place and work toward achieving them."

Rajani Nadkarni, president of the medical staff, offered her thoughts on the past year and what she hopes the hospital can improve on in 2012. Nadkarni, who specializes in hematology and medical oncology, was also nominated for a Physician Recognition Award.

"I hope that we can work on collaboration and teamwork," she said. "When I took this job, people said the biggest pain is getting people to play fair in the sandbox. I hate doing that. We are all here from one common goal, which is taking care of patients."

November 17, 2011
MidState Medical Center Holds Annual Meeting and Names Crystal Obelisk winner

MidState Medical Center holds Annual Meeting and names Crystal Obelisk winner

Meriden - MidState Medical Center hosted its Annual Meeting on Monday, November 14, at the Connecticut Hospital Association in Wallingford. Approximately 150 were in attendance, including members of General Management, our Board of Governors, physicians and other community leaders.

Chairman of the Board Bruce Eldridge offered opening remarks at the meeting. He commented on MidState's growth over the last year and noted "the pleasure of working alongside a group of passionate, committed people who are fully dedicated to MidState's success and quality."

Elliot Joseph, president & CEO of Hartford HealthCare, was also on hand to discuss the Hartford HealthCare vision and how system partners are working together to create more coordinated care for patients across Connecticut.

In addition, president & CEO, Lucille Janatka delivered a presentation on recent hospital's accomplishments. She explained that MidState is "on the road to meeting the Hartford HealthCare vision."

As a result of our clinical excellence this year, MidState received numerous accolades including the Outstanding Achievement Award for quality cancer care, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement, and Anthem's Blue Distinction® Award for quality medical outcomes in spine surgery. "My greatest pride is in our excellent clinical quality and patient safety. It takes every member of the team to reach those high standards," said Janatka.

At the end of the program, MidState presented its annual Crystal Obelisk Award, which since 1991 has honored individuals and groups for outstanding contributions to health care. Radiologist Sherwin Borsuk, MD was named as the 2011 recipient. Dr. Borusk joined the Medical Staff of Meriden-Wallingford Hospital in 1978, and for over 30 years, has served the hospital in a variety of capacities. Most recently, in 2011, he became an active member of the Board's Quality Committee, which sets quality goals, establishes, monitors and assesses measures of performance, quality of care, clinical safety, and adverse events.

"He is a mentor to his staff, is proactive in making things easier for them to be more productive, and is adamant about providing the highest quality services," shared Bruce Eldridge, who presented the award.

Borsuk said he has been "fortunate to be in this community" and a "member of a team that just does a great job day in and day out and makes the jobs of physicians like myself that much easier."

Also included in the program was a presentation by vascular surgeon, Jonathan Hasson, MD, who reviewed the latest advances in surgery for abdominal aneurysms. Others were recognized for their contributions to the hospital, including a resolution of appreciation to Marcia Proto, secretary of the Board of Directors and recognition of past Board Chairman Lloyd Nurick. Linda Durhan, MD, Louis Meyer, MD, Brian Timko, MD, and Robert Levitz, MD, were highlighted as 2010 Physician Recognition Award winners.

November 17, 2011
MediQuick Urgent Care Celebrates Opening

MediQuick Urgent Care Celebrates Opening

Meriden - Over 200 people turned out for Cheshire MediQuick grand opening events on Wednesday, November 9. Several MidState staff members participated in a health information expo in the afternoon, where residents of Cheshire learned more about stroke prevention, nutrition, primary care, sleep care, and balance and hearing problems. Flu shots, glucose screenings and blood pressure checks were also available.

Later in evening, members of the business community, as well as MidState employees, attended a Business After Hours and ribbon cutting ceremony. This event was held in conjunction with the Cheshire, Greater Meriden and Quinnipiac Chambers of Commerce. State Senator Len Suzio was on hand and addressed the crowd and shared how fortunate the community is to have a MediQuick in Cheshire's backyard.

MidState president & CEO Lucille Janatka also offered remarks to those in attendance. "Although MediQuick is new to Cheshire, it has been a valuable health care facility in Meriden for over 20 years, earning a highly regarded reputation for its friendly, outstanding staff, quality medical care, and excellent customer service. We certainly hope that the residents of Cheshire find MediQuick to be just as much of an asset in their community," she said.

Several individuals were recognized for their contributions in making MediQuick Cheshire a reality: Cassandra Crowal, assistant vice president of Administrative Services; Bob Palumberi, director of Facilities; Mary Ann Puttre, real estate manager; Gail Millerick, director of Development who led MidState's Organizational Design Team; the staff and leadership of Ricci Construction; and MediQuick medical director Walt Kupson, DO and team leader Brad Stevenson, RN who guided the project every step of the way.

November 16, 2011
MidState Logs Another Solid Year, Despite Economy's Ills

High Award Goes to Doctor Who Joined Staff in 1978

WALLINGFORD - MidState Medical Center announced its 12th consecutive operating surplus in an economy in which any surplus is considered a measure of good fiscal health.

The operating margin for the 2011 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, was $8.6 million, or 4 percent of net operating revenue.

Although not as high as last year's, it was a noteworthy performance for one of the state's top 10 hospitals, said Ralph Becker, MidState's chief financial officer. The hospital's operating margin in 2010 was 5.3 percent, and 3.2 percent in 2009.

MidState held its annual meeting Monday at the Connecticut Hospital Association on Barnes Road and presented its Crystal Obelisk Award, which since 1991 has honored people and groups for outstanding contributions to health care, to Dr. Sherwin Borsuk.

Borsuk joined the medical staff of Meriden-Wallingford Hospital in 1978, specializing in diagnostic radiology, and went on to lead a number of committees and serve as a physician representative on the hospital's board of directors. He also chaired the Project Oversight Committee from 1996 to 1998 and was "recognized for his service, guidance, support and quiet strength in the planning, construction and move to Mid State's new building on Lewis Avenue in 1998," said Bruce Eldridge, chairman of the hospital's board of directors.

"He is a mentor to his staff, is proactive in making things easier for them to be more productive, and is adamant about providing the highest quality services," Eldridge continued.

Borsuk told the crowd of about 200 employees, directors and incorporators that he's been "fortunate to be in this community" and a "member of a team that just does a great job day in and day out and makes the jobs of physicians like myself that much easier."

"These have been tumultuous times," Borsuk said.

MidState's performance drop from last year comes from an investment the hospital made with Hartford Healthcare and Children's Medical Center in medical malpractice insurance that manages risks and sets premiums affiliated with the hospitals. The investment, which provided a boost in 2010, didn't perform as well in 2011 and must be calculated as part of the operating budget, Becker said.

"Actually, it's good to have a positive margin in these times," Becker said.

MidState has seen steady revenue growth, opening more services and expanding in size over the past few years.

But MidState's biggest challenge, as is the case at other hospitals, is government cutbacks.

"This is the beginning of the beginning," Becker said.

Hartford Healthcare President Elliot Joseph shared the group's vision of a coordinated, integrated network that seamlessly provides health care - from diagnostics to treatment to discharge to follow- up care.

The many members of Hartford Healthcare - including Rushford Behavioral Health Centers, Windham Hospital, the Institute for Living, MidState and the Hospital of Central Connecticut - can consolidate needed services and patient record-keeping to improve the quality of care and reduce readmission, he said.

"All of our staff are doing their jobs in wonderfully helpful ways," Joseph said. "While miracles are being done every day, there are patients falling through the cracks. The system is too fragmented."

Lucille Janatka, president and chief executive officer of MidState, echoed Joseph and told the group that MidState is well on the way to delivering a more coordinated system.

"The hard work comes between the 'to' and the 'from,' Janatka said. "We know we are on the road to implementing this vision."

Last year, MidState concentrated on the Wallingford market and increased patient discharges from that town by 200. It also opened another MediQuick walk-in center in Cheshire and bolstered its neuroscience services and vascular programs.

With the completion of its emergency department just over a year ago, MidState has seen a 9 percent increase in emergency room visits, and its overall inpatient satisfaction has jumped to second place in the state, Janatka said.

Janatka said that, with more government programs withholding payment to hospitals based on quality, it's critical that MidState work with physicians on how best to take patients from one level to the next.

"We're well coordinated," Janatka said. "My greatest pride is in our excellent clinical quality and patient safety. It takes every member of the team to reach those high standards."

November 11, 2011
MediQuick Care Center Opens in Cheshire

MediQuick Care Center Opens in Cheshire

CHESHIRE - A new MediQuick Urgent Care Center on South Main Street is offering medical services to those with minor ailments or broken bones wanting to avoid long waits at the emergency room.

The center, established by Mid-State Medical Center in Meriden, opened Monday and will be open every day of the year for drop-ins. MediQuick officials say it's more than a walk-in clinic, however.

Team Leader Brad Stevenson said a doctor is always at the center, along with nurses and x-ray technicians or radiologists. MediQuick staff can perform procedures, such as stitching wounds, which would otherwise have to be done at a hospital's emergency room.

"In the past you were forced to go to an ER. I was forced into that wait and that cost," Stevenson said. "Now I can be seen quickly and efficiently."

Those with heart attacks, strokes and traumatic injuries, or women giving birth, should go to a full emergency room, Stevenson said, since the MediQuick doesn't have a full range of medical equipment.

MediQuick at 680 S. Main St. is open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day. MidState operates a Mediquick in Meriden on Pomeroy Avenue. Hospital spokeswoman Pamela Cretella said staff from that MediQuick will rotate to the Cheshire location.

The Meriden MediQuick receives between 50 and 80 visits a day. Stevenson said the average visit time is 48 minutes and he expects a similar visit time in Cheshire.

"The MediQuick model has been very successful in Meriden," Cretella said. She expects the location to draw people from Cheshire and nearby Wallingford.

Sheldon Dill, Cheshire Chamber of Commerce president, said Mediquick filled a need as a medical provider in town that can handle all but the most severe medical problems.

"MidState has always done well in the communities they're in," Dill said. "There is a need obviously," he said. "I don't think there's anything (in town) to the level of this one."

MediQuick is in a 2,400-squarefoot physician's office renovated by MidState with five exam rooms. The front office has a patient electronic self-check-in to speed wait times.

Stevenson said many similar centers or walk-in clinics don't always have a doctor on staff as the MediQuick does.

"The caliber of staff we have here is pretty high," he said. "All of them have many, many years of emergency room experience."

October 26, 2011
Platt High School Volleyball Team Thinks Pink for MidState Medical Center

Platt High School Volleyball Team thinks pink for MidState Medical Center

Meriden - The Platt High School senior girls' volleyball team has been trying for several years to put on a fundraising event in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year the team's hard work paid off as they hosted the first-ever event at the Platt Panthers vs. Plainville Blue Devils volleyball game.

Led by player coordinator Jillian Pascale and her mother Erin Pascale, parent coordinator, the team wanted to organize an event where they could give back to the community. "I knew MidState had a cancer center. We thought we could make a difference by holding a fundraiser. It was nice to keep it local," shared Erin.

