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Natchaug News

CHA Launches Multi-Channel Digital and Ad Campaign Opposing  Governor Malloy’s Hospital Cuts
WALLINGFORD – The Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) today launched a new website, www.StopTheCutsNow.org, and unveiled a TV, radio, and digital campaign in opposition to Governor Malloy’s recent $240 million in hospital cuts. 

Natchaug, BHN Host The Overdose Epidemic Forum
Addiction is a growing health issue that is impacting  a wider cross section of people in eastern Connecticut,  but the problem is solvable with the right mix of collaboration, evidence-based treatment and coordinated care, a panel of experts said at Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

BHN president receives Grassroots Champion Award
Stephen W. Larcen, PhD, president of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, has been named recipient of the 2015 Grassroots Champion Award from the American Hospital Association and Connecticut Hospital Association, recognizing those around the country who have done the most to work with elected officials to effect positive change for the health of our communities.

Rehmer named Senior VP of HHC Behavioral Health Network
HARTFORD, Conn. — Patricia A. Rehmer, MSN, ACHE, a nationally recognized leader in mental health and substance abuse, will join Hartford HealthCare (HHC) as a senior vice president.

HHC Partners with The Connecticut Forum to Host Mental Health Event
HARTFORD, Conn. - The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is partnering with The Connecticut Forum to host, “An Honest Look at Mental Illness: A conversation about perceptions, realities, and what it’s like to work and live with the stigma of mental illness” on Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford.

Scott Appointed as Director of Social Work
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Kristie Scott, MSW, as the Director of Social Work.

Sleeper Named Vice President of Nursing
MANSFIELD, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Sleeper, MSN, RN, as the new Vice President of Nursing.

Liberty Bank Foundation Gives $3,000 for Joshua Center Thames Valley Campaign
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Liberty Bank Foundation awarded Natchaug Hospital a grant of $3,000 for the Safety. Trust. Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley.

SI Financial Group Foundation Grants Hospital $10,000 for Joshua Center Thames Valley Campaign | July 31, 2013
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce that the SI Financial Group Foundation awarded the Hospital with a grant of $10,000 for the Safety. Trust. Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley.

Dime Bank Donates $25,000 for New Joshua Center Thames Valley | June 14, 2013
NORWICH, Conn. – Dime Bank presented Natchaug Hospital with $25,000 for the new Joshua Center Thames Valley facility at the Hospital’s Annual Board Reception on Thursday.

 


CHA Launches Multi-Channel Digital and Ad Campaign Opposing  Governor Malloy’s Hospital Cuts
Campaign Highlights Loss of Critical Services, Jobs, and Access

WALLINGFORD – The Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) today launched a new website, www.StopTheCutsNow.org, and unveiled a TV, radio, and digital campaign in opposition to Governor Malloy’s recent $240 million in hospital cuts.  The campaign details the anticipated impacts of these cuts, calls on legislators to intervene, and urges Governor Malloy to restore the funding.

“After five years of cuts and taxes totaling more than $1.3 billion to hospitals in Connecticut, we have reached the breaking point and have no choice but to fight back against the Governor’s dangerous and deeply damaging actions,” said Jennifer Jackson, CEO, CHA.  “Governor Malloy’s cuts have already cost healthcare jobs and forced hospitals to cut back critical services.  Enough is enough.” 

The Medicaid funding that Governor Malloy cut is needed to support the healthcare costs of one in five Connecticut residents.  His actions are increasing cost, reducing access, and hurting our state and local economies.  In addition to the hospital cuts, one of the grant programs cut in 2016, the Community Care Teams, would have helped those most in need of medical and mental healthcare and saved the state money, since many of these patients are also Medicaid clients.

“As healthcare organizations dedicated to helping people, these cuts make us sick,” continued Jennifer Jackson.  “This campaign is about standing up for those who do not have a voice but will be directly impacted by these cuts.”

See more at www.StopTheCutsNow.org.


Natchaug, BHN Host The Overdose Epidemic Forum

Addiction is a growing health issue that is impacting  a wider cross section of people in eastern Connecticut,  but the problem is solvable with the right mix of collaboration, evidence-based treatment and coordinated care, a panel of experts said at Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“The large homes with the fancy cars, they have drug problems too,” said Bill Muskett, Windham Hospital Emergency Medical Services Manager and a long-time paramedic.. “Every town has different issues, different drugs, but it’s ultimately the same problem.”

Muskett was one of five panelists who participated in the Overdose Epidemic forum, hosted by Hartford HealthCare (HHC), Windham Hospital and the HHC Behavioral Health Network. They discussed the science of addiction,  their firsthand experiences, and how they can work together to deal with K2, heroin and prescription drug abuse in the Windham region.

Willimantic became the focus of state-wide media attention this year after a rash of overdoses was credited to K2, otherwise known as synthetic marijuana.

