The Hartford HealthCare Multiple Sclerosis Center was recently designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society after a rigorous application process that examined and recognized the breadth of services made available to patients with the disease of the central nervous system.

Part of Hartford HealthCare’s Ayer Neuroscience Institute, the MS Center is led by Drs. Brian Wong and Derek Smith, who see patients in Norwich, North Haven and Southington offices.

“More than 1 million Americans, most often women of European descent, have MS, a disease that usually starts in their 20s or 30s,” Dr. Wong said. “It is crucial that the care they receive take into consideration the potential impact of the disease and that we provide a variety of services they may require.”

It is this breadth of services coordinated by the HHC MS Center team that earned the prestigious national designation, Dr. Smith added.

“We are thrilled that the national society recognized our commitment to providing exceptional, coordinated care for our patients. Whether it’s social services guiding a patient through the emotions that come with diagnosis and living with MS or access to physical and occupational therapists who have advanced training in the disease, we have addressed all possible needs,” he said.

The variety of supportive services wrap around the medical care provided by Drs. Smith and Wong, and include:

  • Urology, as urinary symptoms are a common side effect of MS.
  • Neuro-focused rehabilitation services such as physical, occupational and speech therapies, and help with any adaptive devices that may be needed.
  • Neuro-opthamology.
  • Neuroradiology, with specialists to read advanced imaging.
  • Infusion therapy with intravenous medications.
  • Nurses dedicated to MS care.
  • Social workers who help coordinate care and connect patients to any needed behavioral health services.

“This is a designation awarded to a select few facilities, based on the level and breadth of care that is available to patients,” Dr. Wong said. “It’s an indication that we meet best practice standards of excellence set by the national organization.”