Connecticut Pushes Health-Care Network to Create 5,000 Jobs

Gov. M. Jodi Rell seeks to invest $352 million to renovate aging UConn hospital, among other initiatives, in landmark partnership.

by / March 12, 2010
Connecticut Gov. M Jodi Rell governor's office

A proposed $352 million health partnership network would transform health-care delivery in Connecticut and create 5,000 new health-care jobs, according to Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Rell unveiled plans this week that would establish the UConn Health Network of Hartford-area hospitals with a state-of-the-art 230-bed patient tower and completely renovated hospital at UConn Health Center campus in Farmington as the centerpiece of the partnership.

"The return on our investment will include a nationally recognized cancer center and specialized institutes and advanced training open to all health-care professionals in the state," Rell said. "The tremendous benefit, of course, is a more robust health-care sector that stands to gain 5,000 new jobs in the years to come."

The renovated John Dempsey Hospital will have more classroom and lab space for medical and dental students, offsetting any potential shortages in the field, Rell said. Here's the expected breakdown of the funding: $100 million from federal funds, $25 million for design and planning from UConn 21st Century funding; $227 million in state bonding.

The proposal must pass the Connecticut General Assembly and secure federal funding and approval from at least one state agency. UConn President Michael Hogan said the proposal would put the health center on "firm footing" for the future.

"This isn't a matter of holding off and holding our own," wrote Rick Green in a Hartford Courant column. "If we don't do this, we slip backward: UConn declines as a medical and research school and we miss the change chance to build a new economy centered on bioscience and medical technology."

According to Rell, the state and University of Connecticut are building the network in collaboration with Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Connecticut Children's Medical Center and other health-care facilities and providers.

In addition to the hospital, components of the plan include a simulation center at Hartford Hospital and a primary care institute at St. Francis, among others.