Issue 251 | March 4, 2021
Financial Improvement Plan: More Progress to Report
Here is an update on UConn Health’s aggressive internal $45 million Financial Improvement Plan (FIP). As you know, the FIP is a focused effort that we have been undertaking to identify new savings and revenue opportunities, as one strategy to address this year’s projected budget shortfall.
As of the end of January, we have realized a total of $36,242,820 in savings, putting us at 81% of our $45 million goal. While major contributors continue to be clinical volume that is exceeding budgeted levels and a close monitoring of hiring and refilling positions, numerous savings and revenue ideas have contributed to the FIP and its success.
If you see an opportunity to save expenses or grow our clinical services that you think could be implemented in your area or elsewhere at UConn Health, please submit your ideas through the Dear Dr. Andy form. All ideas, including those submitted anonymously, will be reviewed. 
Thank you as always for your engagement and for all your hard work. 
High-Profile Brain Tumor Therapy Trial Chooses UConn Health
A major clinical trial of a combination of therapies to treat aggressive brain tumors will include UConn Health as one of its select few sites in the U.S. Dr. Kevin Becker, our director of neuro-oncology, is the primary investigator for this study. Our selection as a trial site is a recognition of the expertise in our new Brain and Spine Institute and Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Expecting, but Not Expecting an ICU Stay Before Delivering
After a COVID-19 scare and a stint in our hospital, Melissa Vicchitto is back home and awaiting the birth of her second child. Now she's sharing the story of her harrowing experience, isolated from her family, requiring oxygen, and naturally concerned about the health of her baby. Read how her care in our ICU turned things around and now has her breathing much more easily.
I know several people who have purchased their own medical/surgical masks in different colors and they are identical to the blue and yellow masks that we are provided with at work. However, we have been told that we have to wear the UConn-supplied masks. Could you please clarify whether masks or face shields have to be “UConn-issued”? 

Thanks for the question. I’ve shared with several relevant leaders for clarification. The reason we require protective gear (masks, face shields, etc.) to be facility-issued is, it’s the only way to be sure that our employees are using PPE that we have validated for effectiveness and/or properly fit tested. While comfort is important, our first responsibility is to staff and patient safety, and we can’t guarantee that with people bringing in their own supplies. Our infection control and logistics teams have worked hard over the past months to prepare for the possibility of a second surge and the institution has sufficient supplies.

I’d also like to report that we have ordered additional dispensers to make UConn Health-supplied masks available at the entrances we’ve been opening with the Well Screen self-screening kiosks.

For the latest information on our masking protocols, recently updated with additional FAQs, please see the PPE page on our COVID-19 staff website. Thank you for bringing this up and allowing us an opportunity to clarify, and thank you for the work you do.
Have a question for Dr. Andy? Just find his smiling face on UConn Health Express and click “Ask Dr. Andy a Question.”
Mammography Now Available on Saturdays
Starting this weekend, the Beekley Imaging Center in our Women's Health Center is offering mammograms on Saturdays, from are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is in addition to late hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (until 7 p.m.). Additionally, women 40 and older who have a UConn Health primary care physician or OB-GYN can schedule a screening mammogram without a provider order using MyChart. Find out more.
On CPTV: Colon Cancer Prevention
Since most colon cancers start off as polyps, finding them early and removing them is a reliable way to stop colon cancer before it has a chance to start. Our newest UConn Health Minute on CPTV features Dr. Murali Dharan, head of our advanced endoscopy program, explaining why for most people colonoscopy is still the best option for colon cancer screening and prevention.
New Podcast: Changing the Trajectory of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis can strike at a relatively young age and send patients down a path toward disability. But the right care from the right people can make a difference in how fast or how far down that path a patient may go, or even set an entirely different path. Our MS Center's director, Dr. Jaime Imitola, and clinical patient navigator, Karen Nelson, explain on our podcast for March, MS Awareness Month.
More Blessings From Our Patients
We still haven't run out of notes of appreciation that arrived by way of the Patient Hub newsletter:

"A big thank you to the wonderful nurses, other front-line workers and the doctors. The wonderful work you do and your sacrificial service is extremely appreciated. May you be blessed for all you do for others. Thank you."

"I heartily appreciate and thanks for your selfless dedicated service to needy patients and our community in COVID pandemic time. God bless you all."
Medical Students Vaccinate at Dunkin' Donuts Park
Some of our medical students answered the call to help with a mass COVID-19 vaccination event last weekend at Hartford's Dunkin' Donuts Park! Pictured, from left, are our Dr. Bruce Gould, fourth-year student Anagha Nagaraj, second-year student Paige Holden, fourth-year student Kyle Kulas, and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.
Got a story idea for The Pulse? Email us at thepulse@uchc.edu.
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