To raise money, the girls accepted donations at their game last Tuesday, October 18, as well as sold baked goods, bookmarks and pink breast cancer awareness bracelets. In addition, the team sold raffle tickets for two themed gift baskets. All proceeds from their sales directly benefited The Palladino Family Cancer Center.

"This is so meaningful to our patients," said Abbi Bruce, RN, Director of The Palladino Family Cancer Center. "You have affected others by doing what you love," shared Abbi, as she accepted a check from three team captains this week on October 24.

The team not only raised $505, but they also won their game against Plainville High School. Both teams embraced the spirit of breast cancer awareness by decking out in pink volleyball jerseys and knee-high socks.

MidState and The Palladino Family Cancer Center send a big thank you to the Platt High School senior girls' volleyball team for their support! Go Panthers!

October 25, 2011
MidState Medical Center receives Get with The Guidelines - Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award

MidState Medical Center receives Get with the Guidelines
- Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award

MidState Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes MidState's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

To receive the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award, MidState achieved at least 12 consecutive months of 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators and achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures during that same period of time, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care.

These measures include aggressive use of medications, such as tPA, antithrombotics, anticoagulation therapy, DVT prophylaxis, cholesterol reducing drugs and smoking cessation, all aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

"With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award demonstrates that our staff is committed to providing care that has been shown in the scientific literature to quickly and efficiently treat stroke patients with evidence-based protocols," said Kelly Zigmunds, Stroke Coordinator.

"MidState Medical Center is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients," said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients."

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

October 20, 2011
MidState Medical to Host Grand Opening & Health Expo at New Cheshire MediQuick

MidState Medical to host Grand Opening & Health Expo at new Cheshire MediQuick

(Wednesday, October 19, 2011, Meriden, Conn.) - MidState Medical Center's new MediQuick Urgent Care Center in Cheshire will open its doors to the public on Monday, November 7. MidState will also host a Grand Opening event on Wednesday, November 9, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Join us for tours of the new facility and refreshments courtesy of Bishops Farm. We'll also have information on a variety of health topics, including primary care, nutrition, stroke, sleep care and more. Blood pressure checks, glucose screenings and flu shots will be available.

A Business After Hours held in conjunction with the Cheshire, Greater Meriden, Southington and Quinnipiac Chambers of Commerce will also take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The providers at MediQuick can treat patients for a variety of minor illnesses and injuries including sore throats, coughs, colds, flu-like symptoms, pink eye, earaches, sinus pain, minor sports injuries, sprains, strains, cuts and more. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.

October 19, 2011
MidState Medical Center to Host Survivorship Symposium for cancer survivors

MidState Medical Center to host Survivorship Symposium for cancer survivors

Meriden - The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center is hosting its first-ever Survivorship Symposium on Saturday, November 5, at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center in Meriden. The symposium is a day-long event for cancer survivors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. that focuses on the physical, emotional, and spiritual issues that arise after cancer treatment.

Registration and a continental breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., followed by informative seminars on cancer survivorship, the effects of cancer treatment, nutrition for survivors, and coping skills. Lunch will be provided and a series of breakout sessions will also be offered in the afternoon on topics including yoga, music therapy, art therapy, reiki, sexuality after cancer, brain fitness and journaling.

To register for this program, please call 203 694 8631.

October 17, 2011
MidState Medical Center Offers Mammograms for Less, Free Breast Cancer Risk Assessments

MidState Medical Center Offers Mammograms for Less, Free Breast Cancer Risk Assessments

To mark National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MidState Medical Center is offering reduced-cost mammograms and free breast cancer risk assessment clinics for area women.

The mammograms will be offered Wednesday at 680 S. Main St. in Cheshire; Thursday at MidState Medical Center in Meriden; and Friday, Oct. 21 at 863 N. Main St. Ext. in Wallingford.

"Early detection is the best detection," said Wallingford Health Director Eloise Hazelwood. "Sometimes you can't feel a lump or a cyst with your hand. The disease can progress to a more devastating point."

Hazelwood said women should get a baseline mammogram around age 40.

Kathy Clements, a breast care coordinator for MidState, will be on hand all three days doing free risk assessments for women. Clements said that the hospital uses a computer program that takes into account a variety of factors, including family history and current health and projects the risk for that individual to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We're requesting that people bring three generations of information," she said. "Themselves, their parents and their grandparents."

A BRCA mutation - a genetic mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer from 10 percent to 85 percent - can be detected with a blood test, Clements said. Women with the mutation, or a family history of the mutation, should begin getting mammograms as early as their late 20s.

In addition to family history, other factors that can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer include obesity, alcohol consumption and not getting enough exercise.

"Women who have two or more drinks a day have an increased risk," she said.

Clements said that Hispanic women also have higher risks to developing breast cancer.

Clements said that even if the results show an increased risk to develop breast cancer, there are steps that can be taken.

"There are medications, there are tests," she said.

Clements told the story of five sisters, four of whom had a genetic mutation that raised their risk of breast cancer to 85 percent. But through risk-reduction techniques, the sisters were able to reduce their risk to less than 10 percent, lower than the risk of the general population.

The risk assessments using computer software have been going on since about 2009, Clements said.

The tests will cost $85, and patients are required to make an appointment by calling (203) 694-8631. The risk assessments are free and no appointment is required.

October 3, 2011
Federal Government Praises MidState Medical Group

Federal Government Praises MidState Medical Group

Better use of electronic medical records and patient tracking might result in higher reimbursement rates for doctors who can prove they're using best practices.

MidState Medical Group received recognition from the federal government a month ago for showing how primary care doctors use electronic records, follow-up with patients and offer preventative care.

According to MidState Medical Group Director Erin Cardon, that recognition could help the hospital get a better deal when negotiating reimbursement rates with insurers. The MidState group includes four primary care offices in Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire.

"We're able to prove we're giving good care," Cardon said. The MidState group received its certification as a patient - centered medical home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Cardon and others submitted an application showing the MidState group complied with federal standards in nine areas.

Those include having each patient paired with a primary care doctor and supporting medical team. Cardon said electronic medical records, which were implemented at MidState several years ago, help doctors track patients' testing, determine the most cost-effective prescriptions and transition care to specialists.

Certification also required that offices are open for patient visits after work. Cardon said that's attractive to insurance companies and employers who don't want workers to have to take work time off for doctor's visits.

Sarah Yeagre, corporate communications director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in North Haven, said the company is encouraging development of patient-centered medical homes. Yeagre said the company expects the model to show benefits for Anthem customers.

"By improving the coordination of care and reducing duplication of services, and provided necessary interventions, we expect members will have improved care and satisfaction," she said. Cardon said the MidState primary care providers were already mostly in compliance, although certification required the rewriting of some protocols and the creation of others.

Patients can now give feedback online, for instance, instead of just on forms stacked in doctors' waiting rooms.

Cardon said the federal certification has been around for a decade, but was very difficult to implement without electronic medical records, which made tracking thousands of patients a matter of punching keys.

"In the past year its gained footing, and I think it has gained footing because groups were going to electronic records," Cardon said.

Federal money prompted more hospitals to adopt electronic records, according to Cardon.

"It's certainly moving along faster because of (federal money)," she said.

The Hartford Medical Group began implementing electronic inpatient medical records about five years and began switching outpatient records to electronic formats two years ago. MidState and Hartford groups are both part of Hartford HealthCare.

Hartford Medical Group received its patient-centered medical home certification a week after MidState, Cardon said.

She said the certification application took "hours and hours" of work and began six months ago. When they heard MidState group had been certified, "it was a celebration," Cardon said.

September 29, 2011
MediQuick Urgent Care to Open in Cheshire

MediQuick Urgent Care to Open in Cheshire

Meriden - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it will open MediQuick Urgent Care in Cheshire. The providers at MediQuick can treat patients for a variety of minor illnesses and injuries including sore throats, coughs, colds, flu-like symptoms, pink eye, earaches, sinus pain, minor sports injuries, sprains, strains, cuts and more.

Located in the hospital's current satellite space at 680 South Main Street, MediQuick will boast a 2,400 square space complete with six state-of-the-art exam rooms. The central location right off of Route 10, expansive parking, and friendly staff are just a few reasons that make MediQuick the perfect place for urgent care needs.

To make care even more seamless for patients, imaging services are also conveniently located inside the MediQuick building by Midstate Radiology Associates. In fact, Radiology Associates has recently upgraded its MRI machine to a high field 1.5T MRI which offers faster exams and higher quality images.

"We are committed to serving the community of Cheshire and dedicated to providing quality care and excellent customer service," said MediQuick's medical director, Walt Kupson, DO.

MediQuick Urgent Care in Cheshire will open on Monday, November 7. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.

This is MidState's second MediQuick location. Another MediQuick is also located at 61 Pomeroy Avenue in Meriden.

September 26, 2011
The Moonlight in Venice Gala Raises $70,000

The Moonlight in Venice Gala Raises $70,000

MERIDEN - It may have been rainy and gloomy outside last Friday evening, on September 23, 2011, but the energy and enthusiasm still ran high at MidState's Moonlight in Venice Gala, where over 350 people turned out for a wonderful night in support of MidState Medical Center.

Our guests included MidState employees, physicians, community members, members of the Board and staff from across our Hartford HealthCare system. We were pleased to have join us this year the President & Chief Executive Officers of every single one of our hospital partners: Jeff Flaks, Hartford Hospital; Clarence Silvia, The Hospital of Central Connecticut; Steve Larcen; Windham Hospital and Natchaug Hospital; and Elliot Joseph, Hartford HealthCare.

"Tonight we are celebrating our Cancer Center and new levels of excellence," shared president & CEO, Lucille Janatka, as she announced in opening remarks the news that are center received an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Commission on Cancer. "Your support allows us to growth and prosper," she said.

Janatka also took a moment to recognize the generous contributions of the local Palladino family, for whom the Palladino Family Cancer Center is now named. Gratitude was expressed to the MidState Auxiliary and Gala Chair, Geraldine Meoni, for the time and dedication in planning this event.

Following the program, guests feasted on a delicious menu of salad, pasta, surf and turf, and a spread of desserts from a Viennese table. The dance floor was filled all night with those in attendance dancing to the sounds of Block & Blu.

In total, The Moonlight in Venice Gala raised $70,000 with over $11,000 in proceeds coming from the silent auction. These funds will directly support the Palladino Family Cancer Center, and ensure that MidState continues to offer the latest in programs and services for our cancer patients.

This evening would not have been possible without the gracious support of so many sponsors, volunteers, and friends and family of MidState Medical Center. Many thanks to all!

View the Photos of the Gala (to log on, use the password as typed "gala" no quotes).

September 22, 2011
MidState's Stroke Center Recognized for Performance Outcomes

MidState's Stroke Center Recognized for Performance Outcomes

Meriden - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that its Stroke Center has been recognized with the American Heart Association's 2010 Get with the Guidelines® Program Award.

