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Top News Stories

DeLauro- Repealing Obamacare ‘will cause chaos’

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By Randall Beach, New Haven Register

MIDDLETOWN >> Medical professionals joined Connecticut political leaders Saturday to tell how small business owners, the self-employed, farmers, the poor and the elderly will be harmed — and in some cases could die —- if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

Those who gathered at the Community Health Center warned that the move this past week by the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law without having a replacement poses a dangerous threat to millions of Americans.

“We have heard the Republicans talk about repeal but they have been tellingly silent on their so-called ‘better’ replacement,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3 of New Haven.

“This will cause chaos and cost lives,” DeLauro added.

She noted more than 20 million people now have insurance because of the ACA. Its repeal, she said, “will have a chilling effect in our state; 180,000 people in Connecticut who have gained coverage since the ACA was implemented could lose their coverage if the ACA is entirely or partially repealed.”

DeLauro also noted: “And 210,000 individuals in Connecticut who are enrolled in Medicaid under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion stand to lose coverage.”

In addition, DeLauro said more than 1.8 million Connecticut residents would lose their access to co-pay-free preventative care. Moreover, seniors would have to pay more for prescription drugs.

DeLauro noted that her friend Mary Ann Wasil, “one of my personal heroes,” defended the ACA until the end of her life, when she succumbed to breast cancer. “She knew first-hand the impact this law has on people’s lives in their darkest times.”

DeLauro said she will continue to fight for the ACA on behalf of people like Wasil.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2, said he finds it “extraordinary” seeing the contrast between what Republicans are saying in Congress and the messages he is receiving in his office from constituents who say they have benefitted from tha ACA.

“A farmer in Ellington, who is 63, said if he loses his coverage, he’ll be forced to sell his livestock or land to keep the coverage his wife and he need,” Courtney said.

Courtney also recounted the owner of a frame shop approaching him Saturday morning in his store and saying: “I didn’t have health insurance until two years ago” when the ACA made it possible for him to get coverage.

Courtney added, “The repeal will help people who are not in desperate straits. The people who will pay are those calling our offices.”

A registered nurse who has seen this desperation up close, Michelle Hurteau of Killingworth, said some of the people she attends to are already telling her: “Michelle, I can’t afford my medication. I have to choose between that and heat or food.”

Hurteau said before the ACA was enacted, she was turned down by every insurance company she applied to for medical insurance because she had a pre-existing condition.

“When I was able to use the ACA, it brought me the greatest peace of mind. It saved me from bankruptcy, losing my home and untold anxiety. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”


Beyond pills and shots- Pain patients seek other options

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By Felice J. Freyer GLOBE STAFF  DECEMBER 30, 2016

Fifth in a series of occasional articles on people contending with chronic pain. For previous entries, click here.


Little things get Karen Hanlon through the day. Things like the “pain pop” — a Popsicle stick placed in a Dixie cup of water, then frozen. Hanlon peels the paper cup off the ice and rubs the pain pop on the skin between her thumb and forefinger. The cold numbs a nerve that extends up her arm and within minutes soothes her aching neck.

Other times, she puts two tennis balls, tied inside a surgical glove, between her back and a wall, and leans into them to massage away a knot.

But in finding those simple tools, Hanlon is a rarity. In the age of opioid addiction — when getting prescribed painkillers has grown more difficult — little has been done to increase access to other treatments for the ceaseless pain that afflicts one-third of Americans.


Community Health Center in Middletown outpaces state minimum wage

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When Connecticut’s minimum wage increases by 50 cents to $10.10 an hour on Sunday, about 150 workers employed by the Middletown-based Community Health Center will benefit from an increase in pay as well.

But the minimum wage workers at the Community Health Center will see their rate of pay increase from $17.50 to $18 as we move into 2017. A primary care provider focusing on uninsured patients and other underserved populations, Community Health Center is entering the fifth year of a plan to keep its minimum wage well above the state and federal levels.

