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July 9, 2009

Update on the Proposed Partnership with Hartford Healthcare

The proposed partnership with Hartford Healthcare provides a pathway aimed at providing the UConn Health Center the new hospital it deserves, and presents a strategy for fiscal solvency for our institution. Most importantly, the partnership offers a new vision for academically-based healthcare for the region featuring a 1,100 bed University Hospital system on two campuses. 

All of us are anxious to know the outcome of the legislative deliberations as the special session continues. While no one knows when the exact timing will be, I have been continually impressed with the dedicated efforts by the University and Hartford Healthcare to engage and educate legislative leaders about the need to move forward with the partnership. We were also delighted when the UConn Advocates, a coalition of approximately 75,000 supporters of the University, recently reached out to legislative leaders and urged support for this issue.

Together with President Hogan, I remain extremely enthusiastic about the possibility of creating the new University Hospital. It would help to retain our outstanding faculty and help attract similarly accomplished faculty to our medical and dental schools; improve access to clinical trials for patients throughout the region; and become an even more forceful economic driver than either entity - the Health Center or Hartford Healthcare - is on its own.

Over the past eight months President Hogan and I have worked diligently to follow the C.A.S.E. report process in developing a collegial arrangement with Hartford Hospital. Our work focused first on developing a common vision of the future with Hartford Hospital, and then crafting an agreement that addressed our desire to preserve and enhance the academic integrity of the new enterprise. 

Yesterday morning, more than 50 faculty leaders at the Health Center met with Elliot Joseph, the CEO of Hartford Hospital. Frank questions were asked and I believe frank answers were given by him.  I have asked our faculty leaders to hold meetings across the Health Center during the next two weeks to discuss their impressions of the meeting and the course we are following.

Please know I will continue to relay new information as I obtain it.

Thank you.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, School of Medicine