As reported by the Bristol Press, March 9, 2010.

Bristol Hospital Happy with Rell Plan, So Far

By Jackie Majerus

BRISTOL — After fighting hard against plans to replace the University of Connecticut Health Center with a brand new facility that threatened the survival of community hospitals in the region, Bristol Hospital President Kurt Barwis is supporting the latest proposal to overhaul the Farmington medical center.

“From everything I’m hearing today, it feels good to me,” Barwis said Tuesday.

He has been in conversations with UConn officials and others deeply involved in the planning and “It was made very clear that Bristol Hospital would not be excluded,” Barwis said. “We will not be left behind. We will not be left out.”

Barwis said he doesn’t have all the details yet and is looking forward to additional meetings to learn more.
“Everything seems to have come together very quickly,” he said.

He acknowledged there is a “genuine concern for the Health Center” in the state, though until now, competing interests — including those of community hospitals like Bristol’s — haven’t been aligned.

“It feels and sounds as though they’ve listened,” said Barwis.

In a general sense, the plan includes fixing the existing hospital, expanding space for medical students, adding to research efforts and putting the neonatal intensive care unit in the hands of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“I personally can’t object to that,” said Barwis. “It’s going to focus on fixing the hospital without adding hundreds of beds.”

The number of new beds will be limited to the number of beds turned over to the children’s hospital.

“That makes so much sense,” Bristol Hospital has always supported the children’s medical center having that role, said Barwis.

He also approves of the part of the plan creating more space for additional medical and dental students in the state.

“That’s a good thing for us,” said Barwis.

He hopes that the plan will help create jobs in Bristol and he’d like to see leaders in the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, other economic development officials and business owners in the research or medical field get involved.

“There could be potential for job creation in Bristol,” said Barwis.

The plans shouldn’t impact Bristol Hospital’s affiliations with other hospitals in the state, including Yale-New Haven, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center or St. Francis Hospital, he said.