Celebrating Great Leaders

Mary BlanksonToday, at CHC, we celebrate two extraordinary leaders.  Our Chief Nursing Officer, Mary Blankson, received her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Johns Hopkins University today after completing her capstone, DNP capstone entitled: “Increasing Identification and Treatment Referral of Individuals with Hepatitis C (HCV) in the Primary Care Setting Through Clinical Dashboards”

yvettephotoAlso today, our Vice President, Eastern Region, Yvette Highsmith Francis was recognized at the YWCA New Britain’s 16th biennial women in leadership luncheon for her long and distinguished career of service around a common theme of commitment to community, ending health disparities, and promoting civic engagement.


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New Onsite Medical Directors in New London and Groton

Below is an email from our Chief Medical Officer, Veena Channamsetty, MD, adapted for the blog.

Good Morning Everyone:

I’m excited to announce the selection of two new Onsite Medical Directors (OSMD) for CHC.  Dr. Mariana Salas has accepted the OSMD role for New London and Patricia Swim has accepted the OSMD role for Groton.

Dr. Mariana Salas joined CHC in 2013 after completing her Family Practice Residency at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN where she received the Community Service Award. Dr. Salas completed medical school at Meharry Medical College, School of Medicine.

Patricia Swim has been with CHC since 2013 after yeas of experience in multiple primary care forums including other Federally Qualified Heath Centers, School Based Health Centers, and many years of of practice as a Registered Nurse. She is a true Connecticut local, having gone to college in CT, before completing her BS in Nursing at the University of Connecticut and her MSN at Quinnipiac University.

Since joining CHC two years ago, Dr. Salas has been practicing at the New London Site and Patricia has been practicing at the Groton site. Both come with a passion for primary care and our population and have worked diligently to support and build their patient panels gaining the respect and confidence of their patients, colleagues and peers.

New London County has busy and growing sites and I want to thank Mary Blankson for her dedicated leadership at both New London and Groton these past years! As we recognize the need for expanded on site leadership, we made the decision to create two OSMDs. I am always humbled by the talent and commitment of our providers! I know both Dr. Salas and Patricia will be wonderful leaders.

Please join me in congratulating both Dr. Salas and Patricia Swim in their new roles as the OSMD in New London and Groton.

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Weitzman Weekly

Spotlight: eConsults with Jose Villagra

Jose Villagra

One of the biggest problems today is that the demand for specialty care services far exceeds the supply. However, most people waiting to see specialists do not really need to be seen. I talked to Jose Villagra, Project Manager of eConsults, to learn more about how eConsults is improving patient access to specialty care.

Electronic consultations offered through eConsults allow patients to get advice from specialists within a few days rather than a couple of weeks or even months. When a primary care provider (PCP) identifies abnormalities outside the scope of their practice, they can initiate a referral to a specialist. If the problem is not urgent, the case is sent to a specialist to review. Specialists can then offer a follow-up plan for the PCP that may range from procedures and medications to recommendations to see a specialist face to face.

How to send an eConsult:

1)      PCP identifies condition that may need specialty care

2)      Initiation of eConsult:econsults

  • Place a referral in eCW (the electronic health record system)
  • Referral coordinator creates an eConsult using a secure, HIPAA compliant web-based platform (Safety Net Connect)
  • Explain the abnormalities and send any relevant information (e.g., chart notes, lab results, pictures)

3)      Wait for specialist to respond and relay that information to the primary care provider who in turn notifies the patient

In less than one month since full implementation, there has already been 75 eConsults sent with only four were recommended for face-to-face visits. This means that 95% of patients referred through eConsults were able to avoid wasting time waiting for a specialist and the costs associated with seeing a specialist. In addition, the average response time for specialists has been less than one day. Among the features that makes the eConsults program at the Weitzman Institute unique is that it crosses state borders. Currently, WI partners with the largest FQHC in Maine, Penobscot Community Health Care. With more partnerships WI plans to expand the New England eConsult Network (NEECN). Specialists are providing care regardless of geographical location, there was even an eConsult response received from France. Currently, Weitzman offers Cardiology and Dermatology consultations. However, Weitzman is hoping to expand to include Pain Management and Orthopedics in the near future.

