Midstate News

Below is the latest MidState Medical Center news stories for the current year. Click the [+] next to each title to view that story. You may also visit the the news archive to view stories that occurred prior to this year.


April 10, 2014
Wallingford firefighters hold 3rd Annual Riders for Rick Fundraiser to Benefit The Cancer Center at MidState

Wallingford firefighters hold 3rd Annual Riders for Rick Fundraiser to Benefit The Cancer Center at MidState

The firefighters of the Wallingford Fire Department are again gearing up for an exciting fundraiser that will benefit The Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center. The fundraiser, known as Riders for Rick, a motorcycle poker run, was initiated by late Wallingford firefighter and former ED employee, Rick Garrison. This year it will be held in his honor and is hosted by his son, Jeremy Garrison.

The poker run is set for Saturday, June 7, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Riders who wish to participate will enjoy 90 miles of scenic Connecticut with stops at the North Branford Fire Department, Gillette Castle, Winchester's, and MidState Medical Center. The ride will conclude with a picnic back at PNA Park in Wallingford. There will be a DJ, live comedian and musician, moonwalk for the kids, 50/50 raffle and more.

Cost is $25 per rider or $35 for a rider with a passenger; $10 for picnic only. For more information, please contact Jeremy Garrison at 203-675-5206 or info@ridersforrick.com.


April 7, 2014
MidState Medical Center Holds Three Free Skin Cancer Screenings in May

MidState Medical Center Holds Three Free Skin Cancer Screenings in May

MidState Medical Center will hold its annual skin cancer screenings again this May. The three dates for 2014 are:

  • Tuesday, May 6: 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
  • Monday, May 19: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 22: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The screenings will be held right at MidState Medical Center on 435 Lewis Avenue in The Cancer Center's radiation therapy office. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. It is highly treatable if found early, making early detection extremely important. Do you have a suspicious mole? Take 10 minutes to do something that could save your life - it's quick, painless and free! Please call 203 694 8631 to reserve your spot. Space is limited.


March 17, 2014
MidState Medical Center Launches New Service to Better Manage Concussions

MidState Medical Center Launches New Service to Better Manage Concussions

School-aged athletes across central Connecticut will now have access to comprehensive concussion management services thanks to MidState Medical Center and its partner Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network. MidState is set to open a Concussion Clinic located at 680 S. Main Street in Cheshire on March 31.

The Concussion Clinic is directed by Dr. Subramani Seetharama, a physiatrist and sports medicine specialist with highly specialized training and certification in concussion management.

School-aged athletes who have had a concussion will receive comprehensive evaluation at the clinic that includes: a history of the injury, symptom overview, testing to check physical characteristics that can be disrupted by concussion, and a follow-up action plan that is individualized to the athletes' needs. Many athletes note that their symptoms interfere with academic performance and limit participation in activities, so special attention will be paid to return-to-sports/play with referral to other specialists if needed.

Dr. Seetharama will be seeing patients on Monday evenings from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call 203-.694-8269 for an appointment.


February 24, 2014
An Honest Look at Mental Health

An Honest Look at Mental Health


The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is hosting the next event in the Connecticut Forum lineup: "An Honest Look at Mental Health" on March 7, 2014 at 8 p. m. at Hartford's Bushnell Memorial Auditorium. For more information or tickets, call 860.509.0909, or click here.


December 16, 2013
Three MidState Medical Center Physicians Named 2013 Physician Award Winners

Three MidState Medical Center Physicians Named 2013 Physician Award Winners

On Dec. 12, three more MidState Medical Center physicians joined a proud tradition at the hospital, by becoming the latest members of the medical staff to earn Physician Recognition Awards. Hospitalist Dr. Mark Schaner earned The Joseph Goodman Clinical Collaboration and Teamwork Award. Dr. Mark Ludwig, a pathologist, was named the recipient of The Daniel Kahn Clinical Quality Award, and radiologist Dr. Gary Dee was recognized with The David Park Leadership Award.

Nominations for the awards came from the entire MidState community including colleagues, staff, patients and patients' family members. In addition to the winners, several other distinguished physicians were honored for having been nominated.

The winners were cited for their many notable accomplishments:

Mark Ludwig, MD
Daniel Kahn, MD Clinical Quality Award

Dr. Mark Ludwig has been on MidState's medical staff since 1999. Over the course of the last 14 years, he has put quality care at the forefront of his practice, in particular working to ensure that MidState provides superior cancer care. He served as a member of the Medical Quality Management Committee from 2008-2012; has been a member of the Clinical Quality Council since its inception in 2012; has been the Division Director of Pathology since 2008; and is involved in all of the multi-disciplinary cancer committees and system-wide initiatives designed to promote excellent cancer care. Moreover, he goes above and beyond expectations in providing timely and high-quality pathology reporting and integration into cancer care planning. Even with these notable distinctions, one nominator noted that he is "humble, unassuming, and has the highest integrity."

Mark Schaner, MD
Joseph Goodman, MD Clinical Collaboration & Teamwork Award

Dr. Mark Schaner has been a member of the medical staff since 2011. In less than three short years, he has had a profound impact on his patients and his colleagues. His nominations came from members of the healthcare team, and those who have seen first-hand his caring nature that is so representative of Dr. Goodman. One nominator wrote, "In all of my 33 years of service with MidState Medical Center, Dr. Goodman's care and compassion has always been the gold standard. It was not until this year that I finally met a doctor with very similar traits." This year's awardee is cited as one who looks at the whole person and goes above and beyond to help his patients. Another nominator stated that anyone in this physician's care is in the "best of hands." In keeping with the attributes of this award, our winner this year is also praised for coordinating care among a variety of different disciplines in a smooth and calming fashion. He makes sure he speaks with all of the nurses and specialty physicians so that everyone is on the same page. He is respected and admired as a physician who has gone into medicine for the right reason: to give excellent, compassionate care.

