As reported by The Hartford Courant, June 4, 2010.

UConn Hospital Funding Gets Rell's Signature

Approves a $362 Million Plan

By Arielle Levin Becker

Gov. M. Jodi Rell today signed into law a $362 million plan to expand and renovate the University of Connecticut's John Dempsey Hospital and build a network for area hospitals to collaborate on teaching and research efforts.

The bill signing followed years of wrangling over the future of Dempsey Hospital, which has struggled financially in recent years. Rell signed the bill Friday in the same spot at the UConn Health Center where the plan was originally announced in March. Unlike two previous plans, this one passed the legislature and received support from other area hospitals.

Under the plan, Dempsey - considered too small and outdated to be financially viable - will get a new patient tower, while the existing space will be renovated. Dempsey will get more profitable beds and the medical school is expected to add more students.

The plan also includes $30 million for initiatives at other area hospitals, most centered on teaching and research programs in collaboration with UConn.

For all that to happen, one key piece must still fall into place: securing $100 million in federal or other money to fund the plan. UConn officials are hoping to get it from a $100 million hospital grant U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd had inserted into the health reform law, although the state must apply for the funds and may have to compete with other states that are also eligible for the money.