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Children take part in program for free dental care in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN – Some kids without dental insurance had a reason to smile Monday.

The ‘Give Kids a Smile’ program in New Britain provides free oral health services to Connecticut children without dental insurance.

The Community Health Center has been involved in the program all month.

All children receive cleanings, exams, exams, fillings and much more.

“The kids come in and we enjoy treating them, and they have a great time.We take care of their dental needs and make sure to brush every night before you go to bed,” said Dr. Michael Mark.

This program has been in several towns this month including Hartford, New London and Norwalk.

On Friday, the program will be in Old Saybrook.

Weitzman ECHO Celebrates 5th Anniversary

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From Weitzman ECHO: With a mission of caring for underserved patients with complex conditions and chronic disease, Community Health Center, Inc. and its Weitzman Institute realizes the importance of connecting primary care providers and expert specialists to improve patient outcomes. Five years ago this week, Weitzman ECHO, a real-time videoconference platform, was launched to link providers and expert faculty, initially with a focus on managing Hepatitis C and HIV. Since then, the program has been expanded to cover conditions such as chronic pain, substance abuse, complex care management, pediatric and adolescent behavioral health, and healthcare for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

CHC Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Receives Full Accreditation

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From Community Health Center, Inc.: 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.

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.