A series of initiatives involving area hospitals that will help meet the future health care needs of our region and state have been established. Each has its own schedule of implementation and the total estimated cost of these initiatives is $25 million.
Bioscience Connecticut calls for the establishment of a University of Connecticut sponsored Health Disparities Institute (HDI). This will be a collaborative and inclusive initiative to reduce health disparities across Connecticut. Dr. Salome Raheim, Dean of the UConn School of Social Work, and Dr. Judith Fifield, Professor and Director of the UConn Health Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research into Practice and Policy, are currently leading a planning process for the HDI, which has engaged representatives from the University, state and region, as well as national partners, who are key stakeholders in the effort to reduce health disparities. The HDI vision is health equity for all people of Connecticut. The mission is to develop and sustain a university-community partnership to reduce health disparities and promote health equity in Connecticut. The following core strategic areas of focus are proposed: (a) organizational capacity building; (b) community outreach and engagement; (c) research development; and (d) policy.
Led by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and the UConn School of Medicine
Analysis shows a growing shortage of primary care physicians in the nation and in Connecticut. To address this shortage, both the UConn School of Medicine and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center are committed to encouraging medical students to study primary care, attracting more residents to train in primary care, and to retain practicing primary care physicians in the region. Together, the medical school and Saint Francis have established the Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation (CIPCI) to facilitate these goals as a regional asset to promote health care in the Greater Hartford area and beyond. In addition to addressing the shortage of primary care physicians, CIPCI will drive new funding for research on health care quality and effectiveness, and health information technology to the region. Such funding is available through the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Over a five-year period, CIPCI could generate $10 million to $15 million in new federal grants and contracts. This funding, in turn, would not only raise the visibility of CIPCI, but also support between 36 and 54 new jobs annually for the region, many in the health care professions (e.g., doctors, nurses, therapists), sciences (e.g., research scientists, technicians), and support services (e.g., administrators, clerical workers).
CIPCI is housed on the campus of Saint Francis, with governance shared between the two entities.
Led by Hartford Hospital
The Simulation Center, housed at Hartford Hospital, offers sophisticated training for the next generation of physicians and surgeons. Like flight simulators, medical education simulation centers use computer technologies to allow physicians to hone their skills in life-like clinical settings, without risks to patients. Available to physicians and health care providers throughout the region and beyond, the Center for Simulation facilitates improved patient safety, quality of care, and improved health care outcomes by providing an ongoing facility for continuous education of doctors and other health care professionals. The Center builds on Hartford Hospital's national reputation in robotic and minimally invasive surgery and its $15 million investment in a 40,000 square-foot facility housed in its School of Allied Health. The Center will attract new federal funding targeted to enhance medical education and will create new jobs for faculty, technologists, and administrators. It will also attract talented clinicians to the region. A resource for hospitals throughout the region and beyond, the Center will lead to improved and lower cost health care delivery. Enhancing the Simulation Center requires significant investment in technology and capital infrastructure and maintenance. Importantly, the Center will train 1,500 to 2,000 medical practitioners each year, who will reside and work in Connecticut.
Led by UConn Health
UConn Health, Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, and others, are seeking to combine efforts and obtain designation as a National Institutes of Health Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation will put the new regional cancer center on par with other nationally recognized cancer centers, which serve as a destination for excellence in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. It will also contribute to regional efforts to attract federal and private sector funds for large-scale clinical trials, leading to improved treatments and innovations related to cancer care, screening, and prevention. This multi-hospital effort will combine several existing hospital-based centers to improve efficiency in both research on cancer and the delivery of treatment for cancer. Through its designation as a National Comprehensive Cancer Center, it will attract more outstanding oncologists and cancer researchers to the region. In turn, this will attract more patients to the Greater Hartford region, helping to reverse the current trend toward out-migration of patients seeking cancer care. On average, National Comprehensive Cancer Centers generate significant federal and private-sector funding. For example, a federal infrastructure grant alone can be expected to provide $28 million in support over five years, translating to about 110 new jobs. The infrastructure support sets the stage for improving the Center's capacity for additional research grants and contracts, each million of which can be expected to result in 18 new jobs. This infrastructural support then sets the stage for further research grants. For example, established Center's generate about $49 million in sponsored research funding, corresponding to hundreds of new jobs for the region.
Led by UConn Health
The University of Connecticut, in partnership with regional hospitals, state agencies, and community health care organizations, created the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) with the goals of (1) increasing the volume of health-related research, especially clinical trials, (2) generating more federal and private-sector funding for Connecticut's biomedical researchers, (3) attracting new biomedical scientists to the region, and (4) creating substantial growth in Connecticut's biomedical economic sector through new discoveries that will become the basis for new businesses. CICATS focuses on building capacity for clinical trials – research that scientifically tests the effectiveness of new drugs and treatments on volunteer patients. Individually, hospitals throughout the Greater Hartford region are unable to launch large-scale clinical trials, because independently, they lack an adequate patient base for scientific testing. Together, however, they can combine their patient base, generating adequate capacity to attract major federal funding (for example, grants from the National Institutes of Health), as well as contracts from major pharmaceutical manufacturers and other biomedical firms. These funds and contracts are the basis for supporting new jobs in biomedical science, including jobs for research scientists, laboratory technicians, grant managers, and other support staff (e.g., research assistants, clerical staff). Every $1 million in new grant funding for biomedical research generates, on average, 18 new jobs directly linked to the research involved in the grant.
The "Bioscience Enterprise Zone" is intended to attract new commercial investment into the region. Connecticut has an existing enterprise zone strategy, enabled by PA 96-264. Benefits for businesses under this act include corporate business tax credits and property tax exemptions for investments made by companies. The framework of the enterprise zone strategy is now afforded to businesses engaged in bioscience in the city of Hartford and certain parts of Bristol, Farmington and New Britain. The biomedical research activity of UConn Health is envisioned as a stimulus for the Biomedical Enterprise Zone, with technology transfer linkages being pursued to commercialize University based and other biomedical research.
Connecticut Children's Medical Center, UConn Health, Harford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital, and hospitals in Waterbury have established a regional neonatal intensive care unit program, operated by Connecticut Children's Medical Center. The efficiencies generated by this multi-institutional effort benefit the entire region. Not only will this statewide asset provide improved accessibility, efficiency, and continuity of care, it will also continue to attract the highest quality pediatricians, obstetricians, and other clinical health care professionals to the Greater Hartford area. Furthermore, it will drive more grant opportunities to the region and offer improved education and training to health care professionals working in these highly specialized areas. In September of 2011, Connecticut Children's NICU at UConn Health was opened.
Improvements at The Hospital of Central Connecticut will include the planning, design, land acquisition, development, and construction of a cancer treatment center constructed by, or in partnership with, the hospital and located entirely within the city of New Britain; renovations and upgrades to the hospital's oncology unit; and a permanent regional phase one clinical trials unit at the hospital, provided that a certificate of need is approved for this purpose.
Improvements at Bristol Hospital will include patient room renovations.
Community health centers that serve at-risk populations in the city of Hartford, including federally-qualified community health centers and the Hispanic Health Council, will also receive support.