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Sep 15, 2009 7:51 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Southampton Hospital opens new wellness institute this week

Sep 15, 2009 7:51 PM

On the third floor of Southampton Hospital, in an examination room in the new Ed and Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute, Director of Rehabilitation Craig Homis admired the cherrywood cabinets and the freshly laminated wood floors.

“The idea,” Mr. Homis said, “is to set it up where it doesn’t look like your cold, stark white examination room.”

The wellness institute, set to open later this week, will also offer unique programs and services that set it apart from the rest of the hospital in ways other than interior design. Tipping its hat to Asian healing practices and preventative medicine, Southampton Hospital has created the new wellness institute to “supplement” medical care given to patients, said Mr. Homis, a licensed physical therapist.

The institute—made up of two examination rooms, a consultation room and an exercise room—will offer lessons in Tai Chi, Qi Gong, meditation and visualization. Alternative forms of therapy including acupuncture and massage will also be given at the institute. Officials hope the institute will promote in patients a “more proactive approach” to maintaining their own physical and mental health, Mr. Homis said.

To that end, numerous courses will be offered on subjects including nutrition, healthy eating, fitness for seniors, anti-smoking and stress management.

Though the hospital has run an outpatient massage therapy program for 15 years and a yoga program for eight years, most of the programs offered at the institute have never been offered previously by the hospital, officials said.

The new space for the wellness institute was the driving force behind the hospital’s ability to expand its integrated healing program, Mr. Homis said. “This allows a much greater expansion of that,” he said.

On Monday, hospital workers were busy adding the finishing touches to the hospital’s newest addition. Most rooms still required furniture and some medical equipment. The institute was expected to open with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, September 17.

A central goal of the institute is to help people cope with stress in a positive, constructive way, Mr. Homis said. He said hospital instructors will be teaching courses to help people suffering from stress-related medical conditions to better manage the stress. The stress management courses are based on mind-body programs sponsored by Harvard University.

“People who are less stressed will be more receptive to the care they receive from their doctor,” Mr. Homis said. “It’s meant to supplement the care that they are already receiving.”

Most health care insurers will not cover the type of care, dubbed “integrated services,” that is provided at the wellness institute, so many people will have to pay out-of-pocket to access institute therapy and courses, Southampton Hospital Supervisor of Massage Therapy Cynthia Grant said. A price listing of the institute’s offerings was not immediately available.

“Most insurance companies don’t cover integrated services,” Ms. Grant said. Nonetheless, therapy and courses at the institute will be “reasonably priced” so people can afford them, Ms. Grant added.

The institute was dreamed up about five years ago by two hospital patients and benefactors, Ed and Phyllis Davis of Bridgehampton. According to Ms. Grant, the couple benefited from alternative care while undergoing rehabilitation for a medical condition. Hospital officials declined to release the amount of the couple’s donation, citing hospital privacy policies.

Mr. and Mrs. Davis could not be reached for comment.

“They decided to make this very generous donation to us so we would have a centralized home” for integrated care services, Ms. Grant said.

Renovation of the space containing the institute began two years ago. The center, adjacent to the cardiac rehabilitation department, formerly contained a conference room and offices.

Once the institute opens, Southampton Hospital will be the only East End hospital with a wellness institute, according to hospital spokeswoman Marsha Kenny.

“It’s the only institute of its kind in Eastern Suffolk,” she said. “I think its services are something that the community would be interested in.”

Interior design of the institute, Mr. Homis and Ms. Grant said, was aimed at giving the institute an appearance apart from other areas of the hospital. Rooms are outfitted with wood finish, olive-colored walls and windows to let in generous helpings of sunlight. The overall sensation hoped for is one of warmth and harmony, officials said.

Ms. Grant noted that a Feng Shui expert was contracted to help with the interior design of the wellness institute so that “energy will flow throughout the space.”

“We’re hoping that we have a very healthy, prosperous center,” Ms. Grant said. “That is our goal.”

