As reported by the New Britain Herald, October 26, 2007.

HSC Opens Disease Treatment Clinic

By Scott Whipple

NEW BRITAIN - The Hospital for Special Care took a giant step Thursday into a regional market, opening a Neuromuscular Clinic for people with illnesses such as Lou Gehrig's disease and Muscular Dystrophy.

The center is one of two in Connecticut - the other is at Yale-New Haven Hospital - and among only 17 in the country, said hospital Co-President David Crandall, who cut the ribbon to open the clinic.

"This is a regional hospital, not a local hospital," he said at a celebration afterward.

The 228-bed, private, not-for-profit acute and chronic care hospital, which has campuses in New Britain and Hartford, has brought on Drs. Kevin Felice and Charles Whitaker to direct the clinic.

They are considered two of the region's leading specialists in neuromuscular medicine.

"Important advances are being made in the treatment of these diseases," said Dr. John Votto, the hospital's co-president and chief executive. "The addition of Drs. Felice and Whitaker to our medical staff allows us to deliver services more efficiently."

Felice, a professor of neurology at the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine, has been selected four times as "a top doctor" in the state by Connecticut Magazine and Hartford Magazine. He has also been named one of the best doctors in the nation in the field of neurology by a peer review survey conducted in 2005.

Whitaker, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, is a past fellow of Clinical Medical Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine. In 2001 he received the Virginia Scola Compassionate Physician Award and was named Teacher of the Year in 2003 by the Neurology Residency program at UConn.

They join a hospital that has treated patients in the Greater New Britain Area since the early 1940s. HSC handles medically complex cases stemming from accidents, strokes, spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as diseases or disorders attacking the pulmonary and nervous systems.

"We're proud to improve the delivery of needed services through this clinic to patients affected with conditions like MD and ALS," Votto said.

"For these patients [coming here] becomes a seamless care process," Crandall added.

The innovative physical design of the hospital allows physicians, patients and families to work together in close proximity using the latest medical technology, Crandall said, an approach that often results in positive outcomes for patients at lower cost to their families and the community.

"The state knows we have the patients and that our specialists deal with these diseases," Crandall said.

He hoped legislators would keep this in mind. As part of what Crandall calls "a very distinct partnership," 80 percent of hospital funding come from the state or federal government.