Get with the Guidelines® is a collaborative performance improvement program demonstrated to improve adherence to evidence-based care of patients hospitalized with stroke. Just this week, MidState learned that its Stroke Center achieved recognition at the Bronze level, signifying that MidState is up-to-date with the scientific guidelines surrounding stroke.

Since the inception of MidState's Stroke Program, the Stroke Team has worked tirelessly to improve care for patients. The team's hard work has paid off over the last three years with certifications and accolades from both the Joint Commission and Connecticut Department of Public Health.

"We are so fortunate to have an amazing group of individuals working on behalf of our stroke patients. As a result of all the effort and energy put forth by all, we have now achieved another high point in our program which recognizes the delivery of evidenced-based stroke care to those in our community," said Patricia Giannelli, APRN-BC, Neuroscience Service Line Leader.

September 22, 2011
MidState Medical Center celebrates Cancer Survivors' Day

MidState Medical Center celebrates Cancer Survivors' Day

Meriden - The weather was nearly perfect this past Sunday, September 18, as approximately 300 survivors and their family and friends turned out for MidState's annual Cancer Survivors' Day.

As survivors began arriving, they were greeted with music from The Pat Adams Trio of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Director of the Palladino Family Cancer Center, Abbi Bruce, RN welcomed all to the 9th annual Cancer Survivors' Day and thanked all members of the event planning committee, as well as volunteers, for their hard work in making Survivors' Day possible.

Meriden Mayor Michael Rohde was in attendance, as in year's past, to issue a proclamation declaring September 18 Cancer Survivors' Day in the city of Meriden. Mayor Rohde, a cancer survivor himself, acknowledged the efforts in research and treatment that contribute to the growing number of survivors today. "This is a disease that affects everyone," he said, "and we are all in this together."

Survivor, Maria Kahn, shared her own personal story during the program. Kahn was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 in April 2010, but now, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, is free of the disease and back on the bench as a Superior Court judge. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Benjamin, and teenage daughters Sarah and Emma.

"It was easy to be positive with the kind of support I had," shared Maria. "The staff at MidState Medical Center was exceptional and caring."

Radiologist, Linda Durhan, MD, also joined in the day and offered words on how survivors can cope and take care of themselves as they move forward after their treatment ends. "Where there's life, there's hope. Whatever bad happens, remember, this too shall pass" she said.

Chaplain Doreen Bottone offered the invocation for the day. Additional music selections were performed by Lewis Avenue. Survivors enjoyed chair massages, while children were treated with balloon animals from a roaming balloon artist.

The Palladino Family Cancer Center would like to thank Medical Oncology & Hematology, P.C. and Eastern Rehabilitation Network for their support of this event, as well as the many volunteers who donated their time to make this year's Cancer Survivors' Day a truly special day.

To see more photos from Cancer Survivors' Day, please visit midstatemedical.org and click on Photo Library on the left-hand side.

September 19, 2011
Cancer Survivor Speaks

Cancer Survivor Speaks

Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

Maria Kahn speaks at MidState Medical Center's Cancer Survivors' Day in Meriden's Hubbard Park Sunday afternoon. Kahn was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2010, but now, after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, is free of the disease and back on the bench as a Superior Court judge. She lives in Cheshire with her husband, Benjamin, and teenage daughters Sarah and Emma.

September 16, 2011
MidState To Recognize Its Physicians

MidState To Recognize Its Physicians

MERIDEN - Four years ago, MidState Medical Center decided it was time to start recognizing physicians whose work throughout the year stood out above all the rest.

Every year the Physician Recognition Awards recognize four MidState-affiliated physicians for their contributions to the hospital through community service, leadership, clinical quality and collaboration. The nomination process is open to the community. The process began Sept. 6 and will continue through Oct. 14.

Nominations may be made for the Daniel Kahn MD Clinical Quality Award, the Matt Campione Community Service Award, the David Parke Leadership Award or the Joseph Goodman Collaboration and Teamwork Award. Physicians may be nominated for one of the specific awards or with just a general nomination. The awards committee will then decide which category they best fit in.

"It is no secret to anyone that health care providers are under constant surveillance and there are publicly reported standards that have to be met and many challenges in terms of malpractice and patient safety," said Dr. Harold Kaplan, MidState's vice president for medical affairs.

"Physicians are constantly being challenged and chastised so we thought it was only reasonable that we give some recognition to the folks who have been doing outstanding work," he said. "We didn't want them to think that it was going unnoticed."

The Daniel Kahn MD Clinical Quality Award is presented to a physician who advocates for improvement in clinical quality and systems. Dr. Robert Levitz was the reception of the award last year. Levitz has been with the MidState medical team since 1984.

"I was very honored because the award was really determined by my peers and people at the hospital and it's nice to know that they recognize all the hard work," said Levitz, an infectious disease physician. "I have been at Mid-State since 1985 and I believe it is one of the most modern hospitals in the state right now. It is an excellent facility to work at and I was and am truly honored."

The Joseph Goodman MD Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork award was given to Dr. Brian Timko last year for being a role model for teamwork and for facilitating cooperation and coordination. Timko, a physician at Mid-State since 2007, has been recognized with multiple nominations for his ability to work collaboratively with nursing, case management, dietary services, pharmacy and other clinical support personnel.

Dr. Linda Durhan was awarded the Matt Campione Community Service award for her work with patients and the surrounding community.

Dr. Louis Meyer, who has been with Mid-State since 1975, was awarded the David Parke Leadership Award. The award is presented to a physician who has provided leadership for new initiatives and problem solving and provided leadership to the MidState staff and the surrounding community. "There are a number of things that the winners get," said Kaplan. "They get a cash honorarium, a large headshot placed in the main public galleria, a plaque displayed at MidState and a trophy they can take home. We have a reception in March to honor them and they awards are announced in the quarterly newsletter. We also ask the winners to come back and hand out the next year's awards."

Nominations can be made on MidState's website www.midstatemedical.org, by calling (203) 694-8200 and asking for the hospital staff office.

September 12, 2011
MidState Medical Center to Offer Free Prostate Cancer Screenings

MidState Medical Center to Offer Free Prostate Cancer Screenings

MERIDEN - In honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, MidState is offering prostate cancer screenings for men who are under- or uninsured. Three screenings will be offered at various locations in Meriden as follows:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with urologist Anthony Kim, MD
The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with urologist Richard Allen, MD
Meriden Health Department

Thursday, October 6, 2011
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with urologist Jean Wong, MD
LaPlanche Clinic at the Meriden Senior Center

September 9, 2011
FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) Open Across State

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) Open Across State

MERIDEN - FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) will be opening in every county of the state - and two in New Haven County - on Thursday, September 8 to assist home owners and businesses affected by Tropical Storm Irene. Any individual or business who has suffered losses or damages as a result of Tropical Storm Irene to visit a center and work with staff there to review what benefits to which they may be entitled. These centers provide an opportunity to get answers to any questions you might have with regard to federal disaster assistance and assistance with application preparation.

For more information and to view the entire list view our PDF.

September 9, 2011
MidState Seeks Community Nominations -Physician Recognition Awards

MidState Seeks community nominations for Physician Recognition Awards

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center is currently seeking nominations for its 2011 Physician Awards Program, which recognizes MidState-affiliated physicians for outstanding contributions in a number of areas. Nominations opened on Tuesday, September 6, and are being solicited not only from hospital employees and physicians' offices, but from community members as well.

Last year the four outstanding recipients of MidState's Physician Recognition Awards were Robert Levitz, MD for The Daniel Kahn Quality Award; Linda Durhan, MD for The Matt Campione Community Service Award; Louis Meyer, MD for The David Parke Leadership Award; and Brian Timko, MD for The Joseph Goodman Collaboration and Teamwork Award.

Since members of the community may wish to nominate a physician they know, the Medical Staff Office at MidState strongly encourages those in the community to nominate. The criteria for each award is as follows:

Joseph Goodman, MD Clinical Collaboration & Teamwork Award
This award is presented to a physician who has been a role model for teamwork in healthcare delivery and of respect and caring in interpersonal interactions. He/she may have facilitated cooperation and coordination.

Daniel Kahn, MD Clinical Quality Award
This award is presented to a physician who has promoted improvement in clinical quality and systems. He/she may have championed patient safety initiatives or facilitated established of "Best Practices" and or support "Performance Improvement." This physician should have demonstrated consistently favorable patient outcomes.

David W. Parke, MD Leadership Award
This award is presented to a physician who has provided leadership for new initiatives and demonstrated a visionary approach to problem solving. He/she may have provided leadership to the Medical Staff or the broader medical community. He/she builds consensus among groups of physicians and other health care providers and may have participated in legislative or other political activities in support of health care.

If you would like to nominate someone who you believe is an exemplary physician deserving of a recognition award, but are unsure of what category to nominate in, please simply write about what makes this physician noteworthy, and the Selection committees will select the most appropriate category based on your write-up.

Nominations will remain open until October 14, 2011. Forms can be found on the MidState Medical Center website at midstatemedical.org. The winners will be announced at the Annual Medical Staff Meeting in December with a recognition ceremony in January.

Download Nomination Form PDF

September 8, 2011
MidState Medical Center Awarded the Blue Distinction© for Spine Surgery

MidState Medical Center Awarded the Blue Distinction© for Spine Surgery

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it has recently been named a Blue Distinction© Center for Spine Surgery.

Blue Distinction© is a national designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants.

To earn this designation, MidState was evaluated by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut based on objective, evidence-based selection criteria established with input from expert physicians and medical organizations. The goal of Blue Distinction is to identify medical facilities that deliver high quality medical services and achieve a high incidence of positive medical outcomes for a specific area of specialty care, helping patients and doctors to make more informed hospital choices.

"This designation is a tribute to the dedicated team of physicians, nurses, technicians and therapists who helped develop MidState's comprehensive program in spine surgery, said Cindy Russo, senior vice president of Operations for MidState. "Their clinical expertise in this area of specialty care has resulted in better overall results for our patients."

"Our Blue Distinction program recognizes hospitals that demonstrate higher levels of performance in providing better specialty care for patients," said Eina G. Fishman, MD, MS, CPE, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medical Director. "Improving quality of care is integral to transforming the healthcare system. Facilities like MidState are helping to achieve this by offering patients safe specialty care delivered by medical teams with expertise."

About Blue Distinction
Blue Distinction selection criteria cover a broad range of quality measures and are publicly available on www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction. By earning the designation, [HOSPITAL] has demonstrated:

  • An established program, performing required annual volumes for certain procedures
  • Appropriate experience of its care team
  • Full facility accreditation by a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-deemed national accreditation organization
  • Adherence to evidence-based clinical care measures and guidelines
  • A comprehensive quality management program

"Blue Distinction puts a high value on the consistent delivery of evidence-based care," said Dr. Allan Korn, chief medical officer of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). "Blue Distinction Centers demonstrate our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the country to identify leading institutions that meet objective quality criteria and deliver better overall outcomes in specialty patient care."

To learn more about the Blue Distinction designation, visit www.bcbs.com/innovations/bluedistinction/.

