SVMC Inpatient Rehab

Small, Mighty, Among the Nation’s Best

Story by Anne Rondepierre

Small Team, Big Impact — From left: Sean Kelly, MD, medical director; Nicholas Japs, physical therapist; Michelle Pomar, lead occupational therapist; Evan Sigouros, occupational therapist; Jonathan Ulichney, physical therapist; Ellen Miller, RN; Rachel Ermark, rehab aide; Christine Vidmosko, area manager; and Christian Alvarez, regional director. Photo by Chris Rakoczy

Uniform Data Systems recently recognized the St. Vincent’s inpatient rehabilitation unit as among the top 10% of facilities in the nation.

This is an incredible achievement considering SVMC patients are typically more complex than the rest of the Northeast and the average length of stay is shorter.

“This accomplishment is thanks to the hard work and dedication of all of the colleagues who work on and support St. Vincent’s IRU,” says Christian Alvarez, director, Fairfield Region Rehabilitation Network. “Our 10-bed unit is small, but mighty!”


Hartford HealthCare Medical Group Project

Collaborative Initiative Leads to ‘Our Journey to Workplace Safety’

Story by Maggie Werner

Caring for patients means caring for each other, a belief the Medical Group morphed into a campaign called “Our Journey to Workplace Safety.”

The initiative, in collaboration with public safety, focuses on ensuring safety and well-being of every colleague through a monthly tip sheet offering practical safety advice and themed colleague activities that intricately tie safety practices to achieving and sustaining high reliability.

We’re dedicated to fostering an environment that safeguards our mental and physical well being,” says Quality and Safety Medical Director John Foley, MD.

Addressing key aspects of workplace safety, the HHC MG’s initiative focuses on crucial areas to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of every colleague.

Three key aspects of workplace safety

  • Awareness & Safety
    • Equipping colleagues with knowledge and tools to identify and navigate potential hazards.
  • Contacts
    • Clarifying emergency contact lists and response protocols to ensure prompt assistance in times of need.
  • Understanding workspace
    • Encouraging a complete understanding of individual workspaces to promote proactive safety measures.

To support the journey, its Quality and Safety Department established an open line of communication and encouraged colleagues to pose questions and contribute suggestions, bringing awareness to any areas that may require additional support.

“Our commitment to creating a safe environment acknowledges that the foundation of exceptional patient care lies in the care of those providing it,” Dr. Foley emphasizes.


Park City Celebrates Borchetta

Story by Anne Rondepierre

Community calling — Celebrating with Edna Borchetta, second from left, are: Bill Jennings, Fairfield Region president; Melissa Sheketoff, WICC radio host; and Dan Onofrio, BRBC president and CEO. Photo by Chris Rakoczy.

Edna Borchetta, manager for mission services and community impact in the Fairfield Region, received the Susan L. Davis Community Leadership Award at the 2023 Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC) awards ceremony. The recognition calls her an invaluable leader in her role. Borchetta was also a member of the BRBC’s Leadership Greater Bridgeport (LGB) Program, class 32.


HHC Top Pharmacist Earns National Recognition

Story by Susan McDonald

Filling the Need: Eric Arlia was front and center during the COVID-19 pandemic when Hartford HealthCare began providing vaccines to residents. Photo by Chris Rakoczy.

When Becker’s Hospital Review released its list of the top 75 hospital and health system chief pharmacy officers to know, Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare vice president of pharmacy services, was there.

The Becker’s listing says, “He aims to grow the pharmacy service line and formulate further opportunities to care for patients. He and his team focus on medication management and are deeply committed to safety and quality.”

Arlia provides system-wide oversight of pharmacy services including medication management, drug supply, pharmacy and therapeutics councils, and a team of regional and system pharmacy colleagues. His strategic, innovative thinking and operational acumen ensure the system is providing the safest, most equitable, affordable, accessible and excellent care for all we serve.


Recognition for Much-Needed Education

Story by Susan McDonald

The Palliative Care Council was recognized in the national publication of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) for teaching the group’s curriculum to a rapidly growing group of Hartford HealthCare providers.

Nicole Dunn, Katie Lepak, Mary Kate Eanniello, and Holly Defeo were recognized as educators who have trained 367 interdisciplinary learners here, including nurses, advance practice providers, doctors, social workers and others.

This work to educate clinicians demonstrates the high-quality work being done by the hospice team here, including efforts to address the lack of specialty-trained pediatric hospice providers.

Stephanie LaPointe and Amy Craaybeek are HHC’s pediatric ELNEC educators. They have trained nurses, doctors, social workers and pastoral counselors in an effort to expand access to a population of patients desperately in need of support outside children’s hospitals.

The Hartford HealthCare Palliative Care Council includes, from left: Nicole Dunn, APRN; Katie Lepak, LCSW; Mary Kate Eanniello, RN; and Holly Defeo. Photo by Chris Rakoczy.

Vijay Yanamadala: Power Player

Story by Anne Rondepierre

Becker’s Spine Review featured Vijay Yanamadala, MD, a neurosurgeon at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, as one of its “25 Power Players in Spine.”

The publication notes Dr. Yanamadala was the first surgeon in New England to perform an awake spinal fusion and the second surgeon in the world to use Carlsmed’s patient-specific spine implant.

“This really is a testament to the incredible team here at Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute and St. Vincent’s Medical Center that is helping us lead the innovation,” says Dr. Yanamadala. “I am grateful every day to be at an institution where we can truly offer the most innovative care to our patients.”


A Stroke of Luck — and Love

Story by Robin Stanley

Maria Sepulveda was shocked to learn her artwork was selected to promote the 2024 Black & Red gala. Photo by Chris Rakoczy.

Maria Sepulveda arrived at work one morning with a sense of anticipation, believing her department would be honored at an event. Little did she know it was her being recognized.

A few weeks earlier, Sepulveda, a medical assistant at the Bone & Joint Institute Infusion Center and mother of three, entered a contest to be the featured artist for the 2024 Black & Red gala, the annual high-end fundraiser that features big-name entertainment to raise millions for Hartford Hospital projects.

When I entered the contest, I was not thinking about winning. I was thinking about getting to do something I love,” she said.

Her piece, titled “Your Trust is in Our Hands,” is a striking blend of black and red, symbolizing the trust patients have in the emergency room, where every touch carries the promise of healing. It was featured on the Black & Red invitation and promotional materials.

“When you go to the emergency room, you’re so afraid of everything. You go there because you’re looking for someone to assist you, someone you can trust,” Sepulveda said, explaining her inspiration. “We use our hands to take care of patients, and that’s what I was thinking about.”

Sepulveda relocated to Connecticut from Puerto Rico eight years ago. Painting and writing poetry are lifelines that anchor her in a bustling career. She finds solace capturing picturesque landscapes of Old San Juan, weaving nostalgia and hope into every brushstroke.

She aspires to become a patient advocate, a beacon of empathy and understanding for those navigating the complex maze of healthcare.

“As someone who came from another country not that long ago, when you work hard every day, things will happen for you,” she said. “Do what your heart tells you.”