Primary Care Innovator, Dr. Ed Wagner, on Patient-Centered, Coordinated Health Care Models

Ed WagnerThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Ed Wagner of the Kaiser Permanente Health Research Institute, and founder of the McColl Center for Health Innovation, where he focused on improving primary care. Dr. Wagner is the creator of the Chronic Care Model of patient management, and co-directs the LEAP project at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which conducts research on patient-centered, coordinated and team-based approaches to improving primary care delivery and outcomes.

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Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles Examines Threats to Children in “End of Childhood” Report

Carolyn MilesThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, on the plight of children in the US and around the world. She discusses their new report on the “End of Childhood” and the ongoing threat to child wellbeing due to war, the refugee crisis, and lack of access to education and other opportunities due to growing global disparities.

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Crucial Questions for Healthcare Providers and Their Patients

Wanda Montalvo, PhD, RNWanda Montalvo, RN, PhD, associate director of the Weitzman Institute, recently responded to an article in the New York Times titled “Gay and Transgender Patients to Doctors:  We’ll Tell. Just Ask”

All members of the healthcare team — not just doctors and not just in the emergency department — should know their patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Without that information, the LGBT population continues to be hidden, unable to access competent primary care.

We know that normalizing SOGI questions — making them a regular part of patient demographics —reduces stigma and makes everyone more comfortable. During our year-long initiative working with community health centers to identify LGBT people, we saw tremendous progress. When the initiative began in March 2016, the combined health centers had SOGI information on 3,584 of their patients, 4.6 percent of the total. In March 2017, after our work with clinicians and staff to change their heteronormative assumptions and their practice patterns, they had gathered information on 205,738 patients, or 50.8 percent.

The takeaway is clear. SOGI questions need to be asked early, as part of the regular patient history, by appropriate health care staff, not just doctors.

Montalvo was principal investigator on the initiative to identify and welcome LGBT people into primary care funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Fenway Institute and the Weitzman institute.

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Thomas Miller, Health Analyst for American Enterprise Institute Discusses Market-Driven Approach to Health Reform

Tom MillerThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Thomas Miller, health industry analyst and Resident Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute which has analyzed a market-based and consumer-driven approach to health reform. Mr. Miller analyzes likely next steps in Congress surrounding the American Health Care Act, as well as the hallmarks of market driven health care.

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Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine

Victor DzauThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine (the former Institute of Medicine) a private, non-profit entity dedicated to tackling the nation’s complex problems in medicine, technology and science. Dr. Dzau talks about the Academy’s shift towards more cooperation between the scientific disciplines to advance evidence-based research that will inform the health care providers and policy makers around the country and the world.

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Examining Oral Health Disparities in America with Author Mary Otto

Mary OttoThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with health journalist and author Mary Otto about her book, “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America” which she explores the huge gap in access to dental care in this country. She examines the sometimes deadly consequences for those lacking access to care, and solutions that could help alleviate the nation’s unmet oral health needs.

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Renowned Addiction Specialist, Dr. John F. Kelly of Massachusetts General on Treating Addiction as a Chronic Disease

John F. KellyThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. John F. Kelly, renowned addiction expert and Founder and Director of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kelly has done extensive research on evidence-based treatments for addiction disorders and recommends a comprehensive, chronic disease management approach to addiction treatment and recovery.

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Nightingale Award Recognition

By: Mary Blankson, Chief Nursing Officer

Every year during National Nurses’ Week we have the opportunity to nominate nurses for the state Nightingale Awards. This year, I have the great honor of sharing that 2 of our nurses are being recognized tonight at the Hartford Nightingale Award Recognition night.

This recognition night was started approximately 17 years ago to celebrate outstanding nurses and elevate the nursing profession. It is a night where the breadth of nursing roles are recognized: specialty, acute, homecare and of course the role that we are so dedicated to, the role of the primary care nurse.

Our First Recipient comes out of our newest site, Hartford. For over 20 years, Carolyn Reading has devoted her career to caring for the children of Hartford (one of the poorest cities in the country for children). Carolyn is well-known not only for her superb nursing skills – attention to detail, knowledge of protocols and procedures, respect and caring for the patient and family – but also for her boundless energy, efficiency, pro-active approach and willingness to go above-and-beyond. Carolyn served for many years as “Resource Nurse” for Hartford’s busy urban clinic – leading the team by example, solving problems, and staying late to be sure the job was done right. Carolyn is especially valued by her team members for her nursing expertise in working with adolescents. Over two decades ago, Carolyn saw the need to expand her skills and improve the services delivered in Hartford to teens, to better address problems such as teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse and depression in our urban, low income, heavily disadvantaged teen population. Carolyn’s non-judgmental approach and ability to connect with adolescents helps teens understand that she can be trusted with their concerns and relied upon to help find solutions. Her skill and sensitivity is especially apparent when caring for Hartford’s many teens who have complex medical and psychosocial problems.

