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October 18, 2021 POWER 25 HEALTHCARE

2021 Power 25 Health Care: Sonja LaBarbera and Lynn Ricci

Connecticut’s two long-term care hospitals — the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain and Wallingford’s Gaylord Specialty Healthcare — play a crucial role in providing care and rehabilitation for elderly and seriously injured or ill patients.

Board Chair, Lynn Ricci, Hospital for Special Care

At the respective helms of HFSC and Gaylord are CEOs Lynn Ricci and Sonja LaBarbera.

Combined, Gaylord and HFSC — which have a different mix of patients and payers — serve tens of thousands of inpatients and outpatients each year.

LaBarbera has overseen a major renovation of Gaylord’s Wallingford campus. Last fall it launched a new research center aimed at developing new discoveries in rehab medicine.

The new Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation employs Gaylord experts in brain and spinal cord injuries, complex strokes, amputations and pulmonary diseases to innovate on technology and treatment to help care for patients recovering from illness and injury.

Gaylord has also played a role in helping COVID-19 long-haulers — people who got the disease and have suffered long-term effects — rehab from their illness. It is also receiving some national attention this year, being featured in the Public Broadcasting series “Travels & Traditions with Burt Wolf,” for its innovation and long history.

Sonja LaBarbera, CEO, Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Ricci has played a key role in building HFSC’s autism inpatient program, which in early Oct. 2020 cut the ribbon on a $13-million facility expansion built with the help of state funding. She’s also pushed back against state legislative proposals over the past decade seeking to levy property taxes on nonprofit hospitals.

In June 2020, Hospital for Special Care and Bloom Energy commissioned a 600-kilowatt fuel cell installation on the hospital’s New Britain campus that will help reduce energy costs by more than $130,000 annually.

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