Spring Hills Names Dr. Pierantonio Russo as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Clinical Transformation Officer

Veteran Cardiac Surgeon, Heart Transplant Surgeon and Health Care Executive to Lead Expansion of Organization’s Population Health Management Program

Spring Hills announced today that it has named Pierantonio Russo, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Clinical Transformation Officer of the Population Health Management Program. Russo will oversee the integration of Population Health into Spring Hills’ clinical programs and offer guidance to providers, payers, and policymakers on IT and AI enabled comprehensive population management, including complex care for high-risk, high cost, high needs patients.

Following two decades of practicing cardiac and heart transplant surgery, first at the Mayo Clinic, Russo assumed executive leadership roles providing expertise in medical informatics, machine learning (ML) and predictive modeling applications in health care, value-based insurance and outcome-based contracts, and population medicine. Prior to joining Spring Hills, Russo served as the Chief Medical Officer of HVH/Eversana, a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) and ML for health care applications and global commercial services to the life sciences industry. Among other projects, Russo led an initiative with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on early predictors and medical cost of several rare diseases.

In 2016-17, Russo served as Vice President of Health Services at Boston-based Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Insurance Council Chair and board member of the Massachusetts Health Care Quality Partners. He supported the creation of a framework for utilization, quality management and reimbursement that facilitated the launch of the virtual hospital or hospital-at-home program, Medicallyhome. From 2007-2016, Russo was Medical Director at Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia, where he leveraged predictive algorithms codesigned with the data science team to implement disease management and telemedicine initiatives for patients with heart failure.

“Dr. Russo is a clinician with a notable track record of driving new innovation to improve patient care and outcomes,” said Alex Markowits, Founder and President/CEO of Spring Hills. “He is keenly aware of the numerous factors that can impact a person’s health and has created programs over the past decade to close critical gaps in communication and care. His background and expertise make him an ideal fit to lead the growth of our population health management program. With his experience in cardiology, Dr. Russo also will be a key asset to our specialized cardiac program for people transitioning from hospital to home after a cardiac event.”

Spring Hills operates Post-Acute Care, Assisted Living, and Memory Care communities and Home Care services for seniors and those with chronic health needs. The company is expanding to include clinical programs that will offer residents and patients uniquely comprehensive health care. Population Health Management is fully integrated into the clinical programs, including the recently established Cardiac Program.

Spring Hills Population Health associates build relationships with the patient and family while in the hospital to ensure a smooth transition to Spring Hills and provide support during their stay and for 90 days post-discharge. Services include care coordination, personal communication, follow-up appointments, home visits, remote monitoring and removing social or financial barriers to care. Through Population Health

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Popular Banquet Venue Shutting Down Operations Until Spring

SOUTHINGTON, CT — One of the state’s most popular banquet venues will be taking the colder months off, citing coronavirus restrictions.

The announcement was made on the Aqua Turf Club’s Facebook page. It is located at 556 Mulberry St. in the Plantsville section of Southington.

“To all our valued business customers, brides and their family, community, staff and vendors … As we enter the winter season and upcoming, cold New England weather, the ATC will be initiating a temporary shutdown,” it read.

Officials said in the announcement the shutdown will be similar to what the business underwent this past spring, when starting in mid-March, “we were unable to provide our customary services due to Covid-19 restrictions and regulations.”

All 2020 weddings and “standard bookings” have either taken place, been postponed or in some cases, canceled, officials said.

Officials said they expect to resume operations early March, “with anticipated expectation we will be allowed to do so.”

Officials continued, “We will monitor the state of Connecticut’s executive orders relating to our industry. We hope to see an increase in the allowable indoor capacity, the public’s comfort level when attending an indoor event, or best-case scenario, the release of a viable vaccine.”

Officials were adamant the announcement make no implication that the venue is closing permanently.

“We will remain open for tours, phone calls, and emails for those wishing to communicate with us or who are interested in hosting a future event, as well as working on various projects to the facility. We have some dates available for 2021 and currently booking through 2023,” officials said. “While we appreciate those who are concerned for us and our industry, we would rather anyone with a question regarding an event they have scheduled or wish to schedule, to reach out to us personally so we may quell any uncertainties you may have.”

This article originally appeared on the Southington Patch

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Italy imposes harshest coronavirus restrictions since spring lockdown as second wave sweeps Europe

Italy became the latest European country to announce new restrictions to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus on Sunday as countries across the continent continue to report surging infections.

A waiter wears a mask while working Sunday at a bar in Rome.

© Yara Nardi/Reuters
A waiter wears a mask while working Sunday at a bar in Rome.

France on Sunday announced more than 50,000 new infections, a new record for the fourth day running. Germany, widely lauded for its initial handling of the virus, reported a surge of its own. The number of coronavirus cases in Poland has doubled in less than three weeks. And Spain has also imposed new restrictions.

The World Health Organization reported new daily case records worldwide three days in a row last week, with new infections reaching more than 465,000 on Saturday. Almost half of those cases were in the organization’s Europe region. The United States set a new record Friday with more than 82,000 confirmed new infections.

“The pandemic is spreading rapidly again, even faster than at the start of it more than half a year ago,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in her weekly video podcast. 

Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, called trends in both the United States and Europe “deeply troubling.” 