Needless to say, she has been and continues to be a huge asset to the team in Hartford—and to the larger CHC team of nurses—I am so excited to have her as a part of the CHC family and to celebrate her across the agency!  Carolyn, thank you for all you do for our kids and for your team! I am hopeful that you will share your expertise as we look to incorporate more pediatric training for all of our nurses to better prepare them for caring for our children with complex needs across the agency!

Our second recipient of the night is none other than Sarahi Almonte, our new Nurse Manager for our Middletown site. Sarahi came to Community Health Center, Inc. in 2014 having spent time in a variety of non-nursing settings, including politics and community organizing. So, as a second career nurse, she brings a diverse skill set to our complex primary care environment here at CHC.  Sarahi worked first in our Meriden office as a staff nurse, and then after displaying talents in leadership, she quickly moved into a Nurse Supervisor position in our Bristol office. Most recently she has transitioned into a Nurse Manager role at our flagship site, supporting a diverse group of medical assistants and nurses who provide primary care services, including pediatrics, adult and prenatal care, along with complex care management. She is the “go-to” person for quality improvement activities, including her tireless efforts to focus on improving the overall cultural competency of our staff, along with enhancing teamwork and exploring initiatives to improve nursing retention. She has fully embraced our Complex Care Management program, and is dedicated to supporting other nurses who are developing their skill in this area, even leading a didactic for the nursing staff this coming fall. She has a way of making patients want to take better care of themselves and we have seen a number of uncontrolled hypertensive and diabetic patients committing to taking their medications and making lifestyle changes.  Patients who suffer from anxiety have engaged with behavioral health thanks to Sarahi’s engagement and support.  She is a born leader and an amazing team player. Whenever she sees staff that are struggling she reaches out and will do whatever she can to help.  Sarahi, I look forward to continuing to work with you and supporting the hopes and dreams you have for our staff—everything from enhancing how we interact with patients in Complex Care Management, to starting a nurse residency here at CHCI—let’s continue to dream big dreams for our nurses here at CHCI!


Congratulations to you both—I am so proud!

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National Nurses Week

Mary Blankson, Chief Nursing Officer

May 6th marked the beginning of a week-long celebration of nursing.  Every year I get the great privilege of kicking off the week with a resounding thank you to all the nurses for all they do every single day! I know that all of us here at CHC have experienced the care, expertise, and compassion of a nurse either at work here at CHC, in our personal life, or the lives of one of our loved ones.

In reflecting back on my almost 3 years as chief nursing officer, I am reminded of the ways CHC has grown and changed to better serve our complex and ever growing population of patients. We have nurses everywhere at the health center, including our staff nurses, staff LPNs, Nurse Managers and Supervisors, APRN residents, Family, Adult, Pediatric, Psychiatric and School-based health center APRNs, Nurse Researchers, Nurse Leaders, a Nurse Midwife, quality improvement nurses and so many more! We are in every part of the state—from Hartford and Enfield, all the way down to Fairfield County and New London County. We should all be celebrating the impact of nurses on the care that we deliver every day —as our nurses work hard to ensure better, more robust care for our patients.  They have an increased awareness and interest in training the next generation of care team members in high quality primary care, and they contribute to the development of innovative practices and interventions that set a national standard for what we know should be the model of care everywhere!

We continue to be proud of our innovations including: The celebration of the 10th year of our APRN residency program (the first in the nation), the continued implementation of the nation’s first dedicated education unit for baccalaureate nursing students focused on primary care, the completion of the first two years of curriculum for our Complex Care Management Project ECHO Program, our LPNs continuing to expand their practice, including delivering medical services to patients here to see their behavioral health and dental providers, the continued expansion of our SBHCs and even the continued work we have done through our National Cooperative Agreement to support other health centers around the country to implement team-based care or  their very own residency program.

I am sure there are so many more innovations!

The nursing role here at CHC will continue to evolve and expand as we continue our firm dedication to setting a national standard, sharing that standard—and creating partnerships with like-minded folks all across the nation!

It is truly a great honor to recognize every CHC nurse this week—and I hope you will all join me in thanking a nurse near you for their dedication and commitment to all we do!

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Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, Author of “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back”

Elisabeth RosenthalThis week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and author of “An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back”, a critical look at the high cost of American health care. Dr. Rosenthal examines the evolution of the profit driven American health system, and the role patients can play in re-gaining control of some of these costs.

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