Having opened an outpatient clinic in Danbury last month, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is looking to continue to expand in Fairfield County, part of an ongoing effort to grow not only its physical presence but its national reach as well.
“Our ‘Help Me Grow’ program has been so successful in Connecticut that we’ve exported it to 30 states,” Connecticut Children’s Medical Center President and CEO Jim Shmerling said. “We continue to look to build national models of care.”
“Help Me Grow” identifies children who are at risk for developmental or behavioral problems and links them to services offered in their communities.
Another Connecticut Children’s Medical Center program, “Healthy Homes” – which receives funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the State of Connecticut Department of Housing – integrates a variety of health and safety interventions, lead hazard control, energy efficiency interventions and housing rehabilitation to produce safer environments for occupants.
“We’ve treated countless children for asthma,” he said, “and within a few months they’re back in the hospital because their home environment has triggers. ‘Healthy Homes’ is designed to mitigate those environmental triggers.”
The Hartford-based organization partnered last year with the Western Connecticut Health Network (now Nuvance), resulting in its pediatric experts providing care for children who are patients at Danbury and Norwalk hospitals. Since launching that partnership, Connecticut Children’s staffers heard from the community that access to more pediatric programs and services was needed, helping to pave the way for the new clinic, Shmerling said.
The facility at 105-A Newtown Road in Danbury is staffed by 14 specialists in such areas as cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pediatric surgery and nephrology. It offers such imaging services as ultrasounds, X-ray and electrocardiograms.
Shmerling said that a reason Danbury was chosen was for its being “a place where there’s a large concentration of children.”
He said the organization is looking to expand further within the county and state. It has clinics and affiliated practices in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Norwalk, Shelton, Stamford and Trumbull. Other possibilities include Greenwich and Westport.
The Fairfield County connection is exemplified by three of its 15 board members being based in the county, including Dr. Dorothy Levine, a pediatrician at Stamford Health.
It also has a presence in Springfield and South Hadley, Massachusetts. Shmerling said western Massachusetts and eastern New York are “in the conversation” for further expansion.
“We received children from 50 different countries last year,” he said, “so we see the need to expand our reach both within Connecticut and beyond.”
Shmerling expects the organization to announce several new locations throughout 2020.