September 2, 2011
Midstate Medical Group Now a Patient-Centered Medical Home

Midstate Medical Group Now a Patient-Centered Medical Home

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Group (MMG) is proud to announce that all of its primary care offices have earned designation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). MMG successfully completed the rigorous application process and was awarded a Level 3 status by NCQA, the highest level of designation available. As a result, MMG has set itself apart as a leader in providing patients with what is best described as the most personalized, coordinated, effective and efficient care possible.

A PCMH is a team-based model of care that is designed to emphasize and strengthen the physician-patient relationship. Led by a personal physician, patients experience coordinated care and a long-term relationship with a team of healthcare providers working together in the patients' best interest. Patients are encouraged to actively participate as partners in their own healthcare.

The PCMH practice is responsible for providing for all of a patient's health care needs or to appropriately arrange care with other qualified professionals, including preventive services, treatment of acute and chronic illness, and assistance with end-of-life issues. Quality and safety are hallmarks of the medical home, while coordinated care helps to control costs and eliminate fragmented care. Through the new standards and guidelines required of a PCMH, patients will experience improved patient communication, more efficient care coordination and the increased use of the latest technology. The ultimate results will be a higher level of patient satisfaction and an overall increase in the quality of patient care.

In a society where patients are often burdened by a confusing health care system, and are facing complex and diverse health needs, MidState Medical Group is committed to providing quality, personalized health care and better coordination to help patients navigate the system of care.

"The patient-centered medical home is about preventing and treating health problems so that patients stay healthy and live longer, fuller lives. It is also about building meaningful relationships with patients and creating a partnership where patients feel comfortable with their physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who work together as a team," explained Erin Cardon, MD, MidState Medical Group Medical Director.

Congratulations to all of MidState Medical Group on this outstanding achievement.

August 4, 2011
MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Cancer Survivors' Day

MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Cancer Survivors' Day

MERIDEN - The Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center announces its annual Cancer Survivors' Day to be held on Sunday, September 18, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Meriden's Hubbard Park. This day is dedicated to honoring and celebrating the lives of cancer survivors.

Survivors are encouraged to bring their family and friends to share in the day. Activities for children include face painting, balloon animals, and caricature drawings. Survivors can treat themselves to a relaxing chair massage; and of course, musical entertainment and refreshments can be enjoyed by all. Both survivors and caregivers will share how cancer has changed their lives and offer inspirational messages and words of wisdom to others.

Last year Cancer Survivors' Day attracted nearly 300 people. For more information or to register, please contact The Cancer Center at MidState at 203.694.8631.  Registration is preferred.

July 25, 2011
Barbara Kaplowe to receive the CTAHQ's Gail Greene Distinguished Member Award

Barbara Kaplowe to receive the CTAHQ's Gail Greene Distinguished Member Award

MERIDEN - Barbara Kaplowe, director of quality and performance excellence, MidState Medical Center, was recently named a recipient of The Connecticut Association for Healthcare Quality's Gail Greene Distinguished Member Award.

Barbara has been described as a lifelong learner of quality and performance excellence who shares her knowledge with CTAHQ.

She has been a mentor to her peers, and is well versed in the criteria for performance excellence and the Malcolm Baldridge Award. She has been an active member in CTAHQ serving as treasurer for six years, president-elect, president, past president, nomination team, historical team and by-laws. She is a member of the American Health Information Management, American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality.

The Gail Greene Distinguished Member Award was named in honor of long-time member, Gail Greene, who served on the CTAHQ Board and was president from 1990 to 1991. Gail made notable contributions to the healthcare quality profession, and recipients of this award have done the same.

July 19, 2011
New MRI Scanner Means Faster Exams for Patients

New MRI Scanner Means Faster Exams for Patients

MERIDEN - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exams, non-invasive diagnostic imaging exams of soft tissue, bone and muscles, have become one of the fastest growing types of medical diagnostic tests. With Midstate Radiology Associate's recent installation of a MAGNETOM® Aera 1.5T Open Bore MRI system, patients can now experience faster, more comfortable exams.

The addition of this new MRI scanner at the hospital will expand access to diagnostic imaging that supports a complete range of clinical applications. The MAGNETOM Aera offers doctors an array of diagnostic possibilities and provides patients with a more comfortable experience. It also offers superb image quality that may be used for a wide range of medical needs - from orthopedic and sports-related injuries to breast cancer testing - and can help physicians make quicker, more accurate diagnoses.

The MAGNETOM Aera boasts a large 70 centimeter open bore, the tube-like structure of an MRI machine where the patient lies during the imaging process, and can provide access for patients up to 550 pounds. Additionally, the system's ultra-short bore (145 centimeters) can help to alleviate concerns of claustrophobia since many exams can be performed with the patient's head outside of the bore. This type of MRI is the first of its kind in the New England area, and only the 20th such MRI scanner to be installed in the United States.

July 15, 2011
Cancer Center Named in Honor of Generous Donors

Cancer Center Named in Honor of Generous Donors

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce the naming of the Cancer Center to The Palladino Family Cancer Center, in honor of the generous contributions made by local donors John Palladino and his sister, Amelia Palladino.

John and Amelia come from a close-knit family of seven children: John, Amelia, Joe, Frank, Ralph, Mary and Rocco. They were born to Louis and Marie Palladino who came to Meriden from southern Italy.

After serving in the Armed Forces during World War II, John and several of his siblings began a thriving business raising and selling chickens and eggs in Kensington. The Palladino's are a proud, hardworking and devoted family, whose business prospered for close to ten years. After that time, John began working for the U.S. Postal Services until his retirement in 1977.

John and Amelia continue to live on the family farm in a picturesque country setting. They recall fond memories of blossoming flower and vegetable gardens, grazing sheep and active chicken coops. John and Amelia also like to share stories of their travels to Florida, Italy and numerous cruises. Although their lives are quieter now, John and Amelia still maintain a daily routine that keeps them quite busy.

While John and Amelia live out in the country, they are still "in the know" regarding the goings-on in the city of Meriden. "We are pleased with MidState," shared John and Amelia. "We are thankful for the location of the hospital's main campus and its affiliates and also for all the facility and program enhancements. Most importantly, we appreciate the wonderful care provided by the expert clinical and support staff."

John and Amelia understand how important it is to have MidState Medical Center as a resource for cancer care available to the residents of central Connecticut. To express their gratitude, John and Amelia have chosen to include the hospital in their estate plans with a bequest, and therefore, the Cancer Center has been named in their honor.

"MidState Medical Center is so grateful for the charitable contributions of the Palladino family. Their generous gift will ensure that MidState remains in the community to serve our families from central Connecticut and continue to provide outstanding cancer care to all that need us," said Cindy Russo, senior vice president of Operations.

July 12, 2011
MidState Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Second Consecutive Year

MidState Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Second Consecutive Year

MERIDEN - In today's age of ever-changing health care technology systems and the advent of electronic medical records, the only way to stay ahead of the curve is to keep pace with the latest advances and stay abreast of all that technology has to offer for increasing efficiencies in health care and making care delivery better for patients. In the last five years, MidState has proven it has accepted this challenge, and for the second consecutive year in a row, has been named one of the Most Wired hospitals in the nation for excellence in information technology.

MidState has been participating in the Most Wired survey for over five years. The survey, administered in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corp., and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, recognizes hospitals for achievements in four key areas of focus, including: infrastructure, business and administrative management, clinical quality and safety, and the care continuum.

This year, MidState excelled in several areas of the survey, particularly related to information transfers through data systems, our wireless and enterprise-wide networks, medical imaging and independent physician-office electronic medical records.

"These accomplishments are especially important because they align with the government's current objectives for 'meaningful use' in the field of information technology. By aligning with the 'meaningful use' objectives, we can ensure that MidState is following best practices when it comes to information technology in health care, practices that ultimately benefit the quality and safe care of our patients," said director of Information Services, Jennifer Comerford.

This accomplishment will be featured in an upcoming issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.

June 27, 2011
A Serious Negative Financial Impact

A Serious Negative Financial Impact

MERIDEN - Yale-New Haven Hospital is proposing a $25 million ambulatory health care project to be located in North Haven that will include a satellite emergency department with expensive imaging equipment. While the proposal at first glance may seem like a good idea, look closer, because it is not.

At a time when state and federal budgets, as well as those of private employers, are being challenged by the increasing cost of health care, Yale's North Haven plan is contrary to the efforts to control health care costs. Put simply, Yale's proposal for an ED satellite in North Haven is unnecessary, expensive and potentially hazardous to the economic health of our community.

Yale has told the Office of Health Care Access, the agency responsible for approving the proposal for the ED Satellite, that the North Haven community needs a satellite emergency department. Yet, Yale has failed to demonstrate that such an expensive facility is needed, especially when it is just 9 miles away from Yale's main campus emergency department and 11 miles away from MidState's newly expanded emergency department.

If Yale's proposal is approved, it will create a glut of emergency department capacity, when what is really needed are more primary care and urgent care services so that patients can avoid the more expensive emergency department for non-urgent services. OHCA, itself, has found in a recent study that approximately 38-53 percent of visits in the emergency department can be handled in a less expensive primary care setting rather than an emergency department.

This is not about a shortage of emergency department capacity either. In 2009, MidState Medical Center doubled its emergency department space and has enough capacity to handle tens of thousands of additional visits each year. Moreover, Yale is in the process of completing a $76-million expansion and renovation of its main campus emergency department which will add significant additional capacity.

If Yale's unnecessary proposal for an emergency satellite in North Haven is approved, it will have a serious negative financial impact on MidState Medical Center and the community. We expect that the Yale site will cost MidState Medical Center millions in revenue and result in jobs moving from Meriden to North Haven, a shift that Meriden cannot currently afford with an 11 percent unemployment rate.

If health care reform is going to amount to anything, we're going to have to be smart about how we build out our health care system. Families in the Meriden, Wallingford, and surrounding areas already have great access to excellent health care provided by employees who are their friends and neighbors. If state regulators really want to look after the best interests of the people in our region, they will reject the Yale-New Haven Hospital satellite proposal as excessive, expensive, and unnecessary. In this economy - in any economy - we can't afford what we don't need.

Michael Rohde is Mayor of the City of Meriden; James Ieronimo is Executive Director of the United Way of Meriden and Wallingford.

June 20, 2011
Endobronchial Ultrasounds Enhance Lung Care at MidState

Endobronchial Ultrasounds Enhance Lung Care at MidState

MERIDEN - MidState has made new strides in lung care with the introduction of endobronchial ultrasounds. These ultrasounds offer a minimally invasive approach to sampling lymph nodes and nodules under real-time view, a procedure that was once much more invasive and posed more complications for the patient. Endobronchial ultrasounds are typically performed on patients who need a lung cancer diagnosis and/or staging, as well as diagnosis of other lung diseases, such as sarcoidosis or histoplasmosis.

