News & Events

Hundreds attend Plainfield ED ribbon-cutting

June 27, 2012

More than 375 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Plainfield Backus Emergency Care Center on Tuesday, the latest sign of community support for the project.

Despite passing rain showers, visitors listened intently as guest speakers welcomed them to the event and spoke about the importance of the new emergency department for Plainfield and surrounding towns in southern Windham and northern New London counties.

“We’re very proud this emergency department will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve this incredible community,” said Backus President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Whitehead in his opening remarks. “This project is about putting patients first – obviously all emergencies don’t occur between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Patients will also have access to high quality Backus Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services, furthering our mission of improving the health of the community.”

Ribbon-cutting guest speakers:

Dave Whitehead, Backus President and Chief Executive Officer
Robert Sidman, MD, Backus Chief of Medical Services
Lynne Quintal-Hill, Backus Board member, Community Campaign Chairperson and owner of the Quintal Insurance Agency
Robert Duval, Deputy Chief, Atwood Hose Fire Department and President, Quinebaug Valley Fire Chiefs Association
Paul Sweet, Plainfield First Selectman
Blessing by Sister Rita, SSND, Backus Director of Pastoral Care

Mr. Whitehead also recognized Backus staff, the EMS community, Backus Board of Trustees, the Backus Auxiliary and Jewett City Savings Bank for their vital contributions to the project, which began as a vision five years ago as he drove up Interstate 395.

Plainfield First Selectman Paul Sweet praised the project for improving the quality of life for residents and also boosting economic development.

“This is a wonderful facility and today is a bright and shining moment for the town of Plainfield,” Mr. Sweet said. “Thank you to all those involved in the project.”

“Backus is now truly in our backyard – this is especially important to me as a member of the community that this state-of-the-art facility will serve,” said Lynne Quintal-Hill, Backus Board member and chairperson of the Community Campaign.  “Our friends, neighbors and family will no longer have to travel 15 minutes or more to get emergency care when they need it.”

Backus Chief of Emergency Services Robert Sidman reiterated that the new building at 582 Norwich Road (Route 12) will house more than just emergency services – it will also include diagnostic imaging and laboratory services. It will be staffed by approximately 60 physicians, nurses, radiology and lab technologists and other support staff.

As the speaking program came to a close, Todd Renz, President of OR&L Construction, which built the facility and leases it to Backus, presented Mr. Whitehead with a photo montage chronicling the progress of the Plainfield Emergency Care Center – from beginning to end. Mr. Whitehead later asked that the gift be dedicated to staff at the Plainfield facility.

Following the guest speakers, visitors were treated to a barbecue hosted by the Backus Auxiliary and produced by the Backus Food and Nutrition Department, as well as tours of the new facility.

Plainfield resident Carole Morse and her family were enthusiastic about visiting the new ED, construction of which was overseen by Backus Project Manager Dave Casale.

“Having the Backus emergency department in town means that the time to get emergency care will be quicker, which is so important with critical care,” said Ms. Morse.  “It will be nice to have this quality of care in the town of Plainfield.”

Barbara Gladue of Preston and Jan Stewart of Norwich, both members of the Backus Auxiliary, toured the facility together.

“I have family members in the area and they’re thrilled to have closer access to emergency services,” said Ms. Gladue.  “It’s nice to know it’s here.”

“From the Auxiliary’s standpoint, we’ve worked so hard, it’s nice to see it all come together in a substantial way,” said Ms. Stewart, Auxiliary Past President.  “I think this center is wonderful for the community and will relieve the main hospital’s emergency department.”

The new ED will officially open July 9.

“This is a beginning, not an ending to building a continuum of care in this region,” Mr. Whitehead said.