BRISTOL - Bristol Hospital and Healthcare Group Inc. announced Wednesday that it will be rebranding itself to better reflect the “full scope of services” it provides, and will now be known as Bristol Health.
“We’re really excited about reintroducing ourselves to you,” Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Health, said during Bristol Hospital’s annual meeting on Wednesday in the ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.
Hospital officials also said they have dramatically shortened their mission statement to “Caring Today for Your Tomorrow.”
“This isn’t just about today,” Barwis said. “We’re not just here for today. We’re in it for the long haul.”
“It’s a powerful mission, and it took a long time to come up with it,” Barwis continued.
“We think that kind of had a catch to it, and says what we’re all about,” said Doug Devnew, outgoing chairman of the Bristol Hospital Board of Directors.
Devnew will be succeeded by Glenn Heiser, hospital officials also announced Wednesday.
Bristol Health in fiscal year 2018 turned a profit of about $1.9 million. This is the first time since fiscal year 2015 that the healthcare group did not take a loss.
“This is a dramatic turnaround from fiscal year 2017,” Devnew said, referring to the healthcare group’s loss of over $6 million.
Barwis partially contributed the hospital’s turnaround to its commitment to growing in the area, giving the community more access to care.
“The important thing is access to care, local access to care,” Barwis said. “We’re taking care of people locally. We’re taking care of people in the community.”
In 2018, Barwis said, Bristol Health grew by 12.2 percent in Wolcott, by 43 percent in Southington and by 110 percent in New Britain. The healthcare group now includes more than 20 physician offices in Bristol, Burlington, Farmington, New Britain, Plainville, Southington and Wolcott.
During the annual meeting, Barwis also said that, thanks to the work at the Beekley Center for Breast Health and Wellness, the number of mammogram screenings conducted has gone up by 57 percent since 2013. They are given to patients whether they can afford them or not.
Bristol Hospital in 2018 was also the number one hospital in the state at preventing hospital-acquired infections.
“What an amazing job,” Barwis said of the nursing staff at the hospital.
Barwis also noted that the long-awaited Medical Care Center downtown should be opening its doors very soon. He gave a special thanks to Florida-based Rendina Healthcare Estate, the developer of the downtown center.
Barwis said Rendina “still went through with the transaction” after the hospital took a loss of more than $6 million in 2017.
“What they said is that they believe in us,” the president and CEO continued.
Rendina, Barwis added, invested “not just in a building,” but in Bristol as a community.
Barwis also thanked Thomaston Savings Bank during the meeting for giving the hospital an emergency $1 million line of credit in the fall after the state began underpaying the hospital for Medicaid reimbursements because of a computer glitch.
“We really struggled,” Barwis said, reflecting on the underpayments - an issue that has since been corrected.
Hospital officials on Wednesday also discussed their next big project, to expand and renovate the Emergency Center - which receives about 40,000 visits per year.
The new center will include a trauma room with two bays, 21 private exam rooms, three semi-private exam rooms, five rooms dedicated to pediatric patients, two patient isolation rooms, three vertical treatment stations, one cardiology triage room, 10 behavioral health exam rooms and a number of other features.
Construction for this project began in February, as the Bristol Hospital Development Foundation was able to raise $3.1 million of its $5 million goal. This included a $1.1 million donation from the Barnes family and Barnes Group Inc, a $250,000 donation from the Robert Rosenheim Foundation, a $150,000 donation from the Thomaston Savings Bank, a $100,000 donation from ESPN and a $50,000 donation from the Main Street Community Foundation.
Mary Lynn Gagnon, executive director of the development foundation, thanked everyone who donated and asked that those who haven’t to consider investing in such an important project for the community.
“We really truly are dedicated to this project,” Gagnon said.
“We’re so blessed to have the Barnes family, who truly believes in our center,” she added.
During the annual meeting, Elsa Pasha was recognized as the employee of the year of the Bristol Hospital Multi-Specialty Group. Michelle Labbe was named employee of the year at Ingraham Manor, and Cathy Cutter was awarded employee of the year at Bristol Hospital.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.