2014 Windham Hospital Annual Meeting Highlights

January 23, 2015

Building on its primary, ambulatory and specialty care networks, becoming part of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance and expanding community outreach were the highlights of fiscal year 2014 at Windham Hospital.

They were announced at the hospital’s annual meeting of its Board of Corporators held Eastern Connecticut State University on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015.

Hospital President David Whitehead said despite continued financial challenges, Windham Hospital remains an integral part of the community and will continue to serve the health care needs of the greater Windham area, offering essential clinical services that include obstetrics and women’s health; diagnostics; same day surgery, an observation unit for patients who require additional testing and evaluation so that appropriate clinical decisions can be made; disease management and emergency services.

“The forces of change in health care are here whether we act or not,” Whitehead said. “We need to have a firm hand in crafting our destiny – to write our own future. The people who rely on us – our patients and their loved ones – deserve that.”

A recently completed strategic plan, which includes the development of an extensive primary and ambulatory network throughout Windham, Tolland and New London counties, will serve as a roadmap for the future.
The strategic plan includes the recruitment of medical talent, identification of new health care access points and a focus on outpatient services for Hartford HealthCare’s East Region, which includes Windham and Backus hospitals. The plan was based on an extensive market analysis and driven by research into community needs and population health management trends. Broadly speaking, the East Region plan includes increased access to primary and ambulatory services, expansion of some specialty services such as cardiology and women’s health and a preventive medicine program.

“The way consumers are choosing health care is changing at a rapid pace and we must change with it,” said Linda Klein, PhD, chair of the Windham Hospital Board of Directors. “This means less hospital-based and more community-based care, with more outpatient options outside the walls of the hospital. We must create an organized system of care, centered on patients, giving them easy access to coordinated, affordable, high-quality care.”

Plans for expanding ambulatory services are well underway. In 2014, the Hartford HealthCare Family Health Center in Storrs opened its doors offering primary and urgent care, endocrinology and physical and occupational therapy. Other new health care access points are also being considered, Whitehead said.
“These types of investments would not be possible for a standalone hospital with the economic pressures facing healthcare today. Having the backing of Hartford HealthCare, and its ability to help recruit providers to serve patients in our new ventures, is a crucial element of our partnership,” said Whitehead.

Other highlights in FY 2014 included:

  • Windham Hospital’s cancer center, through its membership in the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, became certified as a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance through the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute. This historic partnership will ensure one, world-class standard of cancer care and offer patients access to clinical trials that were not previously available in a community hospital setting.
  • In addition, the cancer center received accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, meaning it offers access to a high standard of cancer care, close to home for patients.
  • Through a $100,000 grant from the Jeffery P. Ossen Family Foundation, Windham Hospital was able to expand its Women’s Health Services Center. The center added two full-time nurse midwives in 2014 and now offers comprehensive gynecologic and obstetric services.
  • The opening of a third school-based health center at Charles Barrows STEM Academy in Windham.
  • The three health centers, located at Windham High School, Windham Middle School and Barrows, are a partnership between the Windham Board of Education and Windham Hospital.
  • A renovation to a medical office building adjacent to the hospital campus that houses gastroenterology and pediatrics practices.
  • Extensive training, including ebola preparedness and high reliability, which focuses on patient safety.
  • New screening protocols, including early detection of lung cancer.
  • Expanded community outreach, including offering free mammograms to the community.

Whitehead said a national trend of declining inpatient volume, rapidly changing reimbursement and other economic factors contributed to loss of $3.79 million for Fiscal Year 2014. Based on net revenues of $198.5 million, that yields a negative operating margin of 4.6%.

Whitehead and Klein both thanked Windham board members, leadership, medical staff, volunteers and frontline staff for all their efforts to overcome financial challenges, adapt to change and continue to put patients first in all that they do.

“Because of teamwork from our talented staff, I have no doubt that Windham will overcome its financial issues and transform itself… to deliver on our goal of the right care, at the right place at the right time,” Whitehead said.

Windham Hospital’s 2014 annual report, “Connecting with Purpose,” can be found at http://windhamhospital.org/2014.