Becoming Better Together
Letter to the Editor | Villager Papers | July 22, 2022
Over the past few weeks, community and health care leaders and providers have written to share their perspectives on Day Kimball Healthcare’s proposed affiliation with Covenant Health. I am proud to have served Day Kimball Healthcare for more than 16 years, including a several year tenure as chief medical officer. During this time, I developed a warm respect for the people of northeast Connecticut and helped lead Day Kimball in its efforts to meet the health care needs of the community. Clearly, Day Kimball has continued to do very well with providing high quality, compassionate care to those it serves.
Four years ago, I joined Covenant Health as senior vice president and system chief medical officer. Because of my deep experiences in both organizations, I am fully confident the proposed affiliation will result in both Day Kimball Healthcare and Covenant Health becoming better together.
Several recent letters to the editor have rightly highlighted the speed at which health care is changing and the growing pressure on smaller health care institutions. It is true that health care organizations which must make difficult decisions and choose to maintain the status quo in this turbulent season will face very real consequences. These consequences can range from a decline in patient volumes and reputational challenges to service reductions, job losses and even closure.
I believe there are compelling benefits and opportunities that will result from the proposed affiliation between Day Kimball Healthcare and Covenant Health. First and foremost, Day Kimball will have access to Covenant’s resources, clinical best practices, operational expertise and support, and the economies of scale required to ensure the organization remains viable and able to serve future generations of families in the community. Implementing Epic, Covenant’s system-wide electronic medical record and arguably the best in the nation, is one great example of the depth of resources Covenant will deliver. Physicians, advanced practice providers and other team members will also have more opportunities to exchange best practices and to grow professionally.
As chief medical officer, I see firsthand Covenant’s genuine commitment to the highest quality health care, and to preserving and enhancing care in smaller, often underserved communities. This is exactly what is currently done in the three markets in which Covenant hospitals exist—hospitals very similar in size and scope of services to Day Kimball. Unlike many other potential partners, Covenant Health will preserve and build on Day Kimball’s identity and long legacy, with which I am very familiar. Affiliating with Covenant Health, a not-for-profit organization, Day Kimball will continue to be a trusted and invested partner to the community and will continue to reinvest any excess revenue back into jobs, facilities, equipment, and services – just as it does today. It is important to note that Covenant will also maintain Day Kimball’s local board of directors, made up of community members who help to guide decision-making. In addition, a Day Kimball Healthcare board member will be added to Covenant Health’s board of directors to ensure local needs and issues are well represented at the corporate level.
I am deeply proud to have been part of the Day Kimball Healthcare family for nearly half of my professional career. I am equally proud to be part of the Covenant Health family and am excited about the good work we are doing in many other communities similar to those in The Quiet Corner. Once approved by regulators, I am confident that the partnership between Covenant Health and Day Kimball Healthcare will ensure vital resources remain where they are most needed, resulting in better care for the community and allowing both organizations to become even better together. And I look forward to, once again, supporting and serving the great people of northeast Connecticut.
Douglas Waite, MD
Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer