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On a recent evening, Brandon Duntz brought his son, Kenneth, for a follow-up visit with David Stitelman, MD, Pediatric Surgery, and Barbara Coons, MD, clinical fellow, in the YNHCH Pediatric Specialty Center on WP 2. It is one of four Pediatric Specialty Centers offering extended hours. 

Pediatric Specialty Centers’ extended hours make it easier for families to access expert care

In June, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital launched phase one of a program that extends hours at several of its Pediatric Specialty Centers. Parents like Brandon Duntz are glad they did.

On a recent evening, Duntz brought his 2-year-old son, Kenneth, to the WP 2 specialty center for a follow-up visit. 

“This gives parents a lot more flexibility, especially if you have other children,” he said. “With the later hours, one parent can get home from work and watch the kids while the other takes the child to the doctor.”  

The Pediatric Specialty Centers at WP 2 and Long Wharf in New Haven and in Old Saybrook and Greenwich conduct in-person visits (with telehealth options) one weeknight a month, from 5 - 7 pm. Long Wharf and WP 2 are also open 8 am - noon one Saturday a month. Testing at all four sites is available during extended hours. 

In addition to enhancing patient- and family-centered care, the extended hours are helping the specialty centers “catch up” with patients whose care might have been delayed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first three months, each site saw 20 to 30 patients in-person or via telehealth.   

“We knew that, given their schedules, parents wanted to be able to bring their children to appointments outside of traditional hours,” said Anthony Porto, MD, YNHCH medical director. “As providers, holding extended hours has given us additional time to ensure prompt and convenient access to care for our patients.”

Specialty center leaders surveyed parents, physicians and staff to determine the extended hours. Many parents requested Saturday hours, which have proven to be the most popular, said Lynne Sherman, RN, interim vice president, YNHCH. 

“We’ve had very positive comments about the extended hours,” she said. “They’re more convenient for many families, and they’re helping us provide care in the most appropriate setting.”

Specialty center providers have kept some patients out of the Emergency Department by treating non-emergent conditions during the extended hours. The Greenwich Pediatric Specialty and Infusion Center recently treated one such patient, and was able to provide a lengthy infusion for another patient who lives out of state.

“Both moms were beyond grateful,” said Stacey Brassil, RN, assistant patient services manager. “Staff commented, ‘This is why we are doing extended hours.’ We are making an impact!”

Before launching the extended hours, specialty center leaders sought feedback from providers and staff members. In response to comments, leaders offered scheduling flexibility, and gave providers the option of conducting in-person or telehealth visits during the extended hours.

“The preparation and communication with staff have helped make this program successful,” Dr. Porto said. “Providers and staff are also pleased to see how grateful parents are for the extended hours.”

Specialty center leaders are evaluating the first phase of the program through Press Ganey patient satisfaction data and reviewing the program with the YNHCH Family Advisory Council, providers and staff. They will expand the extended hours to all YNHCH Pediatric Specialty Centers. 

Angel Iverson, a patient care associate in the WP 2 center, has heard plenty of positive feedback from families.

“Parents love the extended hours,” she said. “It’s a blessing for them.”


Angel Iverson, PCA, gave Kenneth a hug during his visit. Iverson said parents love the specialty center’s extended hours.