CHA's 99th Annual Meeting: Building a Healthier Connecticut

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Jackson, CEO, CHA, discussed the focus of the membership over the last year.

"We have deepened our commitment to patient safety through high reliability and building a culture of patient-centered care," she said.  "We’ve taken innovative steps to work collectively to improve population health and health equity, focusing on eliminating disparities, enhancing care coordination, and recognizing and addressing social determinants of health."

After the business meeting, which included the presentation of the Annual Meeting awards, attendees heard from guest speaker Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at the Washington Post and MSNBC analysist.  Mr. Robinson’s column is syndicated in 145 newspapers across the nation and, in his three decades at the Washington Post, he has worked as a city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor. 

Mr. Robinson, who said he believes the U.S. is in the midst of the kind of  “political realignment” that only happens once or twice a century, discussed the uncompromising nature of our political discourse – which he blamed on both political parties.

“We don’t disagree with our political opponents, we demonize them.  And when we demonize them, we dehumanize them.  And when we dehumanize them, we relieve ourselves of the responsibility of treating them like human beings,” Mr. Robinson said.  “I believe that all of us could be more respectful, more civil, less tribal, and could be more ecumenical.  Today, in the aftermath of the shooting [of Senator Scalise], you saw glimmers of it in Washington.  We have a long way to go, but maybe a horrible incident of the sort will serve to remind members of Congress they are all there to do good, and that they actually like each other in many cases.  Almost more important than reminding themselves of that fact is displaying to the country something different from the adamant refusal to talk to each other and the denial of the other person’s right to hold a different opinion.”

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


CHA Welcomes the Newly Elected Members of its Board of Trustees

At the CHA Annual Meeting on June 14, members elected trustees and officers for the CHA 2017­-2018 Board of Trustees. 

Marna P. Borgstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Health, was elected Secretary and Chairman of the Committee on Government.  John M. Murphy, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Western Connecticut Health Network, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Patient Care Quality.  Christopher M. Dadlez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trinity Health ­Of New England, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Population Health.  Elliot T. Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Hartford HealthCare, was elected Chairman of the Committee on Hospital Finance. 

Newly elected or re­elected trustees include: Rohit Bhalla, MD, Vice President of Quality, Chief Quality Officer, Stamford Hospital; Elliot T. Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Hartford HealthCare; Bimal Patel, President, Hartford HealthCare East Region; and John F. Rodis, MD, President, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

Other members of the 2017-­2018 CHA Board include: Chairman David A. Whitehead, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Hartford HealthCare; Treasurer Christopher M. O’Connor, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Yale New Haven Health; Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO, CHA; DNS Board Chairman Patrick A. Charmel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Griffin Hospital; CEO Forum Chairman Kurt A. Barwis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bristol Hospital; Vincent G. Capece Jr., President and CEO, Middlesex Hospital; Judith A. Carey, RSM, PhD, Board Member, Trinity Health Of New England; Anne Diamond, JD, CNMT, Chief Executive Officer, UConn John Dempsey Hospital; Jeffrey A. Flaks, President and Chief Operating Officer, Hartford HealthCare; William M. Jennings, President and CEO, Bridgeport Hospital; James E. Mitchell, PhD, Board Secretary, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital; James E. Shmerling, DHA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; and Colleen O. Smith, RN, Healthcare Consultant, Nursing Consultant Partners.

CHA is grateful for their valuable service and important contributions.


CHA Awards Celebrate Healthcare Leaders and Heroes

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, the Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, hospital leaders, and a host of healthcare heroes were honored at the CHA Annual Meeting.

CHA presented Lawrence + Memorial Hospital with the 2017 John D. Thompson Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Healthcare Through the Use of Data for its project, Breathe Well * Respira Bien intervention program.  Read more here.  Watch a video about the project here.



CHA and the Connecticut Department of Public Health presented the Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging with the 2017 Connecticut's Hospital Community Service Award for its free resource and assessment center for seniors and their families.  Read more here.  Watch a video about the winner here.


The American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award, created to recognize hospital leaders who effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect the hospital's vital role in the community, was presented to Kurt Barwis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bristol Hospital.  Read more here.  Watch a video here.

CHA also awarded Bruce D. Cummings, who served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for 11 years, with the T. Stewart Hamilton, MD, Distinguished Service Award.  Mr. Cummings is the Immediate Past Chairman of the CHA Board.  The award, introduced in 1970, is granted to individuals who “contribute significant, noteworthy services to the health of the public.”  Read more here.  Watch a video here.

An inspiring and committed group of 11 Healthcare Heroes were honored this year. Read more about them by clicking here.  (Left to right, Mary Angelucci, RN; Patrick Broderick, MD, FACEP; Philip Corvo, MD, MA, FACS; C. Steven Wolf, MD; Mary Guglielmo and Mary Alsing; Marilyn Faber, BSN, RN; Shawn Maynard; Shanon Pereira, RN.  Missing from the photo are Elizabeth Lanham, APRN; Adam Silverman, MD; and Amy Wright.)


Congratulations to all CHA award winners.


Update Summer Schedule

CHA Update will be published on a bi-weekly schedule throughout the summer, returning after Labor Day to a regular weekly schedule on Thursday, September 7, 2017.