In an endobronchial ultrasound, a scope that has an ultrasound probe at one end of it is safely inserted to allow the surgeon to biopsy any nodes and be able to see what is happening in the lungs in real time. Although this type of ultrasound is performed in the operating room, it is considered an outpatient procedure. Additionally, the Pathology team is in the room at the time of the procedure to provide any rapid evaluation that is necessary.

"The endobronchial ultrasound utilizes state-of-the-art technology that expands the range of diagnostic possibilities. This is a wonderful option for patients who require this type of procedure," said thoracic surgeon, Cole Bordner, MD.

June 20, 2011
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program to Begin in June

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program to Begin in June

MERIDEN - MidState will soon begin a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at the end of the month to meet the needs of patients living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve their ability to participate in daily activities without feeling short of breath.

The Pulmonary Rehab Program will launch on June 28th. The program's hours of operation will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pulmonary Rehab will operate out of the current Cardiac Rehab office, which is located in Suite 213 on the hospital's second floor.

The Pulmonary Rehab Program falls under the leadership of medical director and pulmonologist, Richard Smith, MD; manager, Nancy Merkouriou; and therapists Mary Barrows, RT and Jeanne Rocha, RT. In the program, patients will receive education on how to best manage COPD and improve quality of life, as well as participate in strength training exercises and other monitored activities that build endurance and stamina.

"We had many requests from patients who were looking for this type of education from MidState, and we are proud to be serving our respiratory patients and the community" said manager Nancy Merkouriou.

Patients will need a referral from their physician to participate in the program.

June 16, 2011
MidState Medical Center to host Moonlight in Venice Gala in September

MidState Medical Center to host Moonlight in Venice Gala in September Proceeds benefit The Cancer Center

MERIDEN - Medical Center, together with the MidState Auxiliary, is pleased to announce this year's Moonlight in Venice Gala on Friday, September 23, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The opulent affair will showcase the charming culture of one of Italy's most beautiful and romantic cities, Venice. With true Venetian flair, this black-tie preferred evening will feature an open bar, lavish five-course sit-down dinner, silent auction and dancing to the eclectic sounds of the band "Bock & Blue." A bellini table, sushi bar, and Mediterranean table are just a few of the culinary delights guests can enjoy.

"The MidState Auxiliary whole-heartedly supports the gala. It is the hospital's signature fundraising event and a wonderful evening for the community and staff to enjoy," said Geraldine Meoni, past-president of the Auxiliary and chair of this year's gala.

"We hope the theme is fun and interesting. We looked at photographs of galas that took place in Venice, Italy, and were inspired to select this as our theme," said Meoni. The MidState gala is held every other year, each time with a different theme.

Tickets are $175 per person, and all proceeds benefit The Cancer Center at MidState. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Tina Fabiani in the Development Office at 203.694.8744, or email Tina.Fabiani@hhchealth.org. From the enchanting gondoliers to the magic of the Carnival, this is an evening you won't want to miss.

June 15, 2011
Dialysis Treatment Center Opens At MidState

Dialysis Treatment Center Opens At MidState

MERIDEN - A Massachusetts-based dialysis treatment company has opened its first center in the state at the Mid-State Medical Center East Campus, 61 Pomeroy Ave.

Comprehensive Care Dialysis, a subsidiary of American Renal Associates, of Beverly, Mass., has signed a 10-year lease on a 6,000-square-foot building next to MidState Medical Services.

American Renal Associates, a national treatment company, is working in partnership with MidState's Dr. Irfan Chughtai, who specializes in kidney disorders, dialysis treatments and internal medicine.

Dialysis treatment takes over a patient's kidney functions when they fail.

"They were doing a search. They had a relationship with MidState," said Jay Morris, managing partner, of OR&L Commercial, who represented MidState. "They wanted to be in the Central Connecticut general market."

Comprehensive Care Dialysis reached an agreement with MidState last fall to build a building separate from the main 30,000-square-foot medical services center that houses MediQuick.

In January, construction was turned over to the partnership, which retrofitted the interior. The center, used by MidState physicians, opened in May.

The city is also home to Central Connecticut Dialysis Center on Research Parkway, which is owned by another national company. MidState bought a former movie theater and reopened it as a medical services center in October 2009. The hospital wanted more exposure on the city's east side, near the Interstate 91 corridor. It moved many of its outpatient services, sleep care, wound care and hyperbaric medicine, diabetes center, nutritional counseling, weight-management program, the Travel Clinic & Infectious Diseases Center and a community conference room.

MidState has the room and approval to build one more building should the need arise, but Morris said nothing is in the works.

"We're not there yet," Morris said.

June 14, 2011
Shedding Light - Letter To The Editor

Shedding Light - Letter To The Editor

MERIDEN - Editor: I would like to shed light on a part of our community that is surely taken for granted by many of the thousands who walk through its doors on a yearly basis. My wife recently gave birth to two beautiful boys at the MidState Medical Center Birthing Center.

I cannot say enough about the professionalism and level of care we received as patients there. From reception to the nursing staff, we were always treated as if we were the only patients in the building. When medical complications caused us emotional turmoil, the staff at MidState ensured we were educated and well cared for.

As we adjust to our new family at home, I hope that our hometown hospital continues this stellar approach to care and its community appreciates what the people do there on a daily basis.


May 25, 2011
MidState Medical Center awarded the MassExcellence Award

MidState Medical Center awarded the MassExcellence Award

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it is the Gold level recipient of the prestigious MassExcellence Award.

MassExcellence is Massachusetts' only statewide Baldrige-based organizational assessment, and organizational award program modeled after the national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program that was created by Congress to teach leaders how to run their organizations in a manner that enables a good work culture while building competitive and economically sound organizations. Receiving a Baldrige-based award is a prestigious honor.

Representatives from MidState Medical Center received the award on Tuesday, May 10, at the Massachusetts State House in Boston where they had the pleasure of meeting elected officials, the winning organizations, examiners, members of the Board of Directors and Board of Overseers, member companies and sponsors of the event.

MidState's award was presented by executive director Laurence Smith. Cindy Russo, Senior Vice President of Operations and Gary Burke, Director of Strategic Organization Development, accepted the award on MidState's behalf. Russo later delivered remarks on the lessons learned through our experiences on the journey of excellence.

Also present from MidState were members of the Baldrige team including Ken Cesca, Vice President of Human Resources; Ken Walker, Director of Materials Management; Lynn Faria, Director of Community Relations and Wellness; Cassandra Crowal, Assistant Vice President of Administrative Services; Barbara Kaplowe, Director of Performance Outcomes; Harold Kaplan, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs; and Wayne Wyckoff, Performance Improvement Consultant.

Several years ago, MidState was the only hospital in Connecticut to have won two state-level Baldrige awards. The MassExcellence Award is our highest level of achievement thus far, and a truly noteworthy accomplishment in organizational excellence.

May 6, 2011
Physicians, Officials Opening of Garden Dedicated to Cancer Victims, Survivors

Physicians, Officials Opening of Garden Dedicated to Cancer Victims, Survivors

MERIDEN - The opening day of MidState Medical Center's tulip garden, dedicated to cancer victims and survivors, held a lot of significance to Ruth Kahn. She's the wife of Daniel Kahn, a former Meriden-Wallingford Hospital physician who died of cancer nine years ago to the day on Thursday.

Ruth Kahn said she learned about the garden and the opening celebration several weeks ago. "I said, 'I'm coming for sure,' " Kahn said. "I think it's a beautiful idea."

MidState's Blooming Pink Celebration Garden was planted with tulip bulbs last summer in the shape of a cancer ribbon on the hillside by the hospital's entrance. While the pink ribbon is the symbol for breast cancer, the garden is meant to remember the victims and honor the survivors of all types of cancer.

"It's a symbol of hope and celebration," said Director of Development Gail Millerick. "(Patients) can always look up at that hillside."

Bulbs were sold for the garden as a fundraiser for Cancer Care Services. Millerick said $7,000 was raised. Between 1,500 and 2,000 bulbs were planted last fall on the hillside and along the road near the hospital's emergency entrance.

About 50 physicians, hospital officials, patients and family of cancer victims gathered for the opening of the garden. Millerick said a group of physicians donated the money necessary for the initial landscaping of the hillside.

Both Millerick and Cindy Russo, senior vice president of operations, praised the hospital's development staff for originating the idea of a garden.

"Development staff are so creative," Russo said. "They pulled it together in no time at all." "We're always looking for ways to raise money, it's a challenging economy," Millerick said. She plans for bulb sales to be ongoing and for planting and the celebration to take place every year.

"This was our first time and will hopefully be an annual event," Millerick said.An opening ceremony for MidState Medical Center's Blooming Pink Celebration Garden was held Thursday. Bulbs were purchased in honor of cancer victims or cancer survivors to raise money for MidState's Cancer Care Services.

April 29, 2011
A Better Way To Deliver Radiation Therapy

A Better Way To Deliver Radiation Therapy

MERIDEN - Unfortunately, lung cancer is still all too common. For many years, the best therapy for patients with localized lung cancer has been surgical removal.

However, surgery is not an option for many patients with lung cancer because their poor heart or lung function makes anesthesia and surgery a high risk. Conventional external beam radiation therapy is a non-surgical treatment used for many medically inoperable patients and is completely non-invasive. It involves daily X-ray treatments for six to seven weeks. Unfortunately, it is not as effective in curing lung cancer as surgical removal.

4-D SBRT (four dimensional stereotactic body radiation therapy) is a more precise way of delivering high-dose radiation therapy to lung cancers. 4D-SBRT uses CT scans to plan and deliver image-guided, 4-dimensional treatment planning and delivery. It has proven to be much more effective in curing localized lung cancers than previous radiation therapy techniques with much less risk of short and long term side effects of treatment.

The cure rates with 4D-SBRT are as good as the cure rates for comparable patients treated with surgery. In fact, several large randomized studies have shown that lung SBRT seems to be at least as effective in curing lung cancers as surgical removal, with local tumor control rates higher than 90 percent for early stage lung cancers. Stereotactic Radiotherapy administers precisely directed, high-dose irradiation that tightly conforms to a tumor's shape. This technique exploits the fact that the radiation tolerance of normal organs is volume-dependent. With this technique, the complication risks for any radiation dose delivered is reduced by minimizing or eliminating the margin of normal tissue otherwise included with convention radiation treatment. The daily dose per stereotactic treatment is much higher than with standard radiation therapy, often 10 times the daily dose used with conventional radiation treatments.

The treatment is considered four-dimensional when planned and delivered using four-dimensional data obtained from a CT scan which can image a lung tumor over time through individual phases of tumor motion during respiration. This allows for even more precision in the treatment by accommodating for tumor motion during normal breathing with sub millimeter accuracy.

At MidState Medical Center's Radiation Oncology Department, we areusing 4-D SBRT to treat our patients with localized lung cancers. Each treatment is planned using a dedicated CT scanner that has been modified from the factory to have identical geometry to the Electa Infinity treatment machine at MidState. The CT scanner is able to do four-dimensional CT scans that track tumor motion through the course of the breathing cycle. With our new Electa Synergy Linear Accelerator, a full course of therapy for a localized lung cancer typically consists of just three to five treatments, and for each treatment the machine is on for less than 10 minutes. This is a much shorter treatment time than other treatment machines that can deliver SBRT.