Gary Dee, MD
David W. Parke, MD Leadership Award

The spirit of Dr. Gary Dee can be summed up in one sentence written by a fellow nominator: "You can't push people to believe in or want to work towards an organizational vision or goals, but rather, one of the qualities of great leadership is that you guide, lead, and inspire people to want to participate." Dr. Dee has been on staff with MidState since 1985, and truly lives out the qualities of leadership. He is cited for his tremendous vision, a characteristic that is so important as we face changes in healthcare today. He is an advocate of continuing education, and serves as Quinnipiac University's Medical Director for the Diagnostic Imaging Program. He was also bestowed as a Fellow of the American College of Radiology (ACR), and within the ACR, is a counselor to the Leadership Committee and frequently lobbies on Capitol Hill in Washington and locally in Hartford as a voice for physicians and hospitals. Additionally, he serves as the IPA Treasurer; is President of the Connecticut Radiology Society; is appointed Vice Chair for the Clinical Integration Committee of Hartford HealthCare; is a member of the CEO-Physician Committee; a board member for the Clinical Coordination Committee; a director of the PACS Integration Committee; and a member of the IT Taskforce for Hartford HealthCare.


November 20, 2013
MidState Medical Center Unveils New Hybrid Operating Room

MidState Medical Center Unveils New Hybrid Operating Room

The world's next generation of imaging and surgical technology arrived in Connecticut on Oct. 29 with the opening of MidState Medical Center's sophisticated new hybrid operating room. MidState is one of only four centers in the country to have the advanced system, known as a GE Discovery IGS 730.

The new hybrid O.R. features advanced imaging capabilities that allow MidState vascular surgeons to perform a wide range of complex vascular and endovascular procedures with unprecedented precision and safety. "With this technology, we can create three-dimensional images and use them to navigate in real time as we operate," says Jonathan Hasson, M.D., the leader of MidState's vascular program. "We always draw from our knowledge and extensive previous experience, but improved imaging provides an added layer of certainty. It helps us more intelligently prune our decision tree as we operate."

The system's superior imaging contributes to shorter procedures, less use of contrast medium and reduced radiation exposure. "That's great for the patient and great for the surgical team," Dr. Hasson says.

The hybrid O.R. is ideal for a variety of interventional and minimally invasive procedures, including angiography, coiling of aneurysms, endovascular repairs of the aorta or the carotid artery, stenting, and nonsurgical treatment of complex peripheral vascular disease, including limb salvage and diabetic foot problems. Because the imaging capability is so advanced, doctors can better treat conditions such as blood clots in deep veins or the lungs.

One major advantage of the hybrid O.R. is that patients can be diagnosed and treated in one sitting, so they have anesthesia only once. Another is that, if a procedure can't be completed using an endovascular approach, the surgical team can immediately convert to conventional, open surgery without having to schedule a second procedure and anesthetize the patient a second time. "The beauty of the hybrid O.R. is that it offers the highest level of sterility. Because of that, and because we always have an anesthesiologist present, we can perform endovascular and open procedures right in the same room," Dr. Hasson explains.

The Discovery IGS 730 is the world's first mobile interventional imaging system. It employs a C-arm configuration that allows X-rays of the patient to be done during the procedure. While in older systems, the C-arm is fixed to the floor or ceiling, the Discovery IGS 730 has the C-arm mounted on a laser-guided "robot" that can be rolled into place when needed, repositioned as required and then moved completely out of the surgical area when not in use. "This is a major advantage, because it frees up space around the patient," Dr. Hasson says. "With the C-arm out of the way, the surgical team has unobstructed access to the patient. The anesthesiologist, for example, can manage the patient's airway without having to work inside the C-arm." The new C-arm can also accommodate larger patients.

The hybrid O.R. was acquired to meet the needs of MidState's communities. Dr. Hasson expects that the room will be used for approximately 800 procedures in its first year. "This facility is a testament to this hospital's commitment to being at the forefront of cutting-edge technology," Dr. Hasson says.


November 15, 2013
New Stretcher Allows Quicker Lifestar Trip from Meriden to Hartford

New Stretcher Allows Quicker Lifestar Trip from Meriden to Hartford

Eric Vo / Record-Journal
Hartford Hospital and Midstate Medical Center staff members stand in front of Life Star and Midstate's new stretcher. The new stretcher is fully compatible with Life Star and would allow patients with ST-elevated myocardial infarctions to be transferred to Hartford Hospital quicker.


A new stretcher that is compatible with Life Star will allow MidState Medical Center to cut between four to eight minutes in the amount of time it takes to transfer STEMI patients from the local hospital to Hartford Hospital, ultimately increasing their chances of survival.

Patients that have a ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, require quick treatment because a specific blockage prevents blood from circulating in one of the heart's main arteries. With the blockage, the heart can't receive the appropriate oxygen supply from the blood, causing irreparable damage to the heart. MidState receives between four to six of these patients a month, according to Lynn Amarante, assistant vice president of emergency services at MidState.