“Unless the U.S. and Europe take decisive action to stop the spread of the virus, we could easily see case numbers that eclipse pre-lockdown levels,” she told The Washington Post. “If case numbers get too large, it may be too difficult to meaningfully slow the virus using measures other than shutdowns.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the new restrictions as the country reported a record 21,273 cases on Sunday. Beginning Monday, restaurants and bars will be required to close by 6 p.m., and gyms, pools and movie theaters must shut down entirely. The restrictions are the fourth round of tightening this month in Italy, and the most severe since the country lifted its nationwide lockdown in May.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks Sunday during a news conference on new measures against the coronavirus.

© Yara Nardi/Reuters
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks Sunday during a news conference on new measures against the coronavirus.

Despite a months-long shutdown in the spring, when the country suffered thousands of deaths, an overloaded health-care system and bodies piling up in hospital wards, it’s clear the fight is far from over.

Italy had 1,208 covid-19 patients in intensive care on Sunday — more than on March 9, when Conte announced the lockdown.

“These are difficult days,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. “The curve of contagion is growing in the world. And in all Europe the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers.”

Europe appeared to beat back infection rates during the summer. But as economies have reopened and colder weather pushes people indoors, several countries are now reporting case numbers that are eclipsing records set in the spring.

Numbers have soared in the Czech Republic, which in recent days has requested additional ventilators from an

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Massachusetts coronavirus cases rise 744, one of highest days since the spring

Massachusetts health officials on Sunday reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 744 new cases — one of the highest days of cases in the Bay State since the spring.

The 14 new coronavirus deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 9,737, the state Department of Public Health said. The three-day average of coronavirus daily deaths has dropped from a peak of 161 in May to 18 now.

The state has logged 143,660 cases of the highly contagious disease, an increase of 744 confirmed cases since Saturday. Of the 143,660 total cases, at least 118,892 people have recovered.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts health officials reported that 63 communities are now in the high-risk category for the coronavirus —  a state record after 40 cities and towns were on the list last week. The state overall average is now in the red zone.

The daily percentage of tested individuals who are positive continues to hover around 4%. That figure at the start of September was between 1% and 2%, but the rate was 5.0% on Thursday, 4.5% on Friday and 4.0% on Saturday — the most recent day of available data.

The seven-day weighted average of the state’s positive test rate ticked down from 1.3% on Saturday to 1.2% on Sunday.

Coronavirus hospitalizations went down by 17 patients, bringing the state’s COVID-19 hospitalization total to 483.

The highest peak of Massachusetts’ coronavirus hospitalizations was 3,965 on April 21. The three-day average of coronavirus hospitalizations has jumped from 308 last month to 499 now.

Of the state’s 9,737 total coronavirus deaths, 6,278 are connected to long-term care facilities.

The state reported 25,294 residents and health care workers at long-term care facilities have now contracted the virus.

An additional 15,588 tests have brought the state’s total to more than 5.1 million tests.

There are 83 patients in the ICU, and 32 patients are currently intubated.

More than 219,000 Americans have died. The country’s death toll is the highest in the world, which eclipsed 1 million deaths last week worldwide.

The U.S. has recorded more than 8.1 million coronavirus cases — also the most in the world. More than 3.2 million people have recovered.

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Hope Center Houston in Spring partially reopens their doors for homeless clients

While Hope Center Houston has not been able to meet face-to-face with clients since COVID-19 precautions became the norm in March, the building is partially reopening to let clients take showers and do laundry.

Hope Center Houston, located in the Spring area, offers resources for people who are homeless. The faith-based nonprofit reopened their doors to one client at a time on Oct. 5, allowing non-staff into the building for the first time in months.

Bob Butler, executive director of Hope Center Houston, said the center never stopped serving clients, still providing meals and other products for visitors. The center has installed physical plexiglass barriers and now requires everyone to wear a mask.

“Ever since the COVID thing we’ve been providing hot meals, hygiene kits and clothing out of the front door,” Butler said. “We’ve served close to 4,000 meals now for the last six months and hundreds of hygiene kits and clothing.”

The staff is now smaller, with some people coming in more often, Butler said.

“Frankly, all of our volunteers are not comfortable yet coming back so we’re dealing with a smaller crew that’s coming in more frequently … to make sure that our needs are covered and we respect the rights of those who are a little bit more reserved and don’t want to be in the public yet,” Butler said.

Butler said case workers have been working nonstop on housing assessments, psych referrals and addiction help virtually and over the phone, if possible, as well as in-person. The chance for clients to take showers, do laundry and take clothing is a strong part of the partial reopening, Butler said.

“Everything else is continued with our case workers and our chaplain and people are making appointments and coming in one at a time,” Butler said. They come in, get the service and leave rather than hang out and spend the day with us. Unfortunately, a lot of what we do is really relational and we miss that.”

Usually when clients would come into Hope Center Houston, they would spend time with the staff or at one of the many activities going on such as prayer groups, meditation, life skill classes and help with job interviews as well as meals. Hope Center Houston has seen less clients in-person since the pandemic began. Clients used to be able to browse the internet or use the onsite library, none of which are currently available.

“I think to come for a hot meal or some hygiene without the relationship part doesn’t have the same value to them as being able to come and spend some good time with some good people,” Butler said. “Our numbers have decreased because I think they see the values of the service as decreased … These things are all going on simultaneously and they choose what it is

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