STORRS, CT — The University of Connecticut announced today that it has received four proposals from five area hospitals to form affiliations with the University of Connecticut Health Center. One of the four proposals was submitted on behalf of two area hospitals.
The proposals were submitted in response to the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Solicitation of Interest for Establishment of Clinical Affiliations, which was issued this past June.
The four proposals were submitted by the following five hospitals: Hartford Hospital and The Hospital of Central Connecticut (submitted one proposal), St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Bristol Hospital.
“The regional hospitals’ interest in partnering with the Health Center is gratifying,” said University of Connecticut President Michael Hogan.
“It speaks to the Health Center’s unique role as the state’s only public academic medical center. It also highlights the significant benefits of such a partnership to quality health care in the region and to the state’s long-term economic development by attracting biomedical research funding and developing new patents, technologies and partnerships with business and industry.”
UConn Board of Trustees Chairman John W. Rowe, M.D., said “High quality medical and dental schools are essential if we are to educate the next generation of doctors and dentists and in attracting and retaining high quality healthcare professionals in our state. Academic teaching hospitals are critical partners that work with the schools to provide outstanding clinical care and education and to develop through clinical research new approaches to diagnosis and treatment.”
In seeking collaborations, the University of Connecticut has been adhering to the process set out in legislation enacted during the 2008 legislative session and signed by Governor M. Jodi Rell. The 2-step process was originally recommended by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) in a report to the General Assembly last March.
In the first phase, the Health Center and the regional hospitals developed a mutual vision for establishing affiliation agreements. In the second phase, one or more hospitals would propose an affiliation agreement that would improve clinical care in the region and support excellence in education at UConn’s medical school. The process is being monitored by CASE with progress reports made to the General Assembly on June 30, 2008 for phase 1 and by January 30, 2009 for phase 2.
Hogan thanked the hospitals for submitting proposals and applauded the General Assembly for taking a keen interest in this important undertaking.
“This is the mid-point in a process of regional consultation that has been open, transparent, and productive,” he said, noting in particular the good relationships he, Dr. Rowe and the Health Center’s Board of Directors Chairman Dr. Gerard Burrow have developed with their counterparts at hospitals in the area.
Hogan said that he will begin reviewing the proposals immediately and will consult with a variety of internal and external constituencies, including the UConn Board of Trustees, the Health Center’s Board of Directors, and Health Center leadership, faculty and staff.
“Our hope,” Hogan said, “is to go as far as possible to harmonize all viable proposals into a regional healthcare system that benefits each partner, provides the highest quality healthcare, and serves as an economic engine for the region and state.”
CASE envisioned something similar in its report of last March. While not ruling out new or renovated facilities at the Health Center, it clearly thought the best alternative was a regional relationship between UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital and one or more regional affiliates. Such a course, according to CASE, would serve the state’s best interests and “the General Assembly’s goal of the Health Center achieving excellence in academic medicine.”