The new stretchers, which cost $14,500 a piece, will allow MidState staff to prepare the patient to be transferred to Hartford by Life Star without having to waste time switching stretchers. A routine stretcher at MidState won't fit in the helicopter, according to George Spivack, of the Cardiology Association of Central Connecticut. Spivack added that transferring a patient from one stretcher to another isn't as simple as picking them up and moving them because of equipment such as IVs.

After a patient is diagnosed with an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, the call to Life Star is made "very quickly," according to Robert Golub, a cardiologist. Golub compared the quicker process to how the military operates. Because hospital staff doesn't have to worry about moving the patient from one stretcher to another, Life Star can conduct a "hot landing," where the engines and rotors aren't turned off, according to Donald Lombino, medical director in the Emergency Department at MidState.

"It's like the military where a helicopter lands and it doesn't turn off. It lands and then moves," he said.

In the military, it's called the "golden hour," Golub described, where pilots have a one hour window to pick up wounded soldiers and transfer them to receive treatment. With a quicker process to transfer patients from Meriden to Hartford, Golub says staff operates on the "golden 90-minutes."

If a patient is transferred to Hartford and a balloon is inserted to open the blocked artery within 90-minutes, it decreases the chance their heart will become damaged, Golub said.

Spivak said MidState's ultimate goal is to get STEMI patients in and out the hospital's door on the way to Hartford within 30 minutes or less. That time frame gives the patient a greater chance of survival, he added.

MidState presently has four stretchers, and there are plans to acquire more in the future, according to Amarante.


September 17, 2013
Hartford HealthCare Selected to Be First MSK Cancer Alliance Member

Hartford HealthCare Selected to Be First MSK Cancer Alliance Member

View the video of the event.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center today launched a transformative initiative to improve the quality of cancer care and the lives of cancer patients. Hartford HealthCare, a multi-hospital health care system in Connecticut, was selected as a pioneering member of the newly formed Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Alliance.

The joint announcement, made in Hartford by leaders of the two organizations, comes after year-long discussions resulting in a distinctive clinical and research partnership built to rapidly move innovative, evidence-based cancer care into the community setting and enable bi-directional learning across the institutions.

"For more than a century, Memorial Sloan-Kettering has delivered exceptional cancer care and generated the discoveries necessary to develop effective new treatments. Today, we recognize the need to do more," said Craig Thompson, MD, President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "Through the MSK Cancer Alliance-and in collaboration with Hartford HealthCare as a pioneering member-we are looking to create a new model to address the fundamental challenge of providing high-quality cancer care in a wider population of patients."

"It's an honor to be selected as the first partner of the MSK Cancer Alliance," said Elliot Joseph, President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare. "Memorial Sloan-Kettering chose Hartford HealthCare because of our dedication to delivering high-quality, consistent care across the state and because of the proven expertise of our physicians and medical teams. This will save lives by bringing evidence-based, world-class standards to our entire provider network. We are proud to be the model on which the MSK Cancer Alliance will grow."

The MSK Cancer Alliance is designed to enable an ongoing, "living, breathing" dynamic partnership between the comprehensive cancer center and community oncology providers, in order to bring the newest knowledge into the community setting.

"Currently, the vast majority of cancer care in the United States is delivered by community oncologists, but cancer advances can take years to be adopted in a community setting," said Josè Baselga, MD, Physician-in-Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, who notes that ongoing, interactive real-time relationships are needed to effectively close this gap. "We want to rapidly accelerate the pace of integrating the latest advances of cancer care into a community setting. This unprecedented approach will demonstrate real value to both organizations and most importantly will improve the lives of cancer patients," he added.

Among the many distinctive aspects of the collaboration is the establishment of the first MSK Alliance clinical trials site at Hartford Hospital, where many of the cancer clinical trials from MSK's robust portfolio will be provided on-site. This will dramatically improve patient access to the latest cancer advances and breakthroughs.

"Through the MSK Cancer Alliance, MSK and HHC will together develop strategies to improve outcomes, and reduce the barriers to high-quality cancer care that many patients and families in Connecticut face today," said Andrew Salner, Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center. "This alliance gives us the chance to expedite the time it takes to get the most advanced treatment to our patients, eliminating barriers that often exist."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering physicians and leadership will now be collaboratively guiding HHC toward excellence in both its cancer care and clinical research programs. This will be achieved, for example, by collaborating on disease management teams, through on-site observations of new techniques, by sharing educational resources, by conducting quality and outcomes research, and by working together toward expanded access to MSK's clinical trials. Through these ongoing efforts, HHC will be empowered to learn, adapt to and adopt Memorial Sloan-Kettering standards of care within the context of its own institution and in the context of the communities it serves.

Over the next six months, teams from MSK and the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute will work collaboratively to assess the resources and capabilities of each of the system's five acute care hospitals, identifying specific areas of focus. In addition, they will jointly recruit a physician-in-chief of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute who will be on the staff at both Hartford HealthCare and Memorial Sloan-Kettering. The two organizations will work over the next few months to integrate Hartford physicians into MSK's disease management teams.

The critical need for such an Alliance can be found in a report recently issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that described the challenge of delivering high-quality cancer care as a national "crisis" and noted advances in treatment may be unavailable to patients who lack access to sophisticated genetic tests or clinical trials. It noted that by 2030 new diagnoses are expected to reach 2.3 million a year as the population ages and that there may not be enough oncology specialists to care for these patients. In addition, doctors are having a hard time keeping up with complex new treatments, and too often decisions about cancer treatments aren't based on good evidence.

