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Hartford HealthCare’s Medical Mission Brings a Day of Care Across Connecticut

September 14, 2023

“We literally save lives.”

That’s how Bill Hoey, vice president of mission services for Hartford HealthCare’s Fairfield region, describes the Medical Mission, an event St. Vincent’s Medical Center hosts in Bridgeport every November.

“It’s not hyperbole,” he says. “Every year, at least one person and usually more have to be transported from the event to the emergency room. Thank goodness we are able to identify these folks. What a gift that is for the community.”

St. Vincent’s introduced Medical Mission in 2015. The program continued after the hospital became part of Hartford HealthCare in 2019, and this year will extend to all of the system’s acute care hospitals.

Caring for the community

Volunteer medical staff and associates offer medical exams, podiatry services and more at no charge and with no insurance required. The one-day mission also provides eyeglasses, winter coats, haircuts and other necessities.

The effort has grown to serve more than 300 patients in 2022 alone. This year, Hoey expects 400 to 500 in Bridgeport.

“We’re committed to health equity and bringing our experts where they are needed most,” says Michael J. Daglio, HHC executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Taking Medical Mission at Home system-wide will not only help more neighbors in need across the state, it gives more colleagues the opportunity to be part of this truly inspiring experience.”

With nine years’ experience, Hoey and the St. Vincent’s team shared their playbook with teams from other HHC hospitals.

The logistics are staggering – everything from advanced communications in appropriate locations and languages to spread the word, to making sure there’s adequate wifi at Mission venues the day of, to creating a Kid Zone offering childcare while parents receive care.

Spreading the work thrills Hoey.

“It really is a godsend,” he says. “To bring such needed medical care right to our communities, to eliminate barriers to care, is phenomenal. The impact will be huge.”

A side benefit is the team-building, Hoey says. Colleagues across the system – from clinical care to environmental services – work side by side at the Mission.

Services provided may include:

  • Behavioral health screenings
  • Community services
  • Food and clothing
  • Glasses
  • Haircuts
  • Lab tests
  • Medical screenings for diabetes and cholesterol
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Pediatric services
  • Prescriptions
  • Vaccinations

Staffing the Mission

Each site needs several hundred volunteers to best care for those who attend. As of Aug. 22, there are more than 1,350 volunteers registered. Among the volunteers needed are:

  • Medical professionals
  • Behavioral health professionals
  • Healthcare workers of all disciplines
  • Nursing, health and allied health students

Medical Mission locations are:

  • Backus Hospital at Norwich Free Academy, Norwich
  • Windham Hospital at Windham Community & Senior Center, Willimantic
  • Hartford Hospital at Hartford Public High School, Hartford
  • Charlotte Hungerford Hospital at Coe Memorial Park Civic Center, Litchfield
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut/MidState Medical Center at South Church, New Britain
  • St. Vincent’s Medical Center at Cesar Batalla School, Bridgeport