News From the College

ACS, Connecticut Health Care Leaders discuss Quality Improvement and health care reform


The American College of Surgeons (ACS) hosted the ACS Surgical Health Care Quality Forum Connecticut on April 26, in partnership with the ACS Connecticut Chapter and the Connecticut State Medical Society. In this 13th forum, surgeons, hospitals, health plans, physicians, and government leaders shared best practices for improving patient care, achieving better outcomes, and curbing rising health care costs.

The Connecticut Forum highlighted the efforts of the Connecticut Surgical Quality Collaborative (CtSQC), a statewide group of 20 hospitals that meets regularly to share quality outcomes including successes and best practices.

From left to right: Ms. Desai; Drs. Hong, Baskin, Ellner, Counihan, Hoyt, Orlando, LaVorgna, and Laliberte O'Shea. Not pictured: Dr. Lembo

The CtSQC announced that six more hospitals are joining this effort, including: Hartford Hospital, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain and Southington; Windham Hospital, Willimantic; MidState Medical Center, Meriden; Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Pawcatuck; and John Dempsey Hospital at the UConn Health Center, Farmington. Many CtSQC hospitals also use the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) to improve outcomes in key areas of surgical care and provide the best possible value to patients, hospitals, and health plans.

"Our collaborative is a unique forum to get hospitals at the table, not as competitors, but as health care providers with a common goal to improve patient care," said forum host Scott J. Ellner, DO, MPH, FACS, director of surgical quality, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, assistant professor of surgery, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and Co-chair, ACS Connecticut Chapter Committee on Patient Safety. "We now have more than two-thirds of the hospitals in the state participating, sharing practical and candid information with each other, and that’s something we all can be really proud of. As a result of this effort, patients will get better care and our health care system will improve—everyone wins."

"Connecticut is the perfect example of what the College aspires to drive forward with these forums and the Inspiring Quality initiative—encouraging collaboration to share tangible examples of quality improvement and therefore provide a platform for action," said ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS.

The Connecticut forum featured diverse opinions on high-quality health care and the impact of health care reform, including:

• Kevin J. Counihan, chief executive officer, Access Health CT

"Premium rate increases are among the greatest threats to the sustainability of health reform and enhanced access to health insurance"

• Andrew Baskin, MD, national medical director, quality and provider performance, Aetna

"Quality improvement is more than just one single event or provider—it requires partnerships throughout the spectrum of care. "

• Colleen Desai, MSN, RN, CEN, trauma program manager, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; president-elect, Connecticut Emergency Nurses Association

"At Saint Francis, we rely on quality programs like ACS NSQIP and the ACS Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) to tell us exactly how we’re doing in key areas so we know what we need to improve on."

• Alison L. Hong, MD, director, quality and patient safety, Connecticut Hospital Association

"Connecticut hospitals are recognized as leaders by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for their participation in Partnership for Patients, an initiative to prevent harm and reduce readmissions."

• Kathleen LaVorgna, MD, FACS, private practice surgeon, Norwalk Hospital; president, ACS Connecticut Chapter

"Participation in the state collaborative allows us to compare our quality issues with other hospitals in our state, and by sharing our experiences, we learn from each other and the quality movement becomes not just a concept to discuss, but a real collaborative project based on science and clinical results."

• Kevin P. Lembo, Comptroller, State of Connecticut

"Through the Health Enhancement Program, we are bringing patients closer to primary care—proving that quality care and management results in better outcomes for both the patient and the plan.

• Rocco Orlando III, MD, FACS, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Hartford HealthCare

Our leaders drive our culture by linking our values to our performance. Across our health system, we set goals collectively and collaboratively—building dashboards and objective metrics to assess our progress."

• Donna Laliberte O’Shea, MD, MBA, CPE, market medical director, Connecticut, UnitedHealthcare

"Transparency will continue to play a larger role as we examine both how to define quality and how to provide higher-quality care"

To view the archived Connecticut forum video and follow additional updates, visit or the College’s YouTube channel at

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