"When it comes to cancer treatment, one size no longer fits all. We need outcomes-based solutions on an entirely new scale due to these extraordinary challenges," said Dr. Thompson. "Our approach will substantively address issues raised in the IOM report," added Dr. Thompson, who notes that we are building this Alliance-and beginning in Hartford-based on the belief that we all have something to learn from each other."

MSK and HHC will work collaboratively to measure changes in outcomes including survival rates, quality of life, and total cost of care. HHC and future Alliance members will provide MSK with first-hand knowledge of how cancer advances are practiced in a community setting, where more than 80 percent of cancer patients in the United States receive cancer care.

While this approach to bringing truly state-of the-art cancer care to local communities is focused on the rapid application of new knowledge, it does not require building new facilities, thus further providing a cost-effective model for delivering care.

After already spending more than a year to develop the structure and plan for the Alliance, both organizations are deeply committed to this initiative and believe this innovative model holds much promise to significantly improve cancer outcomes for patients.

"Good cancer care is not just treating cancer-it's treating your cancer. Likewise, our partnership was designed to adapt and respond to the particular needs of Hartford HealthCare, its clinicians and its patients-and, together, MSK and HHC can evolve with the ever-changing practice of oncology," said Dr. Thompson.


View the video of the event


To learn more about Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Click here.


September 9, 2013
MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Breast Symposium

MidState Medical Center Hosts Annual Breast Symposium

The Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center is once again hosting its annual Breast Symposium on Tuesday, October 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Oncologist Susan Alsamarai, MD, will deliver a presentation entitled: "Breast Health Update: What's New in Breast Care Management?" and there will also be a presentation from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection entitled: "Green Cleaning: Removing Toxic Products form Every Room in Your Home." This free program will be held in the Horwitz Conference Center at MidState Medical Center's main campus on Lewis Avenue. Dinner will be provided. Registration is required. Please call 203.694.8631 to register.


July 25, 2013
MidState Medical Center Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Fourth Consecutive Year

MidState Medical Center Named Most Wired Hospital in the Nation for Fourth Consecutive Year

For the fourth consecutive year in a row, MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it has been named one of the Most Wired hospitals in the nation by Hospitals & Health Networks, the journal of the American Hospital Association.

MidState has been participating in the Most Wired survey for over five years. The survey is administered in cooperation with the American Hospital Association, McKesson Corp., and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

What makes a Most Wired hospital different? Most Wired hospitals show better outcomes in patient satisfaction, risk-adjusted mortality rates and other key quality measures. More than 1,500 hospitals completed the Most Wired survey, which focuses on how hospitals use information technology (IT) to improve quality, customer service, public health and safety, business processes, and workforce issues. According to the survey results, Most Wired hospitals "leverage the adoption and use of health information technology to improve performance in a number of areas." They are "focused on expanding and adopting IT that protects patient data and optimizes patient flow and communications."

In addition:

  • 71% of the "Most Wired" hospitals use electronic disease registries to identify and manage gaps in care across a population, compared with 51% of all surveyed hospitals
  • 68% electronically manage care transitions, compared to 50% of all surveyed hospitals
  • 66% share patient discharge data with affiliated hospitals
  • More than 40% of the "Most Wired" hospitals provide a patient portal or Web-based tool for patient-generated data

"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 is featured in the July issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine.


July 8, 2013
MidState Medical Center Among the Top 15% in the Nation, Recognized as one of Healthgrades 2013 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ Recipients

MidState Medical Center Among the Top 15% in the Nation, Recognized as one of Healthgrades 2013 Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ Recipients

MidState Medical Center announced today that is has been named one of a select group of hospitals identified as providing outstanding performance in the delivery of a positive experience for patients during their hospital stay, as measured by Healthgrades, the leading online resource that helps consumers search, evaluate, compare and connect with physician and hospitals.

To be eligible for the Healthgrades 2013 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, MidState Medical Center must have met the clinical quality threshold for this award and have data for a minimum number of HCAHPS surveys:

  • Clinical Quality Threshold - MidState Medical Center ranked among the top hospitals for clinical quality as ranked by average z-score across the conditions and procedures that Healthgrades evaluates using Medicare data.
  • Minimum Number of HCAHPS Surveys - MidState Medical Center had data for at least 100 Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys to reliably assess performance.

"We are so proud of this recognition. Everything we do at MidState is centered around superior clinical quality and providing our patients with the best patient experience possible. We have worked diligently over the last several years to build a culture focused on patient-centered care," said Cindy Russo, senior vice president of operations at MidState Medical Center.

"As hospitals continue to struggle with the delivery of high-quality, safe care in the face of mounting financial and regulatory pressures, the hospitals who have achieved Healthgrades 2013 Outstanding Patient Experience Award stand above the rest in terms of providing the most positive experience for patients during their hospital stay," said Evan Marks, EVP Informatics and Strategy. "This exceptional performance reflects a commitment to superior quality of clinical care."

For more information about Healthgrades, to download a full copy of the report or to get information about hospital and physician quality, visit: Healthgrades.com today.


