On Friday, April 26, 2013, health care leaders from across Connecticut gathered at the State Capitol in Hartford for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgical Health Care Quality Forum Connecticut, in partnership with the ACS Connecticut Chapter and the Connecticut State Medical Society. Hosted by Scott J. Ellner, DO, MPH, FACS, Director of Surgical Quality, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Connecticut Medical School; and Co-Chair, ACS Connecticut Chapter Committee on Patient Safety, the forum featured keynote speaker Kevin J. Counihan, CEO, Access Health CT.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) made a special appearance to discuss the important role surgeons play in driving national efforts to improve health care quality and reduce costs. Sen. Blumenthal urged surgeons to reach out to lawmakers to ensure they have the right support to increase the value of health care.

(From left to right: Colleen Desai, MSN, RN, CEN; Alison L. Hong, MD; Andrew Baskin, MD; Scott J. Ellner, DO, MPH, FACS; Kevin J. Counihan; David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS; Rocco Orlando III, MD, FACS; Kathleen LaVorgna, MD, FACS; Donna Laliberte O’Shea, MD, MBA, CPE. Not pictured: Kevin Lembo)

Forum panelists included:

  • Andrew Baskin, MD, National Medical Director for Quality and Provider Performance Measurement, Aetna
  • Colleen Desai, MSN, RN, CEN, Trauma Program Manager, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; President-Elect, Connecticut Emergency Nurses Association
  • Alison L. Hong, MD, Director, Quality and Patient Safety, Connecticut Hospital Association
  • David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director, American College of Surgeons
  • Kathleen LaVorgna, MD, FACS, Private Practice Surgeon, Norwalk Hospital; President, ACS Connecticut Chapter
  • Kevin Lembo, Comptroller, State of Connecticut
  • Donna Laliberte O’Shea, MD, MBA, CPE, Market Medical Director, Connecticut, UnitedHealthcare
  • Rocco Orlando III, MD, FACS, Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Hartford HealthCare

For more information, read the ACS news release or email

"Premium rate increases are among the greatest threats to the sustainability of health reform and enhanced access to health insurance. The implementation of the ACA and of state marketplaces provides new opportunities to examine fresh ways to address this issue."

Kevin J. Counihan, CEO, Access Health CT