The Healing Powers Of The Great Outdoors

When Herb Virgo spends time on the trails in Hartford’s Keney Park, he feels different. There’s a “heightened sense of wellbeing, a feeling of connectedness,” he said of spending time outside at the nearly 693-acre park in Hartford’s North End. “There are portions of the park that you can visit that completely make you feel like you’re in another place, in another world. Not only in another city, but in a completely different ecosystem.” Virgo is the founder and executive director of Keney Park Sustainability Project and is dedicated to helping others have similar experiences through the project’s Urban Ecology Wellness Center at Keney Park initiative.

After Stillbirth, Undocumented Woman Organizes Partnership To Help Others Find Better Care

When Laura Garcia was pregnant with her third child, a boy she named Matias, she had symptoms that made her uneasy. Her nails turned purple, her feet were swollen and she was vomiting. Undocumented and uninsured, she sought care in a community clinic. “They told me it’s normal,” said Garcia of Norwalk. But one day in her 39th week of pregnancy, as she returned home from work, she could no longer feel the baby moving.

Med Board Fines Waterbury Doc $10,000, Reprimands Two Licenses

The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday reprimanded two doctors, including fining a Waterbury doctor $10,000 for inappropriately prescribing high doses of narcotics to a patient. In addition to the fine and reprimand, the board also placed the medical license of the Waterbury physician, Dr. Philip A. Mongelluzzo Jr., on probation for two years, state records show. Mongelluzzo failed to meet the standard of care for a patient between 2014 and 2018 when he did not appropriately treat the patient’s chronic pain and prescribed the narcotics without documenting the therapeutic reasons for the drugs, according to a consent order that Mongelluzzo signed. The order said Mongelluzzo, the owner of Care Beyond Medicine in Waterbury, also prescribed sedatives to the patient without limits and without an adequate medical purpose for doing so. While not admitting to wrongdoing, Mongelluzzo chose not to contest the allegations, the consent order said.

REACH Fund Begins Distributing Grants To Abortion Providers

The REACH Fund of Connecticut, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding abortion care, has begun making grants to abortion providers. “People think that because abortion is legal here and Connecticut has a lot of wealthy areas that there isn’t a need, but there is,” said co-founder Jessica Puk. Medicaid covers abortion in Connecticut, but Puk says the fund will address a need among many marginalized groups, including undocumented women, low-income people who earn too much to be covered by Medicaid, and those who have private insurance with a high deductible or copay costs. “These are real people who need to access real health care and are hitting real barriers to it,” she said. Puk and three other women began organizing the fund in the summer of 2021.

Medicare Penalizes 25 Hospitals For Readmissions, But Fines Lower Due To COVID

Twenty-five Connecticut hospitals will lose some of their Medicare reimbursement payments starting this month as penalties for having too many readmitted patients. Still, in most cases, the fines are much lower than in previous years, new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show. In this year’s evaluation, CMS considered the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on hospitals, excluding data for the first half of 2020 and Medicare patients readmitted with pneumonia, according to a report in Kaiser Health News. Nationally, Medicare is penalizing 2,273 hospitals, the fewest since 2014, with an average payment reduction of 0.43%, Kaiser reported. In Connecticut, 69% of all hospitals in the program face fines, but most are under 1%.

Up To 10,000 CT Veterans Could Be Eligible For VA Benefits From Burn Pit Exposure

Up to 10,000 Connecticut veterans who haven’t been eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits will now qualify for them if they have medical conditions resulting from exposure to burn pits or toxic contaminants, U. S. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said Wednesday. He was speaking at a news conference after meeting with staff, veterans and their caregivers at VA Connecticut Healthcare in West Haven. The added eligibility is the result of a new federal law, called the PACT Act, which provides an easier path to compensation and care for illnesses that occur after exposure to burn pits and other environmental toxins.  It expands the number of veterans eligible nationally for such help by about 300,000, according to the VA. There are now about 56,000 Connecticut veterans enrolled at the VA, according to Pamela Redmond, spokesperson. On Nov.

The Unknown Puts Offspring At Risk Of Sickle Cell Disease

Most Connecticut residents who carry a trait for sickle cell disease don’t know it, resulting in thousands of people unwittingly risking having a child born with the debilitating illness, according to sickle cell disease specialists. The reasons for this vary: there’s a lack of knowledge about results of newborn testing for the trait, parents don’t always convey test results to their children, gaps in state record keeping, and state records that identify people with the disease or trait only go back to 2012. Also, doctors typically only test for the trait when a patient requests it. And people often don’t know they can have the trait even when sickle cell disease isn’t in their family. Dr. Biree Andemariam, director of the New England Sickle Cell Institute at UConn Health, said physicians should include trait testing in routine exams. “It should be standard care,” she said.

With 1 In 3 College Students Nationwide Facing Food Insecurity, Colleges Respond

Leslie Argueta is a 21-year-old first-generation college student at Goodwin University who plans to work with children and families in need. It’s a profession for which her own life experience has prepared her. When Argueta was 3, she emigrated from El Salvador with her family, settling in East Hartford. In Argueta’s first year of college, a car accident left her mother unable to work for a year, forcing the young college student to divide her time between her studies and hospital visits. “Me and my brother had to provide a little bit more for our family,” Argueta said.

Refugee Family Nurtures Culture In Hartford Community Garden

On a September weekday morning, Maaye May removes the lock and chain from one of two gates and enters the Niles Street Community Garden in Hartford. A 6-foot high, black-metal fence encloses the garden, which measures half the size of a football field. Within the gated oasis, the city surroundings slip away as bees, birds, flowers, fruits and vegetables begin to dominate the senses. May, 41, has an hour and a half to pick Thai chili peppers before driving to her part-time job washing dishes in East Hartford. She disappears into a green hedge, filling a small blue bucket with red and green chilies.