The main reason for this is that the Electa Infinity Machine at Midstate uses VMAT (volumetric modulated arc therapy). VMAT is software which controls the treatment machine. It precisely delivers an extremely high dose of radiation per second while the machine is dynamically rotating around the patient. VMAT simultaneously modulates both the dose-rate and the intensity of the dose across the treatment field, as well as the shape of the treatment field.

The overall time in the treatment room is usually about 30 minutes per treatment day. Most of that time is spent verifying machine settings, the patient's position, as well as doing frequent imaging of the patient's position (with a CT scan integrated into the treatment machine) to ensure that each treatment is delivered exactly as planned. SBRT is an effective non-surgical treatment for early lung cancers. It is at least as effective as surgery in curing patients with localized lung cancers. SBRT is completely non-invasive, and is therefore much safer than surgery for older patients or those in poor health.

For many patients with lung cancer, it is the safest, most effective choice for curing their cancer.

April 14, 2011
MidState Medical Center Names its Employee and Team of the Year

MidState Medical Center Names its Employee and Team of the Year

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center's annual Employee and Team of the Year celebration is one of the most loved employee recognition events at the hospital. Each year, employees who most embody MidState's core values of Respect, Caring and Teamwork are nominated by their peers. Those nominations are then reviewed by an independent panel of judges from the community. This year MidState is pleased to announce June Thomas as the Employee of the Year, and the Surgical Physician Assistant Service as the Team of the Year.

Thomas is a psychology technician in the Emergency Department, and works with patients during one of the most sensitive times in their lives. She is recognized for maintaining a strong work ethic and a caring and patient demeanor despite her stressful work environment.

"My job is to keep patients safe, to make sure there are no harmful behaviors," said June. "I love my job. And I love people."

The Surgical Physician Assistant Team provides 24/7 coverage to all surgical inpatients, as well as serves as a first-assist in surgery. They have been invaluable to the MidState surgeons, nursing staff, emergency room physicians, hospitalists, and most of all, to patients.

"We knew we were doing a good job, but it's so much better to hear somebody else tell you. It means so much to have your peers recognize you," shared Joseph Kaplowe, PA, director of the Surgical Physician Assistant Team.

Mary Ellen Langan was named the second place runner up for Employee of the Year, and Tara Ferraulolo the third runner up. The Robotics Surgery Team was honored as the second runner up for Team of the Year, and Speech Therapy as the third."The best part of our Employee and Team of the Year awards is that it involves peers recognizing peers who are supporting the culture that we hold so dear," said Lucille Janatka, President & CEO. "These employees pay attention to not just what we do, but also how we do it."

This year's panel of judges included Bruce Miller, a behavioral support specialist at Cromwell High School; Mary Jean Higgins, a teacher at John Barry School; and James Miele, president of Miele Law Offices in Cheshire.

April 14, 2011
Volunteers Honored at MidState Medical Center's Recognition Breakfast

Volunteers Honored at MidState Medical Center's Recognition Breakfast

MERIDEN - Over 200 MidState Medical Center volunteers were honored on Friday, April 8, at the hospital's Volunteer Recognition Breakfast held at the Aqua Turf.  The breakfast is part of annual National Volunteer Week celebrations, a time when MidState pays tribute to its extraordinary and hard working volunteers.

All volunteers, as well as many members of MidState's management team, were invited to partake in the celebration and enjoy a delicious and well deserved breakfast. Local magician, David Wyskiel, entertained the crowd with his tricks and illusions, and Maureen Bilger and Elaine Murphy performed a hilarious excerpt from the "Kiwanis Kapers 2010."

In opening remarks, Gail Millerick, director of Development and Volunteer Services, referred to the MidState volunteers as "the heart of the hospital's community" whose unique contributions enhance patient care at MidState.

Diamond Belejack, manager of Volunteer Services added: "This day gives us an opportunity to honor your talent, skills, and time, and always being there when asked. This is just a small token of our appreciation."

During the recognition portion of the ceremony, volunteer Rhoda Weyant was recognized for 51 years of service, and Margarete Stanchick for 31 years of service. Ann Fischer, Rose Menichetti, Geraldine Meoni, Charles Murphy and Helene "Lee" Wise received certificates for reaching milestones for 2,000 hours of service. In addition, MidState welcomed 35 new volunteers this year.

April 13, 2011
Thomas is MidState's Employee of the Year

Thomas is MidState's Employee of the Year

MERIDEN - June Thomas deals with some of the toughest patients at Mid-State Medical Center — patients who can be suicidal, homicidal, depressed or combative. As a psychology technician in the emergency department, it's her job to help them get care and make sure no one gets hurt in the process. "My job is to keep the patients safe, to make sure there are no harmful items and identify harmful behaviors," Thomas said.

On Monday, the Meriden resident received the MidState Employee of the Year Award for 2011. "Thomas works in a very stressful work environment each day," said MidState President and CEO Lucille Janatka. "Her work ethic is strong, and she has immense skill in dealing with people." Hospital employees say Thomas comes to work with a smile on her face and has a calming, welcoming attitude, Janatka said.

Employee of the Year is the highest recognition in the hospital, Janatka said, and shows that the employee embodies the qualities espoused by Mid-State. Janatka also praised the two runners-up for the award, Tara Ferruaolo and Mary Ellen Langan. "Their co-workers took the time to point out how they live our values each day," Janatka said. Janatka read a description of each of the three employees before reading their names. Thomas said she didn't expect her name to be called after the final description. "I thought, that can't be," she said.

How does she manage, day in and day out, in a tense environment? "I love my job. It makes a difference," Thomas said. "And I love people. I'm a born-again Christian."Thomas said she takes time to think carefully about how to deal witheach person.

Employees of the year are given a plaque, a $1,000 prize and a prime parking spot. Last year's Employee of the Year, Rita Rowley, said she'd miss the parking space, drawing laughter from the room of employees gathered for the ceremony at the hospital."Somehow, they always comment on that," Janatka said of the parking space.

Employees are nominated by co-workers and are chosen by a panel ofjudges from the community. This year's panel included Bruce Miller, a behavioral support specialist at Cromwell High School; Mary Jean Higgins, a teacher at John Barry School; and James Miele, president of Miele Law Offices in Cheshire.

Teams at MidState were also honored. Surgical physicians' assistants took the top spot, the robotics team was awarded second place and the speech therapy team won third place.

April 5, 2011
MidState Medical Center CEO Named One of Eight Women in Business

MidState Medical Center CEO Named One of Eight Women in Business

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that Lucille Janatka, President & CEO of MidState Medical Center and Senior Vice President of Hartford HealthCare, was named this year as one of eight outstanding Women in Business by the Hartford Business Journal.  Janatka will be honored at a special recognition ceremony held on May 5th at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

For the past eight years, the Hartford Business Journal has honored eight of the region's most highly talented women in leadership throughout Central Connecticut. The winners are nominated by readers and chosen by a panel of independent judges. The honorees demonstrate a business savvy, a confidence in themselves and their organizations, and a strong track record of success in the business world.

April 5, 2011
Important Notice to Patients Regarding Misplaced Personal Information

Important Notice to Patients Regarding Misplaced Personal Information

MERIDEN - On February 15, 2011, we learned that a hard drive containing personal information of some patients of MidState Medical Center had been misplaced. The information contained on the device consisted of names, addresses, dates of birth, marital status, Social Security numbers and medical record numbers. Not all of the patients being notified of the incident had Social Security numbers on the missing hard drive. We promptly began an investigation of the incident and subsequently reported the event to law enforcement authorities. We have no reason to believe that any personal information has been misused as a result of this incident. MidState Medical Center and other affiliates of Hartford HealthCare are in the process of reviewing their policies and are taking steps to help ensure that this type of incident does not happen in the future

We regret that this incident may affect some of our patients. We take our obligation to safeguard patient personal information very seriously. We encourage you to remain vigilant and regularly review and monitor your credit reports. You are entitled under U.S. law to one free credit report annually from each of the three national credit bureaus. To order your free credit report, call toll-free at 877.322.8228 or visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

The Reference Guide provides details on these and other steps you may wish to consider, including recommendation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on how to further protect yourself against identity theft. You also may want to place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit file.

We hope this information is useful to you. Please look through our FAQ for the most common questions regarding this incident, and if you do not find the answer please call 855.398.6435 toll-free, Monday through Saturday, between 8:00 a.m. EDT and 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Again, we regret any inconvenience this may cause you.


Lucille Janatka

President & Chief Executive Officer

April 4, 2011
MidState Cancer Center Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

MidState Cancer Center Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

MERIDEN - The MidState Cancer Center is pleased to announce it has been recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). This makes the Cancer Center one of ninety programs awarded this year, which represents only 17% of the programs surveyed in 2010.

The CoC Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) was established in 2004 and recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients.  The award is granted to facilities that demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance with seven standards that represent six areas of cancer program activity: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical management, research, community outreach, and quality improvement.

The level of compliance with the seven standards is determined during an on-site evaluation by a physician surveyor. In addition, facilities must receive a compliance rating for the remaining 29 cancer program standards. MidState had its site visit in late 2010.

March 7, 2011
Hartford HealthCare Looking To Make A Big Splash

Hartford HealthCare Looking To Make A Big Splash

MERIDEN - Hartford HealthCare is looking to make a big splash with a new look, unveiling a new organizational logo at the Women's Big East Tournament at the XL Center in Hartford this weekend. Viewers in person and via television will see the new logo on the court floor and on the Jumbotron.

The logo and new typeface will visually unify all of Hartford HealthCare member organizations, including Meriden's MidState Medical Center and Rushford, which provides treatment for mental health and addiction.

"The logo is just a visual representation of the fact that we're all pulling in the same direction for the community," said Jeff Walter, Rushford's president and chief executive. "The logo doesn't do anything in and of itself, the logo is just a picture."

Rushford and MidState, he said, "have already been connected at the hip for a while. That's the model for what we want to happen throughout our system."

The multi-colored logo appears to represent the gears in a wheel, an analogy that Elliot Joseph has been using in the past few years to describe his vision of the organization. Joseph is president and chief executive of Hartford HealthCare and of Hartford Hospital.

The individual elements are also quotation marks, each representing what the organization calls its core values: integrity, excellence, caring and safety.

"It's a logo, but it really is supposed to be about community resources," said Amy Hickey, Rushford vice president of business development. The Hospital of Central Connecticut, which includes New Britain General and Bradley Memorial, in Southington, recently affiliated with Hartford HealthCare.

"We expect our logo will change," said Helayne Lightstone, the hospital's director of corporate communications.