The eConsults project has garnered support from many providers and specialist who help to make it successful. Jose Villagra’s leadership has been crucial to the development and success of this program. If you would like to know more about it, contact Jose at VillagJ@chc1.com or NEECN@chc1.com 

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Margaret Anderson, Executive Director of FasterCures

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Margaret Anderson, Executive Director of FasterCures, an action tank dedicated to saving lives by speeding up and improving medical research systems. They discuss the ongoing threat to NIH research due to funding reductions, but also the game changing potential of new technologies and increased patient engagement to advance biomedical research.

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Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the journal of the American Psychiatric Association. He discusses their recent publication, “Understanding Mental Disorders” which is a layperson’s guide to diagnoses listed in the DSM-5.

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Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children, an independent non-profit organization meeting the basic health, education and nutritional needs of over 140 million children worldwide. Ms. Miles discusses the myriad humanitarian crises the world’s children are currently facing in war zones, refugee camps and infectious disease outbreaks.

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Earthquake in Nepal – Relief Effort


Here at CHC, we are driven by the belief that health care is a right, not a privilege.  We work tirelessly to care for the underserved in our state.  At times, disasters occur beyond Connecticut that remind us of us of how fragile life is and the global need to care for one another.

We have viewed with shock and sadness the devastation of parts of Nepal from a powerful earthquake.  We truly are a global community, and many of us have friends or family in Nepal.  I have been asked what we can do to help, so I’m sending this along a list of organizations you may want to consider contributing to.

Please keep the people of Nepal, as well as those with loved ones in Nepal in your thoughts during this difficult time.

Save the Children: savethechildren.org

Doctors Without Borders: donate.doctorswithoutborders.org

Red Cross: redcross.org

CARE: care.org

United Nations World Food Program: wfp.org

Unicef: unicef.org

Oxfam: oxfamamerica.org

Habitat for Humanity International: habitat.org

Mercy Corps: mercycorps.org

Global Giving: globalgiving.org

AmeriCares: americares.org

Catholic Relief Services: crs.org

Lutheran World Relief: lwr.org

American Jewish World Service: ajws.org

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: jdc.org

The Jewish Federations of North America: jewishfederations.org

World Vision: worldvision.org

The Salvation Army: salvationarmyusa.org

International Medical Corps: internationalmedicalcorps.org

Handicap International: handicap-international.us

Samaritan’s Purse: samaritanspurse.org

SOS: Children’s Villages International: sos-childrensvillages.org

MAP International: mapinternational.org

Peace and Health

Mark Masselli
Community Health Center,Inc

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Dr. Glenn Steele, President and CEO of Geisinger Health System

This week, Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Glenn Steele, President and CEO of Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, a physician-led, integrated health system serving 2.8 million patients across 44 counties. Dr. Steele discusses Geisinger’s integrated health services organization lauded for its innovative care delivery models and cost containment strategies that have yielded better outcomes and high-value care.

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Dr. Kyu Rhee, Vice President of Integrated Health Services at IBM

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Kyu Rhee, IBM’s Vice President of Integrated Health Services and medical adviser to Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing system which has been adapted for health care. Dr. Rhee discusses Watson’s ability to cognitively adapt to new information and as well as  the new partnerships formed with Apple, Johnson and Johnson and others to scale up the aggregation and analysis of big health data in the clinical and research settings.

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Dr. Larry Chu, Founder and Executive Director of Stanford Medicine X

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Larry Chu, anesthesiologist and Professor at the Stanford School of Medicine where is also Founder and Executive Director of Stanford Medicine X, a yearly conference created to bring providers, patient groups and designers together to catalyze the development of patient-centered health technologies.

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