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March 14, 2007

Replacement Hospital Update

To: Health Center Faculty and Staff
From: Peter J. Deckers, M.D.

As many of you may have heard or read by now, the Higher Education Committee yesterday voted to defer action on the Health Centerís replacement hospital until a study is performed by the stateís Office of Health Care Access (OCHA). The committee also voted to allocate $10.5 million to the hospital to help cover fringe benefit costs; we are grateful for this gesture of support for our hospital and employees.

In all, while this was not fully responsive to our legislative agenda, it is progress. The need for funds to cover the academic gap is understood by many legislators and will be considered as the discussion moves to the Appropriations Committee. Our plan to add 128 beds to the John Dempsey Hospital and fully modernize our facility for the benefit of our students, patients and faculty, is still very much alive and in play. Indeed, it remains essential to our future.

For now, we look forward to working with OCHA and continuing our efforts with legislative leaders. We are confident that the facts will fully support our cause! Two national consulting firms with expertise in health care have already noted the need for additional beds in the Health Centerís primary service area.

Earlier this week, Solucient recognized the hard work of our talented staff with the prestigious Top 100 Hospital designation. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who contributed to this outstanding accomplishment. Imagine what we could achieve with new, up-to-date and expanded facilities!

We all know that our hospital, schools and research areas are components of one, vital system. We need a state-of-the-art university hospital to help us attract and retain high quality faculty, physicians and other health professionals to the region and state. A new hospital will also strengthen the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine and allow the schools to continue their immeasurable work for the underserved in our state. This proposal will benefit the entire state, for generations to come.

I urge all of you to continue to be ambassadors for the Health Center! Talk to your neighbors, friends and others about the dire need to have a thriving university hospital of sufficient size.

I also want to thank all of you from the Health Center community who took time last week to eloquently testify before the legislature. While I was not in the room for the entire hearing, I watched full coverage over the weekend on CT-N. I cannot express how proud I was to see so many people, from all parts of Health Center, speaking in one voice about this important project.

With your continued support, we will surely succeed.

Thank you again. Be peaceful!