William M. Jennings, Fairfield region president
(part of Hartford HealthCare)
2800 Main St., Bridgeport
What was your path to becoming the president of Hartford HealthCare’s Fairfield region and St. Vincent’s Medical Center?
“I’ve been called to this work. I am in health care because I’ve always wanted to help people, but clinical work isn’t for me. I repeatedly passed out at the sight of blood while in high school working as an orderly in the ER. So, I had to figure out a different way to help people and I feel so fortunate that I am here, leading this amazing team. It is a perfect fit. Leading the Fairfield region is one of the greatest privileges I have known. And I stand on giants. I’ve been lucky to have many distinguished mentors and sponsors along the way and do my best every day to give back to the community however I can.”
What makes St. Vincent’s Medical Center distinctive?
“We have the perfect blend of caring for the community and the best expertise. Fairfield is so lucky to have Hartford HealthCare and St. Vincent’s Medical Center here. Our expertise is second to none. Our model is different: We have clinical institutes that are specifically designed around patients. The institute model brings all the disciplines together – neurosciences, orthopedics, urological diseases, cancer and heart and vascular – and brings groups of experts directly to patients when they need them most. This history of a Roman Catholic institution and traditions, coupled with the values of Hartford HealthCare, make for a really unique and positive culture.”
What are its specialties?
“Specialties include our institutes: the Ayer Neuroscience Institute, Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, Heart and Vascular Institute, Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute, Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute and our Behavioral Health Network. But we also have other specialties – the Birthing Center and women’s health, advanced gastrointestinal disease, breast care, emergency medicine, trauma, psychiatry and mental health.”
Increasingly, hospitals are becoming part of health-care systems. What are the advantages of such networks?
“Covid has highlighted the important advantages of being part of a health-care system. Smaller hospitals looked to us for help – for nurses and equip-ment, which we were happy to provide. In the peak, we were able to move people and resources where they were needed most. If we have a care team down because of Covid, our colleagues from another hospital jumped in to help. That’s who we are – people caring for people. We were able to partner with the community.
And we are working hard to lower the cost of care. By opening new access points in the area, we give our community lower-cost options than a hospital. So, the advantages are many. We just signed on our one-millionth ‘MyChartPlus’ user. This means our community members have their electronic medical records in the palm of their hands. Remember when you had to bring folders with you wherever you were? Being part of an integrated delivery health-care system means that we have been able to bring hundreds of experts to the area. We are adding multiple new points of access to health care in the region like urgent care sites, surgery centers, imaging centers, medical specialty offices, infusion centers, cardiac testing offices and surgical specialty offices, as well as the Spine and Wellness Center in Westport. All of this alleviates pressure on hospitals, lowers costs and improves access to care.
Finally, the values of Hartford HealthCare bring multiple advantages to our colleagues and to the patients we serve – equity, excellence, caring, safety and integrity. It’s woven into everything we do. We say: We do the kind thing, we do the best thing, we do the safe thing, we do the right thing and we do the equitable thing.”
What do you see in the future for St. Vincent’s Medical Center?
“We are committed to access. We know that access to the highest-quality care improves the health of our communities and lowers the cost of care. Everyone – no matter who you are or where you live – deserves world-class care. That’s what we are bringing to Fairfield. My colleagues are remarkable. We are in health care, because we are called to this work. We are making a difference in so many lives.”
For more, visit stvincents.org.