UPDATE Monday 11:18 a.m.
Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University officials at a morning press conference hailed Monday as an ushering in of a new era of regional health care on Long Island.
The event—held at Southampton Hospital’s Parrish Memorial Hall—officially announced the plans for Southampton Hospital to join the Stony Brook system and build a new Southampton Hospital on the Stony Brook Southampton college campus.
Bob Chaloner, the president and CEO of Southampton Hospital, called the 125-bed, private facility a lifeline for the community and an organizing force for keeping doctors on the East End and noted that many in the East Hampton area are “frightened” about the possibility of the hospital not existing some day.
“We need to partner as we move forward, because as wonderful as we are and much as we’ve made all of the wonderful changes, and as important as we are in this community, when all is said and done, we’re still a very small community hospital entering an era of unprecedented change in health care and an era when hospitals of all sizes will be stressed and challenged,” he said, adding that a partner would ensure the long-term survival of the hospital. Stony Brook—as the regional academic medical center and the site where Southampton already sends its premature babies, trauma cases and coronary heart patients, for example—is the logical choice for a partner, he said.
After the conference, Mr. Chaloner said that the tighter pairing would make budgeting easier. He stressed that Southampton’s main mission would remain taking care of the community. He said he envisions the current hospital building in Southampton Village as a possible residence for seniors.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, the senior vice president of Health Sciences at Stony Brook and dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, explained after the conference that medical training classes could be held at the new facility at Stony Brook Southampton and that students could live in the campus dorms. Because the university accrediting agency does not allow Stony Brook medical students to be trained by non-Stony Brook medical faculty, Southampton Hospital internists could join the Stony Brook faculty.
An exact site on campus for the new facility has not yet been determined.
Also speaking at the conference were Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak, the vice president for Health Systems and chief executive officer of Stony Brook University Hospital, the Reverend Peter Larsen, the chairman of the Southampton Hospital Board of Directors, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.
Hospital officials have clarified that the size of the current hospital is approximately 250,000 square feet. The new hospital would be of similar size.
Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook University on Monday morning are expected to announce a major strengthening of their partnership in an effort to enhance health care on the South Fork—a plan that includes the first steps to replace the current Southampton Hospital building with a new state-of-the art medical center on the Stony Brook Southampton campus.
Officials will announce that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent under which the 125-bed, private Southampton Hospital would join the Stony Brook Medicine health care system and provide care under Stony Brook University Hospital’s state operating license.
Monday’s announcement, which is to take place at a media event at Southampton Hospital, marks a big step forward on talks that have been under way since not long after the 2010 elimination of many of Stony Brook Southampton’s academic programs and the shuttering of dormitories on its 82-acre Shinnecock Hills campus—a slashing blamed on significant state budget cuts.
Talks between Southampton Hospital and Stony Brook gained more steam after an August 2011 settlement ended a lawsuit over the termination of Stony Brook Southampton’s environmental sustainability program.
With the proposed new agreement, the two hospitals are looking to work more closely together to improve health care quality and access, as well as coordination of care and efficiency for patients, according to a statement.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president of Health Services and dean of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, said in the statement that the stronger ties will help both hospitals better prepare for health care reform by “cultivating a broader, stronger network of hospitals and health care providers to improve efficiency, control costs and better coordinate care across Suffolk County.”