But despite perception, the issue of substance abuse is not contained to Willimantic, said HHC Behavioral Health Network Vice President of Operations James O’Dea, PhD, MBA, who moderated the event.

“There are 169 towns and villages in Connecticut, and every community has people who are dealing with these issues,” O’Dea said.

“This disease does not discriminate,” said Leah Russack-Baker, Ed.D, LADC, Director at Natchaug Hospital’s Quinebaug Program.

A major barrier to addressing the issue of substance abuse is the stigma around addiction, said Rebecca Allen, MPH, of the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.

“So many think it’s a moral failing,” Allen said, who has been in recovery from heroin since 1998.

Samuel Silverman, MD, Medical Director of Addiction Services at Rushford, stressed that addiction is a disease where the brain’s pleasure centers get “hijacked” by substances.

“Once the brain is addicted, it’s like a dry creek bed in the desert,” Dr. Silverman said.

Silverman added that we tend to “dehumanize” people with addictions, and that needs to change. He applauded Allen’s achievements, including her graduation with a Master’s Degree while in recovery.

“Pride is the antidote to shame,” Silverman said.

A number of solutions were discussed including the widespread distribution of NarCan, which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose; medication-assisted treatment using Suboxone; and clearer paths from emergency rooms to treatment programs. The answer, however, is not simple.

“If there was one solution we would have figured it out already,” O’Dea said.

But panelists agreed the first step is to start the conversation –whether it’s in your home with a child or family member, or in a public forum like the Overdose Epidemic,  which  included Hartford HealthCare and its community partners, all of whom vowed to work together on the substance abuse issues that affect Eastern Connecticut. The group is in the process of cataloguing existing resources in order to come up with an approach to curb the rising tide of people abusing drugs like  k-2 , heroin, prescription drugs and even alcohol.

“In order for change to happen we really do need to have uncomfortable conversations,” Russack-Baker said.


BHN president receives Grassroots Champion Award

Stephen W. Larcen, Ph.D., president of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, received the 2015 Grassroots Champion Award from the American Hospital Association and Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) at a June 30 ceremony recognizing those who have made significant contributions to supporting the mission of hospitals.

The Grassroots Champion Award is given every year to one person from each of the 50 states who has done the most to educate elected officials and legislators about the need to support hospitals and the critical role they play in keeping communities healthy. The ceremony was part of CHAs 97th Annual Meeting at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

In a video played during the ceremony, American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said Larcen was selected for the award because of his long record of advocacy on behalf of the mental health system and mental health patients in Connecticut.

He takes seriously his role in educating legislators about the mental health system to effect positive public policy change, Umdenstock said. He is one of the most knowledgeable and well-respected mental health advocates in Connecticut.

Larcen, who has announced his intention to retire from his position next year after more than 40 years as a leader in mental health services, said the award is indicative of the quality of people he has worked alongside over his career.

Receiving this award is a real honor, but it takes a village, he said. Ive had a lot of mentors and colleagues over the years that I have worked with, and my wife has been my partner in this advocacy work at both the state and federal level.

Larcen serves as co-chair of the subcommittee on mental health at CHA. He became Vice President for Behavioral Health at Hartford HealthCare in 1997 while serving as President and CEO of Natchaug Hospital. He was named President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network in 2013. He has been appointed by the Governor to the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council, and was a board member of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, which has also recognized him for his advocacy at the federal level.

Watch the video message from Rich Umbdenstock:


Hartford HealthCare Names Patricia Rehmer to Behavioral Health Network

HARTFORD, Conn. — Patricia A. Rehmer, MSN, ACHE, a nationally recognized leader in mental health and substance abuse, will join Hartford HealthCare (HHC) as a senior vice president. She will assume the role of president of the HHC Behavioral Health Network (BHN) later this year.

In that role, Rehmer will succeed Stephen W. Larcen, PhD, who has announced his retirement as founding president of the BHN by the end of this year.

Rehmer comes to HHC from her post as commissioner of the state of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). She has nearly 30 years of experience with public and private behavioral health agencies. She has served as commissioner of DMHAS since November 2009, after first serving as DMHAS Deputy Commissioner from 2004 through 2009.

“Pat Rehmer has the skills and the drive to build on the firm foundation of extensive behavioral health initiatives and strong legacy of community commitment that Steve Larcen has created,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, executive vice president and chief operating officer for HHC.

In her new role, Rehmer will be part of Connecticut’s largest and most integrated behavioral health network. The unified service line provides the full continuum of behavioral health care recovery and prevention services, with an emphasis on the integration of behavioral health and primary care.

Larcen said he is “delighted and enthused” at the announcement.

“I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Pat Rehmer for nearly two decades,” Larcen said. “I cannot think of a more dedicated, knowledgeable and forward-thinking expert to be part of our system’s behavioral health programs and services. Pat is a tireless champion for mental health issues, and a true leader in our field.”

Rehmer originally joined DMHAS in 1999 as the chief executive officer of the Capitol Region Mental Health Center, the local mental health agency serving the greater Hartford area.

This will be a homecoming of sorts. Rehmer began her career at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, a critical component of the BHN, where she worked for 17 years. The Institute of Living (IOL) is one of America’s leading not-for-profit centers for comprehensive patient care, research and education in the fields of behavioral, psychiatric and addiction disorders.   

At the IOL, Rehmer held a variety of positions, including head nurse, program director for the partial hospital program, director of adult programs, and clinical director of operations. Rehmer’s clinical responsibilities included inpatient, outpatient, partial and residential services for children and adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients.

“I’m deeply honored to have this opportunity to play a leadership role with Hartford HealthCare and the comprehensive network for behavioral health it has created,” Rehmer said. “Working with caregivers, families and patients is my passion, and I look forward to helping create positive change for those in need.”

Rehmer earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in Nursing from St. Joseph’s College. She is a member of the American Council of Healthcare Executives. 

During her tenure as DMHAS’s commissioner and deputy commissioner, Rehmer worked in partnership with individuals in recovery, families, advocacy groups and service providers to ensure that individuals have a meaningful life in the community. She currently serves as president of the board of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

“Pat Rehmer’s deep knowledge of the behavioral health system and her compassionate advocacy to find creative solutions and develop stronger networks will serve our patients and their families well,” Flaks said. “We are proud that Ms. Rehmer launched her highly successful career right here at Hartford HealthCare, and we are looking forward to her leadership in the years ahead.”


HHC Partners with The Connecticut Forum to Host
"An Honest Look at Mental Illness"

HARTFORD, Conn. - The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is partnering with The Connecticut Forum to host, “An Honest Look at Mental Illness: A conversation about perceptions, realities, and what it’s like to work and live with the stigma of mental illness” on Friday, March 7 at 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford.

This unscripted evening of unforgettable conversation supports HHC’s efforts to further the national dialogue on mental health and to help “Stop the Stigma” that surrounds mental illness.

Featured panelists include Dr. Hank Schwartz, chief of psychiatry for the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network; first-round NBA draft pick and mental health advocate Royce White; author and psychologist Andrew Solomon; and bipolar disorder expert Kay Redfield Jamison. John Dankosky, host of WNPR’s “Where We Live” will serve as moderator.

For tickets, visit www.CTForum.org, or call 860.509.0909.

In association with this event, The Connecticut Youth Forum and the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital are hosting a pre-forum program aimed at youth entitled, “Our Beautiful Minds,” on Thursday, Feb. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Our Beautiful Minds” features an open lecture on mental health, a tour of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center lab and the opportunity to visit the IOL’s “Myths, Minds and Medicine” museum.


Scott Appointed as Director of Social Work

September 30, 2013

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Kristie Scott, MSW, as the Director of Social Work.

Scott will be responsible for overseeing the adult, adolescent and child inpatient unit therapists and social workers, who are responsible for group therapy, treatment plans, discharge planning and family work.

Before joining Natchaug, Scott managed the DSS/DMHAS Medicaid Mental Health Waiver Program at Advanced Behavioral Health in Middletown, Conn. She was also responsible for developing and administering the Child Placing Programs at Klingberg Family Services in New Britain, Conn. In addition to these roles, Scott boasts several years of experience working as an adoption social worker for various social service organizations in CT, New York and Boston.
Scott received both a Master’s of Social Work in policy and planning and a Bachelor of Science in human development and family relations from the University of Connecticut.


Sleeper Named Vice President of Nursing

September 1, 2013

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce the appointment of Justin Sleeper, MSN, RN, as the new Vice President of Nursing.

In his new role, Sleeper will be responsible for the direction, supervision and management of the Hospital’s adult, adolescent and pediatric inpatient units, as well as leadership of nursing.

Prior to joining Natchaug, Sleeper served as Director of Psychiatric Services at Backus Hospital in Norwich where he was responsible for the management and operation of the psychiatric inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital and emergency services. Sleeper also served in a variety of other positions at Backus including Clinical Educator, Director of Education and Clinical Director of Inpatient Psychiatry.

In addition to his experience at Backus, Sleeper held a number of other nursing positions and is a member of the Adjunct Faculty in Psychiatry in the Department of Nursing at the University of Connecticut.

Sleeper received his Master of Science degree in nursing at Southern Connecticut State University and his Bachelor of Science in nursing at Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y.


Liberty Bank Foundation Gives $3,000 for
Joshua Center Thames Valley Campaign

August 12, 2013

Liberty Bank President & CEO Chandler Howard (far left) and Liberty Bank Foundation Chairman Michael Helfgott (far right) pose with Natchaug Hospital CDT School Principal Kelly O’Brien-Kelly (left) and Natchaug Director of Schools Jill Bourbeau (right) at a check presentation reception.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Liberty Bank Foundation awarded Natchaug Hospital a grant of $3,000 for the Safety. Trust. Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley.