“As part of our mission, CHC strives to be a voice and vehicle for social change, and we believe paying a living wage helps us achieve that purpose,” Mark Masselli, president and chief executive officer of CHC, said. “We are focused on providing world-class healthcare with a world-class staff. Connecticut is an expensive place to live and the entry wage needed to reflect this fact.”

Leslie Gianelli, director of public relations and communications for CHC, said some of the minimum wage jobs the healthcare provider has include greeters, primary service associates, building security workers as well as facilities staff.

CHC has 14 locations around the state that serve more than 145,000 patients. It also brings health care services to schools and homeless shelters.

Connecticut was the first state in the country to approve legislation creating a $10.10 an hour minimum wage and the increase that will take effect Sunday is the last of three steps taken since January 2015 to achieve that goal.

“No one who works full-time should live in poverty,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement released Tuesday about the state’s minimum wage “We believe hardworking men and women, many of whom are supporting families, deserve fair wages. This is money that goes right back into the economy.”

By Luther Turmelle-New Haven Register 


News Releases

CHC Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Receives Full Accreditation

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CHC Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Receives Full Accreditation


MIDDLETOWN, Conn., January 16, 2017: The postgraduate family nurse practitioner residency program at Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) has received its initial three-year accreditation from the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Program Consortium (NNPRFTC), an indication of the highest levels of programmatic rigor and best practices.

 “This is an important milestone,” says Margaret Flinter, APRN, PhD., senior vice president and clinical director for CHC. “Full accreditation means that our postgraduate residency training program has been carefully reviewed by peers and leaders in the field and meets objective and rigorous standards. Our program is particularly focused on new nurse practitioners who are committed to practice careers as primary care providers and seek an additional year of training specific to that challenging role.”

“CHC has been a leader in providing excellent education and training for healthcare professionals, and we are delighted the quality of our nurse practitioner residency program is recognized by experts in the field,” says Mark Masselli, president and CEO of CHC.

The NNPRFTC was established as a non-profit organization in 2015 to develop an accreditation service for postgraduate training programs. CHC’s postgraduate nurse practitioner residency program is the second program in the country to be accredited by the NNPRFTC. The International Community Health Services nurse practitioner residency program in Seattle, Wash., was awarded full accreditation by the NNPRFTC earlier the same day.

“Our goal is to ensure that postgraduate training programs for nurse practitioners have the rigor and quality to support new nurse practitioners and those transitioning between specialties and provide the depth, breadth, and intensity of training they seek in preparing for new roles,” says Candice Rettie, PhD., executive director of NNPRFTC. “We are delighted to give our seal of approval to the CHC program.”

The accreditation process, which is voluntary, involves extensive analysis and documentation of the residency program’s operations. It also involves an on-site visit for verification and inspection of the program and its facilities by professionals with nationally recognized expertise in postgraduate training for nurse practitioners.

CHC established the nation’s first postgraduate nurse practitioner residency program in 2007. 


About Community Health Center, Inc.
Since 1972, Community Health Center, Inc. has been one of the leading healthcare providers in the state of Connecticut, building a world-class primary healthcare system committed to caring for uninsured and underserved populations. CHC is focused on improving health outcomes for its more than 145,000 patients as well as building healthy communities. Recognized as both a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Qua

New Program Helping Providers Treat Opioid-Addicted Patients Now Available to California Health Centers

Weitzman Institute Launches California Project ECHO Addiction Treatment Program

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn., November 28, 2016: With deadly overdoses occurring across California, the California Health Care Foundation and the Center for Care Innovations have partnered with the Weitzman Institute to develop a Project ECHO Buprenorphine program specifically for California primary care organizations. Already more than a dozen health centers statewide have joined to improve and expand their ability to treat patients suffering from opioid addiction.

Weitzman’s ECHO Buprenorphine is the only such program designed and developed by primary care providers for primary care providers. Healthcare providers throughout California will benefit from real-time case discussions with primary care practitioners actively treating substance abuse and addiction and from their firm understanding of the realities and challenges faced by front-line providers.

