People & Lives Touched

more-move-in-your-grooveHartford HealthCare’s Community Benefit Programs

Hartford HealthCare’s multi-million dollar investment in community benefits supports all of HHC hospitals’ efforts. Below are just a few examples:


Hartford Hospital partnered with Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit organization that helps underserved people access and afford healthy fruits and vegetables. Hartford HealthCare’s Hartford Region is providing funding to pilot Wholesome Wave’s Wholesome Communities Connecticut initiative in Hartford. The program will provide financial support that people in the Hartford area can use to buy produce each month for a 4 to 6 month period. At the start, our target is to reach 500 participants. Ultimately, our goal is to work with Wholesome Wave to identify corporate partners in our community to secure investments totaling $20 million over the next three to five years. Hartford is the first hospital system of Wholesome Wave’s Wholesome Communities initiative.

The Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital conducts Mental Health First Aid Training for both adults and youth. It is a certification program to help identify signs, symptoms of a mental health problem or crisis to get the person the appropriate help. Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack-even if you have no clinical training-Mental Health First Aid allows you to assist someone experiencing a mental health-related crisis. In the course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns such as identifying signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance use. As well as strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. After attending all 8 hours, you will be a certified Mental Health First Aider.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human service workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health issue or is in crisis. The course teaches a 5-step action plan for crisis and non-crisis situations. After attending all 8 hours, you will be a certified Mental Health First Aider.

You do not need any particular qualifications to participate and both courses are free.


To prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and help people be healthier and happier, Backus Hospital created a Preventive Medicine Team (PMT) composed of an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN) and Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). The PMT supports patients who are frequently admitted to the hospital by identifying at-risk patients; utilizing direct hospital interventions; creating individualized transitional care guides that address medical and social determinants of health; and tracking how the initiative impacts patient experience of care, resource utilization, and overall health of the population. Interventions may include

  • Intensive medication review and counseling;

  • Healthcare coordination with all providers involved in the patient’s care;

  • Identification of adverse social determinants of health, such as financial or behavioral challenges;

  • Screenings for anxiety and depression;

  • Supportive counseling and health coaching; and

  • Referrals to community resources.

Initial results have been remarkable, and the team believes successful transitions of care will heighten the patient experience, improve patient care, and lower avoidable medical costs. After the first year of the program, patients reported an improvement in quality of life related to their healthcare. In addition, there was a 65 percent reduction in the total inpatient/observation encounters and a 38 percent reduction in Emergency Department visits.


Since its inception almost 25 years ago the Windham Hospital Paramedic program has not only become one of the highest quality and trained EMS programs in the state serving 17 area fire departments including UConn and the four Boroughs of Windham. The program also provides emergency medicine coverage for many area events at no charge to the municipalities and sponsoring organization such as the Hebron Fair and UCONN graduation. They also provide free CPR training for about 70 people a year.


The Healthy Family FunFest, a collaboration between The Hospital of Central Connecticut and the Southington-Cheshire Family YMCA, is celebrating a decade of providing health information, screenings, and resources to improve the overall health of families. The day-long health fair, which is free to the community, has now expanded to include MidState Medical Center, the HHC Center for Healthy Aging, additional HHC partners, and community organizations such as the Lions Club, the Southington Library, the Connecticut Commission on Disabilities, and the Early Childhood Collaboration of Southington. Since its inception in 2009, nearly 30,000 people have taken advantage of all that the Healthy Family FunFest has to offer.
The February event offers something for every member of the family, including health screenings and information on a variety of medical topics and treatments. There are car safety seat checks, fire truck climbs for kids, the Hartford Hospital mobile mammography screening van, and visits from LIFE STAR.

The success of the FunFest prompted HHC partners to offer other health programs throughout the year. Ongoing community health-related activities include community education on a variety of topics, outreach services, including diabetes prevention and cancer treatment, as well as email newsletters with valuable health information and online tips for healthy living.


Northwest Region organizes itself around three formalized partnerships, each with specific population health goals grounded in our Community Health Improvement Plan as reflected by our Community Health Needs Assessment. These relevant collaborations include:

Fit Together
A community collaborative of health and social service providers and public officials, formed in 2011, with the purpose of identifying and implementing environmental and social improvements in the Greater Torrington and Winsted areas that help make healthy choices for individuals, easy choices. With objectives to increase physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles, Fit Together serves as the main vehicle for implementing many of the CHIP strategies that relate to its purpose and receives $100,000 per year for the next five years from HHC.

Building Healthier Communities Advisory Board
As part of the Affiliation Agreement between The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) and Hartford Health Care Corporation (HHC), a distribution of $2,500,000 has been made to the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) for the express purpose of enhancing the economic and community well-being of the Greater Torrington and Winsted areas. Funds are to be used for the formulation of a regional economic and social development plan to improve the Social Determinants of Health (SDH). The four areas pre-selected by the Board for their initial focus on SDH impact include: Education, Health and Healthcare, Neighborhood and Environment, and Economic Stability.

The Litchfield County Opiate Task Force
A Task Force formed in December 2013 to assure collaboration of area agencies, officials and community members who meet monthly to share information and develop interventions that will reduce the harm of opioid addiction. The Task Force organizes its work around four essential goals of improving access to care, enhancing collaboration and data sharing between and among service providers, reducing opioid use and misuse in the community, and sharing helpful information about addiction, prevention, safety and treatment.


To improve outcomes and close gaps related to suicide Natchaug Hospital challenged the idea that thinking alone reduces suicide rates. Recognizing that no death by suicide should be regarded as acceptable or inevitable Natchaug committed to the creation of a leadership-driven, safety-oriented culture committed to dramatically reducing suicide. In realizing that suicidal people often fall through the cracks in a sometimes fragmented and distracted health care system, Natchaug developed an approach to engage patients and ensure they have a pathway to care that meets their needs and includes the provision of continuous contact and support after a care experience. Natchaug implemented the Caring Connections Calls as a way to mitigate risk of suicide through a follow up with patients 24 hours after they’re discharged. Natchaug attempts to call 100% of people 24-hours, 1 week, and 1 month after discharge from the partial hospital level of care. Phone call follow a standard template which determines if discharged patients were able to connect to aftercare plans, receive medications, and discuss and current safety concerns. A Therapist, Recovery Support Specialist, or Case Manager attempts to call each discharged patient up to 2 times within 24 hours of discharge. If a discharged patient is in crisis at the time of the phone call, they are engaged in safety planning which may include calling 9-1-1. If the client is unable to de-escalate, Natchaug consults with members of the client’s treatment team and stays on the phone with the client until the crisis is resolved. If the client is enrolled in a partial hospital level program, the team at their care site are provided with a verbal or written update to ensure important information is shared and the best care possible is given as a result.


Community members who are unable to obtain needed medicines due to financial hardships will find assistance at St. Vincent’s Dispensary of Hope. Physicians and providers are invited to donate to the Dispensary - visit to learn more.

Faith Community Nursing is a team of Parish Nurses responding to patients’ health needs by connecting with them through their representative congregations. The program, known as Faith Community Nursing, is ecumenical, and is available to all churches, temples, congregations and synagogues in Fairfield County.

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