July 1, 2013
Midstate Radiology Associates accredited by American College of Radiology as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

Midstate Radiology Associates accredited by American College of Radiology as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

Midstate Radiology Associates, based out of MidState Medical Center with satellites in surrounding towns, has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The Center of Excellence designation indicates that our breast imaging meets the highest standards of the radiology profession. The designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that have demonstrated excellence in breast imaging by achieving accreditation in mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, breast ultrasound and ultrasound-guided biopsy.

Midstate Radiology Associates received this prestigious designation following a recent survey by the ACR. The evaluations were conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who assessed the qualifications of personnel and the adequacy of the facility equipment. "Proper diagnosis and effective treatment of a breast abnormality begins with accurate imaging. We are pleased and proud to have received this designation, and our patients can be confident that they will receive safe, accurate and effective care," said radiologist Dr. Gary Dee.

The Midstate Radiology breast care team includes board-certified radiologists, experienced breast surgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, cytopathologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, female mammography technologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals skilled in breast care.

Our comprehensive breast care services include: screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, core and surgical biopsies, fine needle aspiration, lymphoscintigrams and sentinel lymph node biopsies, cytopathology services, genetic testing and counseling for patients at high risk for breast cancer, breast cancer surgery, breast reconstruction surgery, radiation therapy, clinical research trials for new treatments, and a full range of support services.

When you see a facility listed with the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence seal, you know:

  • Your facility has voluntarily gone through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets nationally accepted standards.
  • The personnel are well qualified, through education and certification, to perform and interpret your medical images and administer your radiation therapy treatments.
  • The equipment is appropriate for the test or treatment you will receive.
  • The facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines.

The ACR is a national organization serving more than 34,000 diagnostic and interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine and medical physicists which programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.


June 16, 2013
MidState has been Designated an Aetna Institute of Quality® (IOQ) for Spine Surgery

MidState has been Designated an Aetna Institute of Quality® (IOQ) for Spine Surgery

In the latest recognition of its leadership in offering quality surgical care, MidState Medical Center has been designated an Aetna Institute of Quality® for its spine surgery program.

Aetna makes information about the quality and cost of healthcare services available to its members to help them to make informed decisions about their healthcare needs. In line with that goal, Aetna recognizes hospitals and facilities in its network that offer specialized clinical services for certain health conditions. Aetna Institutes™ facilities are selected for providing safe, evidence-based, high-quality, high-value care.

MidState is widely recognized for its innovative and multi-disciplinary spine services in which our entire team assists patients across the continuum of care from education prior to surgery through rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is fostering patients' healing and speeding their recovery.

MidState's spine program coordinates the use of the latest advanced minimally-invasive techniques for the treatment of chronic back and neck pain, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, vertebral compression fractures, degenerative scoliosis and other intractable spinal problems.

According to Aetna, facilities selected for the network have met the following criteria:

  • Significant experience in spine surgery, including annual volumes at a minimum of 100 spine procedures
  • Significant physician experience in spine care, with at least one physician achieving minimum annual volumes of 50 spine procedures
  • Evidence-based and recognized standards for clinical outcomes, processes of care and patient safety
  • Ongoing follow-up programs and support for spine patients
  • Efficiency in providing care based on overall cost of care, readmission rates and comprehensiveness of program


June 16, 2013
MidState Asks More Questions When Seniors Come to the ER

MidState Asks More Questions When Seniors Come to the ER

MidState Medical Center has started a new initiative called Senior Care Emergency Services to better treat elderly patients.

The initiative allows emergency room staff to look after senior patients to make sure they return to their normal routines after treatment. Nurses and medical staff went through geriatric emergency nursing education and training for six months before the program was launched in late May. The staff has already seen the benefits.

"We noticed there the need for patients 65 and older was increasing," said Dana Garvey, a nurse and clinical research leader at Mid-State.

Seniors are the largest group of people served by the hospital, said Camila Rubino, nurse manager at MidState. About 60 percent of the patients who seek services in the emergency room are elderly.

When elderly people enter the emergency room, they aren't just treated for the condition they came in with and then sent home. Nurses spend more time with the patients and go through lengthy assessments.

The staff determines if the patient will need help at home after treatment. Perhaps an aide will be called in, or physical or occupational therapy will be necessary.

Besides going through a longer assessment process, the big change that comes along with the initiative is in pharmaceuticals, Garvey said.

"If this person is on five medicines a day, we ask why and what they're taking them for," Garvey said.

If the person isn't sure why they take the medicine, a pharmacist reviews the list of medications to see if any interact or if the patient shouldn't be on some of them.

In the past few weeks, pharmacists have already reviewed some problem medication lists. If something should be changed, the staff alerts the patient's primary care doctor, Garvey said.

"This is a more thorough process," Rubino said. "It ensures safety at home after they're treated."

Susan Cole, 66, visited MidState's emergency room Friday morning. She was having chest pain and light-headedness.

Cole said the medical staff checked her vital signs, asked her about her living arrangements and about her medication lists. The staff wanted to know the doses of each medication and if anything had changed recently. "I think it's great," Cole said about the hospital's new initiative. "It helps the doctors figure out what's wrong."


June 13, 2013
MidState launches New Senior Emergency Care Services

MidState launches New Senior Emergency Care Services

With an eye on the health needs of our aging population, MidState Medical Center has launched a new initiative to build a senior-friendly emergency department called Senior Care Emergency Services. MidState launched this initiative on May 25.

Nurses in the emergency department have completed Geriatric Emergency Nursing Education and other members of the team – including physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and case managers – have all received senior-specific training to enhance the care that seniors receive.

