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Jan 27, 2015 4:47 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton, Stony Brook Partnership Will Create Larger Doctor Presence On The South Fork

Jan 27, 2015 4:47 PM

While the centerpiece of a future partnership between Southampton and Stony Brook University hospitals is the construction of a new Southampton Hospital on the Stony Brook campus in Shinnecock Hills, another major component of the agreement is expected to make health care more accessible to the entire South Fork.

Once the deal is finalized—the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York signed off on it two weeks ago, but it still needs additional regulatory approvals over the next few months—Southampton officials have said that the new hospital will mean more satellite care centers throughout Southampton and East Hampton towns, making it easier for residents in this region to get the treatments they need closer to home.

Southampton and Stony Brook will be able to open and operate those facilities thanks to advances in information technology. The new IT services will allow medical professionals to not only better access patients' health care records, but coordinate care with the main hospital and the additional centers. Currently, the hospital has satellite locations in Amagansett, East Hampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays, Westhampton Beach and on the North Fork in Greenport.

Robert S. Chaloner, Southampton Hospital's president and CEO, said that while it is too early in the process to make any assumptions about the long-term effect the partnership will have on the hospital's entire service area, residents from Westhampton to Montauk will certainly see more doctors in addition to the new satellite locations.

"The goal is to create a health care delivery system that will better serve the South Fork community’s primary and specialty care needs," Mr. Chaloner said.

When the time comes for the two institutions to discuss the satellite locations, they will need to conduct a needs assessment for both Southampton and East Hampton towns, according to Dr. Fred Weinbaum, chief medical officer at Southampton Hospital. And although Dr. Weinbaum echoed Mr. Chaloner's statement about speaking too soon about the new satellite locations' impact on the area, he said there is a need for more doctors—a problem that will be alleviated with the Southampton-Stony Brook partnership, with or without the additional satellites.

“We’ve got a number of sites that are not fully staffed because of the loss of physicians to retirement" and their own choices to move elsewhere, Dr. Weinbaum said, referring mainly to East Hampton Town. “I believe there are enough [satellite] sites right now, but each site is not manned as adequately as it could be,” he said.

“I think once we get fully staffed at the sites that we have, then we can begin to make decisions on whether we need new locations or expansions of sites," he continued.

Already, the hospital is hiring new physicians for its Meeting House Lane Medical Practice locations, one of whom will be for Montauk, one of the most medically under-served areas in the Hamptons. Hospital officials said that while they don't know when the doctor will be starting, as his contract is not finalized just yet, he will be a primary care doctor specializing in family medicine. Dr. Weinbaum added that most of the new doctor hires will be coming to the South Fork in July, a time when residencies end and doctors go into practice, he said.

The need in East Hampton, doctors have said, is for primary care physicians. Dr. Gail Schonfeld, who founded East End Pediatrics in East Hampton, said that since she began practicing on the East End in 1982, she has noticed a steep decline in physicians specializing in adult medicine. “I have managed to keep things going for children, but I think it’s really a problem for family practice and internal medicine,” she said.

Dr. Schonfeld said she is uncertain how realistic additional satellite care centers would be for the hospital. "It’s expensive to put in satellite services. When you start taking about large organizations, I think they’re more concerned about financials. “I worry about that," she added. "I’m not at all convinced.”

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This is not a true statement: "More Doctors for Southampton Hospital". Years ago when Peconic Bay Medical Center signed with Stony Brook, all the same statements were press released, Stony Brook Doctors are coming. This was so far from the thruth, Peconic Bay did not receive more Doctors, what they got were PA's, an occasional Doctor in "training", and seperate ER billing. Not quite what they expected and the contract fell way short of the mark. The one that benifited was Stony Brook for transporting ...more
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Jan 30, 15 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Here comes more doctors that won't accept health insurance plans...
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jan 30, 15 2:04 PM
1 member liked this comment