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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: James Shmerling

James Shmerling, who arrived at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in late 2015, has spent the last year-plus trying to manage his hospital through the pandemic.

And it hasn’t always been easy.

James Shmerling, CEO, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Earlier this year, CCMC became the first Connecticut hospital to sue its insurance company, Continental Casualty Co. and its parent CNA Financial, for failing to pay business interruption claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That put CCMC at the center of a national legal controversy over whether business interruption insurance covers pandemic-related lawsuits. Courts, for the most part, have said no.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, CCMC has continued to innovate. For example, in late 2020 it announced a new collaboration with Hartford HealthCare to streamline care for children and families from birth to young adulthood.

With the new collaboration, Connecticut Children’s will be the pediatric partner of choice for Hartford HealthCare and patients will be ensured access to care as they transition to adulthood.

Connecticut Children’s has also launched an innovation center to foster its own clinicians’ commercial ideas and to collaborate with industry to pilot new healthcare technologies toward clinical trials. In September, the hospital announced it would be leading a five-year, $30 million federal “cradle-to-career” pipeline program that will help children in North Hartford improve academic outcomes and long-term developmental trajectories.

Shmerling and his team are also working to manage a surge in children showing up in the hospital’s emergency department seeking urgent behavioral health care, according to the Hartford Courant

The Nashville native is well-known in the industry, having held management roles at children’s hospitals in five states since 1979. He also chaired the board of the national Children’s Hospital Association in 2014.

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