MidState's logo has represented the three pavilions that made up the hospital when it opened on Lewis Avenue in the late 1990s. Rushford's has been a butterfly. The new look tells a different story, said Walter, "and it's a good story," one that "my employees will be able to grab on to." Thus the new logo is a signal not only to the community, but to those working under Hartford Health-Care as well.

"It's an internal and external message," said James Blazar, Hartford HealthCare's chief strategy officer. "Though we've been together as a system there hasn't been enough focus on the value of the system."

For patients, the connectedness Hartford HealthCare is trying to emphasize can be illustrated by the experience of Peter Struble, Wallingford's fire chief.

In May last year, the 48 year-old Struble experienced shoulder pain that he initially dismissed as a response to exercise. One of his medics checked him and suggested he go to MidState, where a CT scan indicated he needed to go to the cardiac center at Hartford Hospital. Struble said the experience of being transferred was like going from the emergency room to a room upstairs.

"As I walked in the door they were waiting for me," he said. "There was no break in the care. I just rolled into their system." Struble received a stent because one of his arteries was occluded. After heading to MidState on a Friday, he was back at home, taking a walk around the block Sunday afternoon. Struble then was in Mid-State's cardiac rehabilitation program, and spent seven weeks on a treadmill, gaining back his running form. The care also helped him gain back his confidence, he said, and in October he ran a half marathon.

He's also dropped 25 pounds.

"I feel really fit now," he said. "The whole package was there and culminated with my cardiac rehab.

Blazar said the new logo is part of an effort to counter the impression that health care delivery is fragmented.

Health-care reform is putting increasing pressure on providers to save costs and show results. A network approach allows members to share resources and operate more efficiently. "If we can realize the benefits of operating as a system we'll be better prepared to reduce costs and improve quality," said Lucille A. Janatka, MidState's president and chief executive.

The organization will work over the next few years to integrate the system of electronic medical records so all members are speaking the same language.

"It's a challenge," said Blazar, "but we've got to take these challenges on."

The new logo, designed by Landor Associates, was the result of 18 months of planning, said Blazar. Blazar would not specify the costs, but said exsage," penses were part of the budgeting process. Changing over to the new design will also be incremental over the next two to three years, and handled by individual member budgets, he said.

While showing off the logo at the Big East tournament, Hartford HealthCare will hold a fan festival at the XL Center, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, that will showcase the individual members. The organization is also sponsoring the Court of Dreams half-time event during the tournament.

Also planned, said Hickey, is the release of 1,000 mini parachutes during UConn's game on Sunday.

All this is promoting a unified system. The aim, said Janatka, "is that when someone sees our logo they'll think, oh, they're known for their quality. That's our vision."

Hartford HealthCare also includes the Eastern Rehabilitation Network, Windham Hospital, Natchaug Hospital, Central Connecticut Senior Health Services, VNA HealthCare, VNA of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Group, Clinical Laboratory Partners and Hartford Medical Group.

March 7, 2011
MidState Medical Center Courts Fans at the Big East

MidState Medical Center Courts Fans at the Big East

MERIDEN - MidState Medical Center and Hartford HealthCare affiliates had the opportunity to unveil their new logos at the Big East women's basketball games held at the XL Center in Hartford this weekend. The new logo visually links all Hartford HealthCare entities with a common look and identity, and reinforces the system's shared commitment to improving healthcare in Connecticut and beyond.

Hartford HealthCare was a sponsor of the Big East Fan Fest, which took place on Sunday, March 6. Harford HealthCare affiliates distributed giveaways and hosted games and other interactive activities. The Fan Fest was the perfect venue to debut the healthcare system's new logo and brand.  The Big East games drew nearly 9,000 fans - what a "slam dunk" of an opportunity!

See the jumbotron video.

February 7, 2011
Meriden YMCA Program Makes a Game of Working Out, Eating Right

Meriden YMCA Program Makes a Game of Working Out, Eating Right

MERIDEN - Gabriel Jimenez was working up a pretty good sweat dancing to a tune called "Move Your Belly" at the Meriden YMCA the other night. He was also having fun, and probably not too concerned that what he was doing is called Zumbatomic, a dance-fitness program for youngsters.

"It's kind of like a game," said Annie O'Farrill, the personal trainer who was leading the program. "It's making them have fun by taking the workout out of mind. It's very good for the kids."

Gabriel, who is 7, has also been wearing a pedometer, which measures how many steps he's taking every day.

"He's trying to beat me," said his mother, Yvonne Jimenez.

Yvonne Jimenez and her son are participating in a Y pilot program that aims to help Meriden families counteract the rise in childhood obesity. Six moms and their children, ranging in age from 7 to 10, are taking part in the pilot program.

Along with exercise, there's instruction about meal planning, nutrition and healthy eating habits. Before the start of the Zumba exercise, Y fitness director Carrie Marquardt had extolled the benefits of using a crock pot, which can help make preparing a nutritious meal quick and easy.

Portion sizes are as important as eating the right foods, Marquardt had said. "Most of us are eating too much."

"I want them to show us how to eat healthy," said Yvonne Jimenez. "The crock pot, wow, I haven't taken out my crock pot in years."

Eight-year-old Daniel Roldan said he'd had been watching Zumba classes and liked them so much he wanted to try it out.

"Already we're seeing some changes at home, like cutting down on portions and snacks," said his mother, Joan Roldan. "With this program you have more information about the choices you can make."

The rising rate of obesity in the general population is an increasing national concern. Childhood obesity is a particular worry because habits can be set for a lifetime. Obesity can lead to health problems — including type 2 diabetes — which increases health risks such as hypertension and heart disease. The financial impact of treating these health problems makes the rise of obesity an economic concern as well.

"We have a very disabled work force coming up," said Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, a surgeon in the weight loss program at MidState Medical Center. Benbrahim has volunteered his time to serve on the Y committee that developed the pilot program.

Benbrahim estimates that there are from 30,000 to 40,000 candidates for weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass, in New Haven, Middlesex and Hartford counties.

"We can do surgery night and day and we'll never fix the problem that way," he said. "The only way to beat it is to prevent it and the way to prevent it is with the kids."

Benbrahim said he likes the age range of the Y program, because "that's when the impact will be the greatest."

"We really need better leadership in all this," he said. "The resources are there, the will is there, and that's a good thing."

Kelly Miller, a MidState social worker who works with people before and following weight-loss surgery, said it was important to include families in the program. "I think that is a huge component," she said.

The habits that lead to becoming overweight and obese become like the DNA of behavior for young people, said Benbrahim, "and it's extremely difficult to change their behavior later." An estimated 17 percent of American children and teens are obese, a rate that's tripled from a generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 percent or greater, which would be 30 pounds overweight for a person 5 foot 4 inches.

Information from a community needs assessment by the city's health department indicates that Meriden children fall behind the state average when it comes to physical fitness. In 2006-07, for example, about 29 percent of Meriden fourth graders could pass four physical fitness tests, compared to the 36 percent Connecticut average. The Y's pilot program, which is called PACE, for physical activity changes everything, uses both before and after fitness testing, in flexibility, muscular strength, upper body strength and aerobics and endurance.

"Clearly, we're looking for improvement," said Maureen Suzio, vice president of the Y board of directors and head of the project committee. "We're not talking about a ton of weight loss."

The program received $25,000 funding from the Cuno Foundation, and matching funds from other donors. Organizers are hoping pilot program success will lead to additional funding. They're looking at starting another program at the end of March, said Suzio, and are also developing plans to turn the Y's multi-purpose room into a fitness arcade, which uses what's called "exergaming" equipment.

"We're learning as we go what's working with these kids," Suzio said.

While there are programs for younger kids and the fitness room for older teens, the Y in general struggles to serve those from 8 to 14, she said.

Exergaming combines what children typically go for in a big way, video gaming, with exercise. Upright bicycles are used in conjunction with a Playstation 3 system, for example. With a Lightspace Play Floor, children match steps with colored lighting on tiles.

The Y also emphasizes more traditional play, like running, swimming and soccer, much of which can also be encouraged at home.

Suzio said MidState had helped the Y identify "that there is a need out there."

"It's very much a Meriden issue," she said, adding that the Y "is ready to take a shot at providing a solution."

February 4, 2011
Go Red For Women!

Go Red For Women!

MERIDEN - Go Red Day encourages awareness of women and heart disease, and taking action to save more lives. Let's band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. The challenge: know your risk factors for heart disease and take action to reduce the risk. Lead a heart healthy life.

In 2010, the American Heart Association set a strategic goal of reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20% while improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by the year 2020. Let's join together to meet this goal!

February 2, 2011
Patients Report Less Pain After Robot-assisted Surgery

Patients Report Less Pain After Robot-assisted Surgery

MERIDEN - In 2001, a group of surgeons performed robot-assisted surgery to remove the gall bladder of a patient in a surgical ward in Strasbourg, France from an office building in New York City.

While surgeons at MidState Medical Center aren't performing surgeries 4,000 miles away, they are going the distance to implement the technology of surgical robotics in every facet possible. Robotics have assisted in general, prostate, gynecologic, laparoscopy and gastric bypass procedures at the hospital. MidState has been using the nearly $2 million da Vinci Surgical System for close to a year.

"I have been extremely surprised by the benefits that both the surgeons and patients have experienced thanks to robotic surgery," said Dr. Aziz Benbrahim, a surgeon and medical director of the Weight Management Program at MidState. Benbrahim has performed five robot-assisted gastric bypass surgeries, noting that not only his patient's pain and recovery times are significantly less, but his own.

"When I am performing surgery on a severely obese person, someone 300 pounds or more, I am pushing and pulling. My shoulders and my hands hurt. The robot helps to buffer that and in turn makes surgery less stressful." The three-armed da Vinci Surgical System takes the instruments out of the surgeon's hands. The system is controlled by the surgeon sitting at a console. The doctor peers through lenses that give a three-dimensional view of the inside of the patient's body. The surgeon uses hand and foot controls to operate the arms, which once inside the patient, open like the legs of a spider.

MidState has two consoles so another doctor may look on, though only one doctor has control of the robot. Though Benbrahim prefers to move the console so he is facing his patient, his hands never actually touch the patient. He says he has to assure patients that he is going to be just a few feet away and is always, if needed, able to switch off the robotic assistance, which he describes as "better than our hands."

The first robotic surgery performed at Mid State was a hysterectomy. Gynecologic surgeon Vincent Pepe still performs that procedure among an extensive list of others. "With each case you are learning something different and noticing the improvements. What we have now is the top of the line, state of the art equipment and the patients and office staff have noticed the difference," Pepe said.

On Jan. 12, 53 year-old Sandra Preston of Meriden remembers waking up after her hysterectomy performed by Pepe in nearly no pain. Today, just two weeks later, she is back on her feet and no longer taking pain medication. She has just five one-inch scars from the nearly eight-hour surgery.

"I didn't know anything about robotic surgery but I trusted Dr. Pepe to do whatever was the safest procedure. I've had several family members who have had a hysterectomy and they were cut up and in a lot of pain. I've had no pain in my stomach, just a little discomfort and swelling. I would sugges this for anyone who has a choice in the matter," Preston said.

February 2, 2011
MediQuick To Open at 11am Due To Inclement Weather

MediQuick To Open at 11am Due To Inclement Weather

MERIDEN - Due to the forecasted inclement weather, MediQuick Urgent Care, located on 61 Pomeroy Avenue in Meriden, will open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 2. Please stay tuned to your local news for the most updated information on storm closings and delays.

January 25, 2011
Parents of Bradley, MidState Affiliate

Parents of Bradley, MidState Affiliate

MERIDEN - Relations between Southington's Bradley Memorial Hospital and Meriden's MidState Medical Center are about to get a lot more friendly.

An affiliation between the hospitals' parent organizations, Hartford Health Care Corp. and the Central Connecticut Health Alliance, received approval from the Federal Trade Commission Thursday.

"It's done," said Clarence Silvia, president and chief executive of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, which includes Bradley and New Britain General. "There are no more approvals needed."

The affiliation with Hartford Health Care Corp. means the Hospital of Central Connecticut will operate under the same organizational umbrella as MidState.

Cost savings are a major benefit of the affiliation, Silvia said.

Compared to other hospitals in Connecticut, the Hospital of Central Connecticut has a high percentage of patients in government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, programs with lower reimbursement rates that fall below the costs of providingservices.Collaboration among health care organizations in the face of economic pressures has also been a trend. One of the reasons Bradley merged with New Britain General, in 2006, was that Bradley was no longer economically viable on its own.

Health care reform is also putting increased pressure on providers to shave costs and show results. Silvia said the affiliation will allow the organizations to share information technology and develop electronic medical records, which are seen as the foundation of significant reform.

Plans include a unified electronic records system that will allow Hartford Health Care affiliates to communicatedirectly with one another andeliminate duplicate testing.

"We also have the opportunity to share information and enhance the quality of care that we'll be able to provide in the community," Silvia said.

Being part of a larger organization will also improve the ability to recruit specialists. "Without a system we'd have a harder time doing it," Silvia said.

For MidState and Bradley, hospitals that have aggressively competed for patients, the affiliation provides the chance "to come together and see how we can jointly serve our communities," he said.

"We're going to be able to do more; one plus one is actually three in this instance," Silvia said.

The organizations proposed the affiliation in August 2009. It also needed approval by the state Office of Health Care Access.

Elliot Joseph, president and chiefexecutive of Hartford Health Care, said it was too early to say specifically what might be in store for Bradley under the affiliation.

"We should have a very good opportunity to see how to strengthen Bradley and improve services in the community," he said.

The affiliation will allow hospitals to share strengths, Joseph said.
Strengths he mentioned include the diabetes center at New Britain General and the cancer care at Hartford Hospital.

All told, the organizations spend about $340 million annually on supplies, he said. Even saving five percent of that under the affiliation would be significant. "That's real money," he said.

Economic development would also be a plus, he said. Hospitals are significant employers. New Britain General is the largest employer in its city, for example.

"By coming together and strengtheningour long-term viability, we're in a position to grow jobs," Joseph said.

Motorists along Interstate 691 are likely familiar with the dueling Mid-State and Hospital of Central Connecticut billboards near the downtown Meriden exit.

"I expect we're going to see a lot more collaboration," Joseph said when asked if those signs were likely to change.

Hartford Health Care also includes Windham Hospital, Natchaug Hospital, the Institute of Living, Clinical Laboratory Partners, Eastern Rehabilitation Network, Rushford and VNA Health Care.

Central Connecticut Health Alliance also includes Alliance Occupational Health, Central Connecticut Senior Health Services, Central Connecticut Physical Medicine and Central Connecticut VNA.

January 03, 2011
For Some it was a White (as in hospital white) Christmas

For some it was a white (as in hospital white) Christmas

MERIDEN - Illness doesn't stop on the holidays; it affects patients even on Christmas. Twenty of the 29 beds in Pavilion B, the surgical and oncology floor of Mid-State Medical Center, were filled Saturday, and those patients were taken care of by staff members who were scheduled to work on the holiday.

Abby Bruce, director of cancer care at MidState, said the staff is on a rotating schedule. Most don't work two Christmases in a row."I'm Jewish," Bruce said. "I'm on call every year. I don't mind; it's not my holiday. It's hard for the patients. It's hard for them to be in the hospital for the holidays."

Michele Wasef, a registered nurse, was at work by 6:45 a.m. She said she celebrated the holiday Friday night and would celebrate again when she returned home.

"I have a supportive family," Wasef said. "I come to work and my second family is here. It's nice to work with people you get along with."

Wasef has been working at Mid-State for the past twenty years and has worked her share of holidays. Saturday was a steady day, spent taking care of each patient's needs; some were in for orthopedic issues, some for cancer-related problems, some for surgical reasons.

"You have a different mindset in every room," she said. "You change modes."

In a break room, employees brought an array of pastries, cakes and other treats. Lisa Bacon, a nursing assistant, said there was a signup sheet for those wishing to bring some sort of food to celebrate the holiday. Dawn Litvinchyk, a secretary at MidState, was missing dinner with her mother, aunt, nieces and nephews, but was able to spend time with them Saturday morning. Her busy shift didn't start until 2 p.m. When she got in, phones needed to be answered, patients were being discharged and many were being admitted. She was also making sure patients enjoyed the holiday.

Throughout the day, families came through to visit their loved ones. Harold "Swanee" Swanson, 83, was resting in bed. Admitted to last week, he has been in out of the hospital for a variety of problems. His sister and brother-in-law, Gloria and Milton Contaras, were visiting. Gloria Contaras said they've seen Swanson every day.

"It's not bad," Gloria Contaras said, referring to being at the hospital on Christmas. She was wearing a red and white poinsettia sweater and her husband had donned a red T-shirt with the crew from the
"Peanuts" comic strip on it. "We see him get a little better each day," he said.

According to Swanson, he should be getting out of the hospital soon and was fortunate to get many visitors on Christmas Eve. Bruce said each patient on Saturday received a little gift with lunch. A small silver picture frame wrapped in festive tissue paper in a white bag sat on Swanson's tray.

"A lot of people are down and out and it's heartbreaking," Bruce said, referring to patients upset that they had to spend Christmas laid up in a hospital bed. Those who didn't have any family members visiting had Bob Sambone, a retired clinical social worker who volunteers his time on Tuesdays, Thursdays and holidays to spend time with patients.

"I sit and listen and keep them company," Sambone said. "We discuss concerns and I bring any problems to the nurses."

Sambone said bringing a patient a warm blanket can make all the difference in a patient's mood.

"I make them laugh and relax. We can sit and talk for five minutes or five hours."

Bruce said many people don't realize that a hospital is 24/7 thing, and there need to be doctors and nurses on duty to keep people healthy.

January 03, 2011
Pilates Class Helps Cancer Survivors

Pilates Class Helps Cancer Survivors

MERIDEN - After she became a certified Pilates instructor, Dr. Linda Durhan saw an opportunity to extend the practice to help breast-cancer survivors. So about five years ago Durhan, a radiologist at MidState Medical Center, launched an eight-week pilot program helped by some funding from the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation to support the development of integrated therapies.

"The first thing you lose when you get sick is your core," said Durhan. The system of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century is specifically aimed at core strengthening.

The class was so popular the participants didn't want to give it up, and so Durhan has been leading the weekly exercise regimen ever since, volunteering her time.

"Each woman found they'd gained strength and flexibility," said Durhan.

"People loved it so much they did not want to stop," she said.

The class, free of charge to participants, involves about a dozen women each week. Along with the benefits of the exercise, the class has also fostered a spirit of camaraderie and support, said Durhan.

"We've all bonded, and people have made friends," she said.

Durhan was recognized for her efforts during MidState's annual medical staff meeting, held earlier this month, in which she was one of four doctors presented with the hospital's physician awards. She earned the Matthew P. Campione Community Service award.

The award comes with $1,000, which Durhan plans to use to support her Pilates class.

"She's giving up her time and she's been giving up her time for years," said Kathy Clements, breastcare coordinator of the hospital's cancer center.

Following the pilot class, the hospital presented a poster at the National Conference on Breast Cancer, held in Las Vegas. The poster displayed findings that those participating in the class "had better energy and better quality of life," said Clements.

"They just had a positive experience," she said. Meriden resident Denise Rinaldi has been participating since the start. It was suggested to her after she'd gone through radiation treatment, she said.

Rinaldi said she's long been active in sports, playing softball and volleyball.

"I love my sports, but when I got through with radiation I struggled to do a sit-up," she said.

Pilates helped her keep up with all the activities that can become such a challenge, she said.

"It helps you keep your focus and your core strength," said Rinaldi.

Despite the challenge of keeping up with everything, Rinaldi said she makes sure she attends the class regularly.

"I force myself to come, because it's very important to me," she said. Clements noted that Durhan's volunteering of her time is no small commitment for a physician.

"They're crazy busy, and she's here every week," said Clements.

"She's here every week and they love it," she said. "It's not just the exercise piece, it's the support."

January 03, 2011
Baby Brooklyn is City's First Newborn of 2011

Baby Brooklyn is City's First Newborn of 2011

MERIDEN - A girl named for a borough of New York City was the first born in the city this year, to parents who were expecting her to come a little later than she did. Six-and-a-half-pound Brooklyn Reese Holzmiller slept quietly on New Years Day at MidState Medical Center in a small open incubator next to her mother, Tara Holzmiller. The Holzmillers have two other children: Brady, 3½ and McKenzie, 2, babies who were born a little later than their doctors had predicted.

But at 6:17 a.m. on 1/1/11, doctors delivered baby Brooklyn a bit earlier she was due on Jan. 17, her mother said. It was a big surprise for us, she said. I literally stood up from the couch at 10:30 last night and told my husband my water broke. We were watching the Peach Bowl then going to bed.

The parents from Rocky Hill, Tara and Augie, had decided to keep their baby's gender a secret after going for ultrasound screenings during the pregnancy, and thought the name Brooklyn would suit a boy or girl well.

We just liked the name; it wasnt connected to anything, Tara said. We didn't want to know what we were going to have. Augie, a security manager at the hospital for the past 22 years, said his first two children were a surprise too they agreed to have all three of their childrens genders remain a mystery until they were born, making the naming process a difficult but fun one, he said.

We each had veto power over the names, he said. But we took the secret for all three because it was an interesting way to do it. There aren't a whole lot of surprises in life. We thought it would be a good surprise."

Meanwhile, the baby girl will be guaranteed a lifetime of tremendous birthday parties, joked Augie. "It's going to be an easy one to remember," he said.

But Brooklyn wasn't the only New Year's baby born a little early - at the exact stroke of midnight, Brooklyn residents Helena Ross and Dwayne Andrews welcomed their daughter, Princess, into the world, making her New York City's first unofficial New Year's baby for 2011. The little girl, born in a Brooklyn hospital, was a month early and weighed 6½ pounds, according to the New York Daily News.