News Release

January 18, 2007

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

Guiding Your Own Health Care with Confidence

Next UConn Patient School Begins March 1

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Baffled by what your doctor tells you? Questioning what published health information is current and accurate? Wondering what your test results really mean? Answers to these and more questions that frequently perplex health care consumers will be provided at “Patient School,” a course designed to provide the tools needed to successfully negotiate and understand today’s health care environment. Whether the information comes from your doctor or other health care professional, the web, newspapers or your friends, learn to ask the right questions and traverse the sea of health information.

The five-week course is being offered by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and will be held Thursdays, March 1 through 29, from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. in Farmington.

Graduates of Patient School will be able to identify their rights and responsibilities as a patient or patient advocate, employ strategies to optimize doctors’ office visits and hospitalizations, and find and use reliable sources of health information to increase their understanding of medical conditions and treatment options and more. Each class will feature one or two topics and a question and answer period.

“In all likelihood, each and every one of us will experience being a patient and many of us patient advocates as well,” said program director Robert Trestman, M.D., director of the Connecticut Health Signature Program at UConn Health Center. “This program, which we believe is the only one-of-its-kind in the country, represents a unique and valuable educational opportunity.”

“Previous attendees unanimously said they would recommend the class to others,” said Wendy Soneson, the program manager. “It’s certainly a serious time commitment, but our feedback indicated that it was time well spent at a pace that was quick, interesting, and informative.”

Course topics and presenters from the UConn Health Center faculty include:

  • “A Roadmap to Reliable Health Information – It’s a Jungle out There” – how to find accurate, reliable health information, evaluate websites, and sort out conflicting data and current research, Evelyn Morgan, director of Lyman Maynard Stowe Library, and staff.
  • “When the You Are Hospitalized,” preparing for a successful hospitalization or surgery, and strategies for working with caregivers, Carlene Bartolotta, R. N., director of Patient Relations.
  • “Answers to Questions You Weren’t Asked, But Should Have Been” – a template for recording personal medical information for each type of physician visit, presented by Charles Huntington III, P.A., M.P.H., Connecticut Health Signature Program.
  • “How to Make Better Health Decisions When It Matters Most – Understanding the Results of Diagnostic and Screening Tests” – interpreting diagnostic and screening tests, presented by Scott Wetstone, M.D., Department of Community Medicine and Health Care.
  • “Legal and Ethical Issues at the End of Life: The Importance of Advance Care Planning” – understanding advance directives for end-of-life issues and developing a step-by-step procedure for decision-making, presented by Barbara Blechner, M.Ed., J.D., Division of Medical Humanities, Health Law and Ethics.
  • “An Inside Perspective on Insurance, Billing, and Health Care Finances” – determine how and when to discuss healthcare finances with your provider and identifying the role and responsibilities of your insurer presented by patient financial services directors Donna Hayes, UConn Medical Group, and Richard Peer, John Dempsey Hospital.
  • “HIPAA: Beyond the Basics of Privacy” – learn about the many facets of privacy protection patients are entitled to under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Iris Mauriello, R.N., Corporate Compliance Integrity and Privacy Officer, Compliance Office.

Participants will receive a variety of resource and educational materials at each class. They will also be awarded a Patient School certificate of completion.

“We believe Patient School can significantly help people become wise and savvy health care consumers by providing the tools they need to negotiate today’s health care environment with confidence,” said Dr. Wetstone. “Knowledge and information are the foundation for maximizing patient care and being your own best advocate, and direct instruction from professionals is the best way to build that foundation,” he said.

There is a charge of $59 for Patient School. To register and for more information, call UConnLink 679-7692 or 800-535-6232. Class size is limited to 30 participants.

Learn more about the instructors and topics, read comments from past participants, and more at the Patient School website:

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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