Peconic Bay Medical Center announced Friday that"/>
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Mar 27, 2015 1:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Peconic Bay Medical Center To Join North Shore-LIJ

Apr 1, 2015 10:25 AM

After months of weighing its options, Peconic Bay Medical Center announced Friday that it will join the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, a deal that aims to turn the Riverhead hospital into a regional hub for health care on the East End.

Although a date has not been set for when it would join the 19 other hospitals under the North Shore-LIJ umbrella, Peconic Bay announced that its board of directors had approved an agreement to become a full member of the health care system. Peconic Bay and North Shore-LIJ are still waiting for contractual approvals and government regulatory review to be completed before the deal is finalized, a process that is expected to take several months.

No money will be exchanged in the merger, but North Shore-LIJ will provide Peconic Bay with additional resources and help it establish new programs to expand its coverage capacities, North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said.

Peconic Bay, a teaching hospital and nursing/rehabilitation center, boasts 200 beds and annually serves 7,000 inpatients, as well as 168,000 outpatients, according to a press release issued by the hospital. It has a $160 million operating budget this year, according to spokesman Demetrios Kadenas, and was affiliated with North Shore-LIJ from 2000 until 2006, when it teamed up with Stony Brook University Hospital—an affiliation that still holds today but, ultimately, will come to an end when the deal with North Shore-LIJ is finalized.

“The goal would be to integrate them into our health system and identify ways of working collaboratively with them in our system,” North Shore-LIJ’s Mr. Lynam said of the Riverhead hospital. “One area would be to look into how we build them up into a regional medical center, we’ll work on ways to expand their reach into the surrounding area.”

Before the merger can be finalized, the U.S. Justice Department and the State Department of Health must sign off on it. In the meantime, officials from Peconic Bay and North Shore-LIJ will spend the next few months discussing ways in which new services can be created and existing services improved.

Off the bat, Peconic Bay spokeswoman Mary Thomas said this week, the hospital hopes to create a cardiac catheterization lab, a trauma center, cardiac intervention center and a cancer treatment center with the help of North Shore-LIJ.

Currently, East End patients in need of such facilities are taken to hospitals farther west, such as Stony Brook University Hospital. In emergency situations, people often are flown in via medevac.

In recent years, Peconic Bay has expanded its reach by opening primary care and specialty services offices in Riverhead, Hampton Bays, Westhampton, Center Moriches and, most recently, Manorville. Mr. Kadenas said while the hospital has been able to absorb the cost of opening these offices, it has not had the funds to add things like a cardiac intervention center or a trauma center.

“A hospital, in today’s world, is not really able to expand based on operating revenue—it’s very little money,” Mr. Kadenas said. “Philanthropy is the major motor in terms of expansion, and we have a very influential donor pool, but, again, we’re a community hospital, so that pool is limited.”

Joining North Shore-LIJ would put Peconic Bay into a larger pool, Mr. Kadenas said, adding that it’s nearly impossible for community hospitals to stand independently when they’re competing with “billion-dollar hospitals.”

Last year, Stony Brook University Hospital expressed interest in merging with Peconic Bay, as well as Greenport’s Eastern Long Island Hospital. In January, the State University of New York Board of Trustees approved a merger between Stony Brook and Southampton Hospital, which is also awaiting approvals.

Currently, Peconic Bay’s emergency room and radiation departments are staffed by Stony Brook doctors; that arrangement, however, is expected to change once North Shore-LIJ and Peconic Bay finalize their plans.

Peconic Bay President and CEO Andrew Mitchell declined to say why his hospital opted to break away from Stony Brook, citing a confidentiality agreement. But he noted that his board of directors felt assured that North Shore-LIJ could help improve the hospital based on what the group has done for facilities in Bay Shore, Huntington and elsewhere.

“They were confident [North Shore-LIJ] could bring new and outstanding medical services to the East End,” Mr. Mitchell said in a prepared statement read by Mr. Kadenas on Monday afternoon.

Stony Brook University Hospital spokeswoman Melissa Weir stated, in an email, that despite losing out on Peconic Bay, Stony Brook still wants to build upon its East End services.

“For nearly a decade, Stony Brook University Hospital and the physicians of Stony Brook Medicine have formed close relationships with physicians, allied health care providers, emergency medical service professionals, hospitals and members of the community on the East End of Long Island,” Ms. Weir wrote in an email. “Stony Brook will continue to work with and support local health care providers to expand the scope of services on the East End and to enhance their access to premier care in the region.”

Both North Shore-LIJ and Stony Brook are still attempting to woo Eastern Long Island Hospital.

North Shore-LIJ currently has three hospitals in Suffolk County—Huntington Hospital, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and South Oaks Hospital in Amityville—but Peconic Bay would be its only one serving the East End.

After the merger, Peconic Bay’s board of directors will still have autonomy over the hospital’s actions, according to Mr. Mitchell.

Mr. Lynam said in today’s evolving health care industry, it’s difficult for smaller hospitals to stand on their own without the support of a larger system.

“There’s been such dramatic change in health care, in the way it’s accessed, delivered and paid for, and I think one thing is clear—that it’s tough for stand-alone hospitals to survive without a parent,” he said. “At the same time, we recognize the importance of building up community hospitals as opposed to using them as feeders for our tertiary hospitals.”

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It would be nice if this article went into more detail as how this will affect patients etc.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Mar 28, 15 11:13 AM
And staff as well
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Mar 28, 15 12:11 PM