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That donation could've paid for health insurance for a number of poor east end residents. Instead its making the rich ones more comfortable by turning their hospital into a day spa. What a horribly unneccessary expense. Don't worry, those without insurance will just be paid for by a raise in income taxes for the rest of us.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 15, 09 5:59 PM
Regarding the comment above from"Always Local:" You need to open your heart and look forward. This is a beautiful idea and it will eventually benefit everyone. This is not a day spa. This is a commitment to alternative medicine and SH Hospital and it's friends are to be commended. Hopefully they will have pro bono services for people in need. I am not connected to this project, however, as a psychotherapist I am totally involved in using meditation and mindfulness based strategies for maintaining ...more
By MaryB (19), East Hampton on Sep 15, 09 10:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
I can make an arguement, MaryB, for the need of alternative medicine in this country. In alot of cases it is a neccessity. And I don't mean to take anything away from the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Davis. They are wonderful people for offering their assistance to help realize a better medical experience on the east end. I do feel, however, that the money could have been better spent--such as to help alot more people who are in alot worse financial shape than the patrons that will frequent this ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 15, 09 11:42 PM
you're funny alwayslocal....how much have you spent towards buying other people health insurance!? hahahaha. .....stop it with the class wars. Your life isn't my fault and my life isn't your problem.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Sep 16, 09 6:33 AM
What a waste of money-is John Ferry back?
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 09 11:16 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 09 11:16 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 09 11:16 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 09 11:16 AM
Well, surfer, apparently your life IS my problem. My taxes pay for expenditures for you and every other citizen in our community, as do we all. My taxes have paid for any number of rennovations and/or equipment that the hospital has needed. And yes, my taxes have gone to medicare and medicaid which IS the government's alternative to health insurance. Again, just my opinion, but if our tax money is so desperately needed to pay for these things, than wouldn't a large donation like this be better ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 16, 09 3:58 PM
It is time we recognize that non traditional medicene has its place in our community and is integrated with the hospitals' programs.. It is not VOODOO and it can lower cost and reduce proceedures.
Mr and Mrs Davis are to be supported and to have to put their money where their mouth is and have the ability to do so.
By lo-cal (78), southampton on Sep 17, 09 1:12 PM
lo-cal,
I'm sorry, but I have to pick on you for a moment here. Do you know what else can lower cost and reduce procedures. Did you ever see on tv or in the news those nut-jobs who believe in healing through prayer-and nothing more. That would reduce both costs and procedures--so would I "be supported" if I donated money to the hospital to be used for a temple (or some other place of worship) Or wouldn't that money, lo-cal, be better spent on neccessities rather than something that far ...more
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Sep 17, 09 1:24 PM

WOW!!!!!!
I AM IMPRESSED!!!!!
I am a Living Light Reiki Master and I administrated a Reiki clinic in Southampton Hospital for 5 years before being asked to leave since I was considered to be too much compitition for their new Wellness Center.
When I get the resources to to donate to hospitals as Ed and Phyliss did, this is exactly what I will do.
I wish to offer my blessings and best wishes to your new Wellness Center.
May God bless you all.

...more
By Reiki Pete (1), Riverhead on Sep 18, 09 5:32 AM
For EastEnd68:
John Ferry is not back - rumor has it that Mr. Ferry is being considered for the administration's Wellness Czar position - I would think he would do well there !!
By drteedancer (10), East Hampton on Sep 19, 09 5:14 AM
I work in health care American's wake up and smell the coffee. They donate
this money for a tax write off, have the hospital build a fancy wing and name it after them, Like the new OB wing at the hosptial it's a fancy hotel for the illegal
immigrants who we pay for for them to have babies, and then cover the child
under mediciad or the new americhoice by united heatlh care. We are paying for this and Americans who are born here are going with out health insurance.
There are a ...more
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Sep 22, 09 10:14 AM
If it costs $3000 for a child to get her leg taken care of after it was broken: I dread to thik of the cost for the wellness center. Southampton hospital has no interest in people - it's interest is in the almighty dollar!
By IZ (4), Montauk on Sep 25, 09 4:05 PM