HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford HealthCare officially opened its doors to a new, brilliant workspace in the heart of downtown Hartford on Thursday, investing in the capital city, innovation and its colleagues.
“This was built with the idea to reignite Hartford,” Hartford HealthCare President Jeffrey Flaks said during a ribbon cutting for the new 110,000 square foot building. “To bring the people we do business with from around the country, and around the state, here to Hartford.”
Flaks said that people waiting eight to 10 months for a physical, or having drastic differences in life expectancy based on a person’s zip code, is unacceptable.
“We have to do something about it,” he said. “Health care must be reimagined.”
The facility is at the corner of Trumbull and Pearl streets. Flaks said the workspace’s design, while not the easiest to construct, was deliberate. There are no straight lines, he said, but it needed to be that way because “we won’t color inside the lines,” he said. “We are going to change where the lines are.”
With healthcare prices outpacing inflation, he said that the facility wants to pursue transparency.
“Hartford HealthCare, if we are purposeful, can raise the tide for so many people, and that is part of our purpose,” Flaks said.
About 700 people will work in the building.
Flaks announced at the ribbon cutting that Hartford HealthCare that the system is partnering with Google to sign a partnership to move Hartford HealthCare’s data to the Google Cloud. Hartford HealthCare is using the $4 million in savings from the partnership to reinvest in a joint venture with Google for a “health care accelerator” to connect patients to their providers, according to Flaks.
Google will also make a $10 million investment in the joint venture. The results of that project, Flaks said, will be applied around the world.
Gov. Ned Lamont said the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of the healthcare system, but also how healthcare needs to be more affordable, accessible, and permanent for everyone. Connecticut, he said, needs to stand together.
“If you don’t have health care, and you don’t have health care, and if you don’t have a vaccination, you’re not safe, and none of us are safe,” Lamont said. “It really brings home the meaning ‘we are all in it together.'”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said that the facility shows that the company not just provides health care, but shows a dedication from the “economic engine” to drive innovation and investment.
“You made the deliberate decision to invest in Hartford, to invest in this community, and I am so deeply grateful to you and your team at Hartford HealthCare for making that decision and making that commitment,” Bronin said.
He highlighted the healthcare system’s efforts during the pandemic, which included organizing testing at homeless shelters.
Dr. Jim Cardon, Chief Clinical Officer at Hartford HealthCare, discussed what the campus means and why it’s so much more than just a grand opening.
See a full live interview with Cardon in the video below.