Additionally, MidState has designed its emergency department with well-being, safety and comfort in mind-and paid attention to details that create a calm, gentle and nurturing environment:

  • All modern, individual patient rooms for added privacy and quiet
  • Individual televisions and telephones for comfort and convenience
  • Thicker mattresses and heated blankets for patients
  • Safety features like handrails, softer lighting and non-slip floors
  • An activity cart complete with books, puzzles and games for your enjoyment
  • Space set aside for private family consultations
  • A centrally located nursing station so staff can keep a close eye on every patient

The enhanced assessment tool now being utilized by staff is one of the most important elements of the senior-friendly emergency department. When a patient over 65 years old comes to the emergency department at MidState Medical Center, they are not just treated for the ailment that brought them to the hospital. A multi-disciplinary team also performs an assessment to gauge the patient's status and whether they may have medication issues, be a fall risk or suffer from ailments like dementia and depression. These assessments help gauge whether the person has other cognitive or functional issues that may require follow-up care before the condition worsens.

"Our goal is provide these patients with the services they will need to maintain their independence and overall health and well-being. We are committed to developing individualized care plans that best meet the patient's needs, as well as making follow-up appointments with physicians, reviewing medications, and making any necessary referrals to community resources," said Dr. Alan Weiner, a physician in MidState's emergency department.


June 3, 2013
MidState Medical Center Receives Prestigious International Recognition as Baby-Friendly® Birth Facility

MidState Medical Center Receives Prestigious International Recognition as Baby-Friendly® Birth Facility

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that it has been named a Baby-Friendly® birth facility for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative ("BFHI"), a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, this prestigious international award recognizes birthing facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

"Breastfeeding poses a number of benefits for both mother and baby. MidState is so proud to have earned this recognition and is committed to helping new moms breastfeed through education, personalized instruction and support from other mothers," said MidState's lactation care coordinator, Dawn Flohr, RN, BSN, IBCLC.

Currently, there are 159 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States and more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. The Baby-Friendly designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed. The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.


May 6, 2013
Wallingford Firefighters Raise Money for Cancer Center

Wallingford Firefighters Raise Money for Cancer Center

The firefighters of the Wallingford Fire Department are again gearing up for an exciting fundraiser that will benefit MidState's cancer center. The fundraiser, a motorcycle poker run, was initiated by late Wallingford firefighter and former ED employee, Rick Garrison. This year it will be held in his honor.

The poker run is set for Sunday, June 9; beginning at 8:30 a.m. Riders who wish to participate will enjoy 90 miles of scenic Connecticut with stops at the North Branford Fire Department, Gillette Castle, Winchester's, and MidState Medical Center. The ride will conclude with a picnic back at PNA Park in Wallingford. There will be a DJ, moonwalk for the kids, 50/50 raffle and more.

Cost is $25 per rider or $35 for a rider with a passenger, $10 for picnic only. For more information, please contact Jeremy Garrison at 203.694.8732 or info@ridersforrick.com.


March 21, 2013
MidState Medical Center Holds Free Head & Neck Cancer Screening

MidState Medical Center Holds Free Head & Neck Cancer Screening

Just because you can't feel it, doesn't mean it isn't there. Just ask the more than 50,000 Americans who were diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck last year. Unfortunately, many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these life-threatening diseases, which include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx, and by the time they are diagnosed, it's too late. MidState will host a free head and neck cancer screening on Tuesday, April 16, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The screening will be held at MidState Medical Center on 435 Lewis Avenue, in The Palladino Family Cancer Center's radiation therapy office.

The signs and symptoms of head and neck cancers often go unnoticed. However, there are a few visible signs associated with these cancers that require immediate attention, including:

  • A sore in your mouth that doesn't heal or that increases in size
  • Persistent pain in your mouth
  • Lumps or white or red patches inside your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Soreness in your throat or feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Chronic hoarseness
  • A lump in your throat

Screening is quick, painless and free. It will consist of a thorough physical examination of the entire mouth, throat and neck. Take advantage of the opportunity to benefit from this preventive health measure by taking 10 minutes to do something that could save your life. Please call 203 694 8631 to reserve your spot. Space is limited.


March 4, 2013
MidState Medical Center & Holiday Cinemas Stadium Partner for Bone Marrow Drive

MidState Medical Center & Holiday Cinemas Stadium Partner for Bone Marrow Drive

What if you could save someone's life? Did you know that approximately 70% of people who need a bone marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family? MidState Medical Center and Holiday Cinema Stadium in Wallingford invite you to watch a free screening of the moving and inspirational documentary More To Live For, a film that tells the story of three people, all shaken by cancer and dependent upon one vital bone marrow match that could save their lives.

These men are similar in both their fate and their extraordinary personal achievements: Michael Brecker, 15 time Grammy winner, one of the greatest tenor saxophonists of all time; James Chippendale, entertainment executive and founder of The Love Hope Strength Foundation; and Seun Adebiyi, a young law student training to become the first Nigerian Winter Olympic athlete in any sport. This award winning film has traveled the film festival circuit and we are pleased to show a free screening for one night only on Thursday, Apr. 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Cinema Stadium located at 970 North Colony Road, Wallingford.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet the film's producer and learn more about becoming a bone marrow donor (including dispelling some myths that it is a painful process!), as well as add their name to the national bone marrow registry with a simple cheek swab. Designated volunteers will be on hand that evening to assist with getting movie-goers to the free screening. For more information or questions, please call 203.694.8631. You won't want to miss this!


February 18, 2013
MidState Medical Center sponsors 14th Annual Meriden Rotary Club 5K Road Race/Walk & Kids Fun Run

MidState Medical Center sponsors 14th Annual Meriden Rotary Club 5K Road Race/Walk & Kids Fun Run

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the 14th Annual Meriden Rotary 5K Road Race/Walk & Kids Fun Run. MidState is the headline sponsor for this event.

The road race is a long standing event in the Meriden community and is well aligned with MidState's mission of "improving the health and healing of the people and communities we serve."

"As a hospital, we must not only care for people when they are sick, but provide education and encourage healthy lifestyles that help prevent chronic diseases. The road race put on by the Meriden Rotary is a loved event by the community and provides a great opportunity to enjoy the spring and keep active," said Pamela Cruz, manager of community relations at MidState.

The 5K road race is set for Sunday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. at Hubbard Park; the Kids Fun Run will start at 9:45 a.m. Registration starts at 8:00 a.m. The cost to register is $25 before Apr. 19; $30 for day-of registration; and $5 for the Kids Fun Run.

For more information and to register, please visit race.meridenrotary.org. All proceeds will benefit the Meriden Rotary's many humanitarian projects and local service in our community.


February 18, 2013
MidState Medical Center's Critical Care Unit Awarded Silver-level Beacon Award by American Association of Critical Care Nurses

MidState Medical Center's Critical Care Unit Awarded Silver-level Beacon Award by American Association of Critical Care Nurses

MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce that its Critical Care Unit has been awarded the silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). MidState's unit is only one of two in the entire state of Connecticut to have earned this recognition.

The Beacon Award for Excellence - a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and a healthy work environment - recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with the AACN's six standards. Units that achieve this three-year, three-level award meet national criteria consistent with Magnet Recognition, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the National Quality Healthcare Award.

To earn this prestigious distinction, MidState's Critical Care Unit met the following evidenced-based criteria in:

  • Leadership Structures and Systems
  • Appropriate Staffing and Staff Engagement
  • Effective Communication, Knowledge Management, Learning and Development, Best Practices
  • Evidenced-Based Practice and Process
  • Patient Outcomes

"The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as a role model to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care," said AACN President Kathryn E. Roberts, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, CCNS.

MidState will be recognized with an announcement in AACN Bold Voices, the monthly award-winning member magazine distributed to more than 90,000 acute and critical care nurses nationwide.


January 9, 2013
MidState Medical Center First in State to use EndoWrist One™ Vessel Sealer for the da Vinci System

MidState Medical Center First in State to use EndoWrist One™ Vessel Sealer for the da Vinci System

MidState Medical Center surgeons have a new tool to assist them when performing robotic surgery on their patients: the EndoWrist OneTM Vessel Sealer developed by Intuitive Surgical.

The vessel sealer, a single-use 8 millimeter instrument, provides an optimal approach for sealing and cutting tissue bundles and vessels up to 7 millimeters in diameter. The wrist of the instrument can articulate, allowing surgeons to approach anatomy at the best angles with da Vinci's hallmark precision, dexterity and control. It can be used in a variety of robotic surgical cases.

"It's a game changing device. It allows me to seal larger vessels safely and dissect them all with one device. We've had a similar device for laparoscopic procedures that doesn't articulate. Now during robotic procedures, we have much more flexibility and freedom with increased safety," said general surgeon Peter Leff, MD, who used the instrumentation in one of his recent surgical cases.

Doctors at MidState have performed hundreds of surgeries using the robot since the hospital began offering robotic surgery in early 2010. At MidState, robotic surgery is used in gynecologic, urologic, colorectal, general surgery and thoracic procedures.

Robotic surgery is often a favored minimally invasive approach, when appropriate, because it requires fewer incisions, and therefore, less blood loss, less pain, a shorter hospital stay and quicker return to normal activities. For more information on robotic surgery at MidState, please visit midstatemedical.org.


January 9, 2013
The Palladino Family Cancer Center Re-Accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers

The Palladino Family Cancer Center Re-Accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers

The Palladino Family Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center is pleased to announce it has been re-accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. MidState first earned accreditation in 2009, and since that time, has continued to meet the rigorous standards put in place to ensure that patients receive access to a wide range of breast care services of the highest quality. Accredited centers offer:

  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options for each patient
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and innovative treatments

"We are committed to offering our patients every resource available in their battle against breast cancer or any other breast disease they encounter. What is most important for our patients to know is that they can receive the high quality care in a supportive, caring environment without having to travel far from home," said Abbi Bruce, RN, Director, The Palladino Family Cancer Center.

Accreditation is only given to institutions that voluntarily undergo an intensive evaluation process and review of their performance for best-practice standards. During the lengthy application process, MidState Medical Center demonstrated its proficiency in leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education, and quality improvement.

The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers is a group of professional organizations dedicated to ensuring quality care and monitoring the outcomes of patients with breast diseases.


January 8, 2013
Horwitz and MidState

Horwitz and MidState

Many were sad to read in our Sunday news story (R-J, 1-6) that a former pillar of this community - a man described as a visionary - had died (at age 71) last Wednesday in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, after a brief illness.