“Weitzman ECHO is the only ECHO program developed by primary care providers for primary care staff, and, for this reason, it is uniquely and ideally suited to address the needs of front-line primary care staff,” said Daren Anderson, MD, director of the Weitzman Institute and CHC’s vice president and chief quality officer. “Weitzman ECHO lectures and discussions are led by active, practicing providers who speak from experience and fully understand the challenges faced by front-line providers. This fact has led Weitzman ECHO to grow into one of the largest ECHO providers in the country, delivering sessions to more than 880 providers and care team members in 24 states nationwide,” said Anderson.

Buprenorphine is one of the most effective, evidence-based interventions for treating opioid abuse and reducing overdose, but few primary care providers have experience with the therapy or understand how to incorporate it into their practice. The Weitzman ECHO creates virtual classrooms for primary care providers and members of their practice teams to improve their skills and gain confidence in treating patients’ substance use disorders. Providers who have participated in Weitzman ECHO clinics routinely report high satisfaction and greater confidence in their ability to treat patients.

The Weitzman ECHO is made available to California health centers by the California Health Care Foundation and the Center for Care Innovations. “Project ECHO is a great tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Kelly Pfeifer, MD, a director at the California Health Care Foundation.  “Only one in 10 Californians has access to addiction treatment, and the need is urgent. We are proud to partner with the Weitzman Institute to allow more people to find treatment that works, with the primary care provider they trust.”

In 2016, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) granted Substance Abuse Service Expansion Awards to 36 California health centers to provide medication assisted treatment for patients suffering opioid use disorders.  However, most California awardees reported little or no experience providing addiction treatment and said they needed technical assistance. In response to the request for support, the California Health Care Foundation and the Centers for Care Innovations established the Treating Addiction in the Primary Care Safety Net program, which offered Weitzman ECHO Buprenorphine, along with other technical assistance programs. To date, 14 health centers have agreed to participate in ECHO Buprenorphine. Additional health centers throughout California are expected

Tools and Strategies for Treating Chronic Pain, Reducing Opioid Use Now Available Free to Health Care Providers

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Contact: Leslie Gianelli

[email protected]

(860)-347-6971 x3080


Tools and Strategies for Treating Chronic Pain, Reducing Opioid Use Now Available Free to Health Care Providers


MIDDLETOWN, Conn., October 26, 2016: For primary care providers, who care for about half of all the patients with chronic pain, the growing awareness of the questionable long-term treatment value of opioids with their likelihood of diversion, overdose and addiction has left them struggling for solutions.

To provide guidance, clinical providers and care team members everywhere have free access to PainNET, an online learning community developed by Community Health Center, Inc. and the Weitzman Institute. The website, www.painnet.net, which became public October 26, contains essential tools and resources to help providers tackle issues of pain and prescription opioid management.

“The tools and resources provided in PainNET come directly from pain experts with extensive experience working with patients,” said Daren Anderson, MD, vice president and chief quality officer at CHC, a primary care organization with more than 145,000 patients, and director of the Weitzman Institute. “We know most primary care providers received little training in the management of complex pain or cases where pain, addiction and mental health issues co-exist. We believe PainNET helps fill that knowledge gap.”

PainNET was developed in 2015 as a content library of video recordings, resources and blog posts for providers participating in Project ECHO Pain, the recurring videoconferences that allow primary care medical and behavioral health clinicians to present challenging cases to a multidisciplinary team from the Integrative Pain Center of Arizona and receive real-time advice on pain care. Currently, PainNET is being used by more than 229 providers from over 80 practices.

“We learned that participants in Project ECHO Pain needed flexible access to pain care content in order to recall presented information and share it with other providers at their practice sites,” said Anderson.  After making PainNET available to ECHO Pain participants and staff members at participating practice sites, CHC surveyed initial users and learned that most expressed high satisfaction with PainNET and its use in their practices and that most providers experienced statistically significant improvement in their knowledge about caring for patients with complex chronic pain.  One primary care provider in Colorado said, “PainNET is a way to discuss difficult situations with other doc