The Safety.Trust.Hope. Campaign aims to raise $250,000 in community support for the construction of Joshua Center Thames Valley, a treatment center for children and adolescents struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse in the greater Norwich area.

JC Thames Valley, which is currently under construction at 11A Stott Avenue in Norwich, will reconfigure existing Natchaug child and adolescent treatment programs in Norwich and Montville. The program will open in late August as the new school year begins.

The renovated JC Thames Valley building will house one of Natchaug’s seven Clinical Day Treatment Schools as well as after-school treatment programs for children and adolescents with behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The Hospital’s Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services program will also be based out of JC Thames Valley.

The two-floor facility will include a permanent workshop for the YouthWorks program, which teaches practical work skills such as carpentry and horticulture to at-risk adolescents. A Life Skills resource room will ready teenagers for independent living with lessons on cooking, personal finance and household management.

Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank with more than $35 billion in assets and 44 banking offices throughout the state of Connecticut. Since 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has provided more than $7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Liberty Bank’s market area. The Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in preventative programming for children and families, affordable housing, and nonprofit capacity building.

For more information on Natchaug Hospital or the Safety.Trust.Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley, visit www.natchaug.org.


SI Financial Group Foundation Grants Hospital $10,000 for Joshua Center Thames Valley Campaign

July 31, 2013

SI Financial Group Foundation President Rheo Brouillard (middle) presents Natchaug Hospital President and CEO Stephen W. Larcen, Ph.D., (right) and Joshua Center Thames Valley Program Director Peter DeRosa (left) with a check during a grant presentation at the Savings Institute Main Office in Willimantic, Conn.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce that the SI Financial Group Foundation awarded the Hospital with a grant of $10,000 for the Safety. Trust. Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley.

The Safety.Trust.Hope. Campaign aims to raise $250,000 in community support for the construction of Joshua Center Thames Valley, a treatment center for children and adolescents struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse in the greater Norwich area.

JC Thames Valley, which is currently under construction at 11A Stott Avenue in Norwich, will combine existing Natchaug child and adolescent treatment programs in Norwich and
Montville. The program will open in late August as the new school year begins.

The renovated JC Thames Valley building will house one of Natchaug’s seven Clinical Day Treatment Schools as well as after-school treatment programs for children and adolescents with behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The Hospital’s Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services program will also be based out of JC Thames Valley.

The two-floor facility will include a permanent workshop for the YouthWorks program, which teaches practical work skills such as carpentry and horticulture to at-risk adolescents. A Life Skills resource room will ready teenagers for independent living with lessons on cooking, personal finance and household management.

The SI Financial Group Foundation, Inc. was established in 2005 by SI Financial Group, Inc., the parent company of the Savings Institute Bank & Trust Co. in Willimantic, Conn. The Foundation provides funding to support charitable causes within the market area of the Bank’s 21 eastern Connecticut offices.

For more information on the Safety.Trust.Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley, click here.


Dime Bank Donates $25,000 for New Joshua Center Thames Valley

June 14, 2013

Dime Bank President and CEO Nicholas Caplanson presents a check for $25,000 to Natchaug President and CEO Stephen Larcen, Ph.D.

NORWICH, Conn. – Dime Bank presented Natchaug Hospital with $25,000 for the new Joshua Center Thames Valley facility at the Hospital’s Annual Board Reception on Thursday.

Dime Bank’s generous gift is the largest to date for the Safety.Trust.Hope. Campaign for Joshua Center Thames Valley, which aims to raise $250,000 for the creation of the new facility.

Joshua Center Thames Valley, which is currently under construction at 11A Stott Avenue in Norwich, will combine existing Natchaug child and adolescent treatment programs in Norwich and Montville.

The renovated JC Thames Valley building will house one of Natchaug’s seven Clinical Day Treatment Schools as well as after-school treatment programs for children and adolescents with behavioral health and substance abuse issues.

The Hospital’s Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services program will also be based out of JC Thames Valley.

The two-floor facility will include a permanent workshop for the YouthWorks program, which teaches practical work skills such as carpentry and horticulture to at-risk adolescents. A Life Skills resource room will ready teenagers for independent living with lessons on cooking, personal finance and household management.

Natchaug’s Annual Board Reception, held at the Backus Business and Technology Center, also honored Jeffrey Koehl, President of SPIROL International Corporation; Eileen Ossen, Exeuctive Director of the Jeffrey P. Ossen Family Foundation; and retiring Board member Pedro Johnson with Distinguished Service Awards for their service to the community.

Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Patricia Rehmer gave keynote remarks on mental health discrimination in the wake of Sandy Hook.