We speak here, of course, of Theodore H. Horwitz, who led the merger of two city hospitals and championed the building of Mid-State Medical Center on Lewis Avenue. His name is inexorably linked to Mid-State's success and the future of medical care in the greater Meriden-Wallingford area.

Our news account noted that "Ted" Horwitz began his hospital career in Meriden in 1983 as president and CEO of the struggling Meriden- Wallingford Hospital. He retired as president and CEO of MidState in 1999. He led the merger of World War II Veterans' Memorial Hospital, on the east side, and Meriden-Wallingford Hospital, approved by voters in 1990.

He argued that both hospitals couldn't survive with changing health care economics and that the city would be better served by one combined hospital.

Horwitz was correct.

But, what is visionary? Among descriptive phrases, it's a person of unusually keen foresight, perhaps given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes (as in a visionary enthusiast ).

To this, add a healthy measure of tenacity, patience and unswerving dedication, especially when spearheading community projects which upset applecarts of conventional thinking and loyalties in favor of achieving what's right and best, longer term.

Concluding this triptych of personality impressions is willingness to compromise sometimes-grand plans for that which is pragmatic, prudent. A stellar example was his grand plan for a 400-bed hospital at the Saab site which, after much "sturm und drang," wasn't meant to be.

The compromise? A viable, highly respected facility on Lewis Avenue - one which, despite initial misgivings and varying degrees of rancor, has drawn support from all quarters, despite any growing pains along the way.

(A related aside: On December 30, 1999, we published a litany of items-in review headlined "Historical facts from the Millennium 1989." Included among entries: "1991: Meriden - The 177-bed Meriden- Wallingford Hospital and the 92-bed World War II Veterans Memorial Hospital merge into Veterans Memorial Medical Center; 1993: The State Hospital Commission ruled out Saab site for new VMMC hospital.") Returning to our opening theme, being a "pillar" of any municipality implies by its very nature one's ability to shoulder weight while receiving support from city foundations. Despite any remaining controversy over the fate of Meriden's former hospitals, coupled to highest- and-best use of all resources it took to create them, MidState stands squarely on Horwitz's solidly engineered underpinning.

A grateful community extends condolences to Ted's friends and family.
His legacy is enshrined at Mid-State.


Lynn Faria, Director Community Relations & Marketing


January 2, 2013
Meet Travis Bawa, MidState's First Baby of The Year

Meet Travis Bawa, MidState's First Baby of The Year

By Dan Brechlin

Few things about the relationship between Anuj "Andy" Bawa and Jyotsna Rani Vundavalli have been traditional or customary, despite their coming from traditional Indian families. Travis Bawa, their newborn son, however, came just as expected on Vundavalli's New Year's Day due date.

Travis was the first baby to be born in Meriden yesterday, ringing in the New Year at 6:23 a.m. at MidState Medical Center. He is the firstborn child of Andy Bawa and his wife, Vundavalli.

"It's amazing; I just can't believe it," Vundavalli said, holding her son as he yawned. "It can be pretty hard for a new mom, but the doctors and nurses have been great and so helpful."

There was a point when the Southington couple thought Travis might be born just before New Year's, as they made their way into the hospital late Monday afternoon. But it wasn't time yet, so the hospital staff sent Vundavalli and her husband back home to rest for a few hours. They made their way back to MidState around 10 p.m.

"That's when they said, 'OK, you're staying,' " Bawa, a manager at Polumbo Jewelers in Southington, said.

Just over eight hours later, Travis was born, weighing in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. The couple had agreed to keep the sex of the baby a surprise, though Bawa admitted he had a suspicion that it might be a girl.

"I was expecting more of a Chloe," Bawa said. "I bought a pink stroller I guess I now have to return."

Bawa and Vundavalli married in February 2011 after having met in 2004. Though from the same country, the couple met over the Internet while Bawa was in the United States and Vundavalli was in India. They maintained the online romance for four years before meeting in person in 2008 in Dubai.

"It was a little nerve-racking," Bawa said, admitting he was more nervous about meeting his future wife's parents.

Their relationship was not seen as a traditional one, as Bawa is from New Delhi, in the northern part of India, while Vundavalli is from the south. It took some coercing, but both sets of parents finally agreed to allow the couple to get married. For good measure, there were three engagement ceremonies so that various family members could see the ritual.

Vundavalli came to the United States shortly after their first meeting and the couple got engaged. They had a marriage ceremony in 2011 with some of their family, but Bawa said that if they can ever get a larger group together, they plan on a much larger "There is nothing traditional about ourselves," Vundavalli, who worked for the Hospital of Central Connecticut, said.

Knowing numerous people in Southington, Vundavalli said she has been waiting to spread the news of her child's birth, joking that people have been asking her for weeks. Bawa added that the community has been extremely generous to the family already and he hopes to turn Travis into a jeweler like himself.

"It's such a life-changing thing," Bawa said, smiling at his son. "It's nine months, then all of a sudden he's out."

Another baby was born three hours after Travis at MidState, according to a nurse at the hospital. The two, however, were not nearly the first in the state to be born, according to reports. Just one hour and six minutes after the stroke of midnight, a baby girl was born at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, according to the Norwich Bulletin.

Kimberly Primicerio / Record-Journal
Anuj "Andy" Bawa and Jyotsna Rani Vundavalli with their son, Travis, born at MidState Medical Center on New Year's Day. "It's amazing," said new mom Vundavalli. "I just can't believe it."


Lynn Faria, Director Community Relations & Marketing