Southampton Hospital forged an alliance on Friday that will bring to the small South Fork hospital many of the services of one of the most respected medical facilities between here and New York City. The agreement with Stony Brook University Hospital completes a series of recommendations from the state-mandated BegerÂ Report which, among other things, called for greater relationships between medical facilities to provide more comprehensive and cost-effective heath care for the residents of Long Island. In June, Southampton Hospital also fulfilled another one of the report’s recommendations, forming an alliance with the other two East End hospitals, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead and Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, creating the East End Health Alliance, an organization that gives the three institutions greater buying and negotiating power. That arrangement also allowed each of the three to develop specialties that would complement the specialties in the other hospitals. Southampton is the third of the local hospitals to form a relationship with Stony Brook.
This newest alliance with Stony Brook will bring yet more strength when it comes time to negotiate contracts such as insurance reimbursement, and provide greater scales of economy in purchasing supplies.
“During a hospital stay, a patient needs to be guaranteed good health care,” said Shirley Strum Kenny, president of Stony Brook University, during Friday morning’s signing ceremony at the Parrish Memorial Hall at Southampton Hospital. “To do that we have to ensure the health of our hospitals.”
But aside from the economic factors, officials say the alliance will bring easier access to a deeper well of health care options to residents of the East End.
“During the summer cocktail parties here, I always hear people say you have to travel to New York City to get good health care,” said Southampton Hospital President and CEO Robert S. Chaloner. “That’s not true. Our mission is to convince all our communities that they don’t have to travel; that good health care exists here.”
The alliance, said Chaloner, will provide several opportunities for the local hospital and its patients, including access to academic and professional capabilities Southampton currently does not have, and expertise in areas such as heart disease and stroke.
The agreement provides for a one-call hotline for transfer patients, and in the emerging field of Hospitalist services, Southampton and Stony Brook will share ideas and management practices with the goal of improving patient care, according to a release provided by the hospital. The two hospitals will participate in joint continuing medical education (CME) activities and explore the development of an overarching academic affiliation for Southampton with Stony Brook University’s Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Nursing, Social Welfare and Health Technology and Management. In addition, Stony Brook will provide an integration of quality monitoring and reporting as well as electronic patient record systems that will allow for enhancement of patient services. Finally, Stony Brook will sponsor Southampton Hospital as an Associate member of the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), providing access to a group purchasing program.
“Stony Brook will help us recruit doctors in a time when there is a physician shortage and it is difficult for them to survive here,” said Chaloner, “and will give us access to educational and training opportunities for our doctors.”
The alliance will also benefit Stony Brook, said Dr. Steven Strongwater, CEO of Stony Brook University Medical Center. His hospital has an expanding medical school class size and Southampton will provide an excellent opportunity for placing interns and students.
“Southampton Hospital has a great tradition in this community dating back to 1908 when it first opened, and we have great respect for the mission and traditions here,” said Dr. Strongwater. “We recognize the need to support that mission and find ways to get advanced services to those who need it—not to duplicate, but augment with training, education and recruitment. Southampton and Stony Brook are a perfect match for that.”
Stony Brook University Medical Center is the only academic medical center on Long Island. It comprises Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only tertiary care hospital and Level 1 trauma center in Suffolk County. With 540 beds and 5,100 employees, it is the largest hospital in Suffolk County. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
“When the Berger Commission came in we were far ahead of what Berger wanted us to do,” said Senator KennethÂ P.Â LaValle who sponsored the “Flexibility” legislation authorizing the East End alliance. “This alliance came together thanks to critical people with the right personalities and the right backgrounds to pull it together.Â Building people, building strengths leads to one thing – better patient care.”
In photo above (l to r) Senator Kenneth P. La Valle, Shirley Strum Kenny, President Stony Brook University; Robert S. Chaloner, President and CEO Southampton Hospital; (back l to r) Martin L. Stone, MD., Southampton Hospital Board; Â Â Steven L. Strongwater, M.D., CEO, Stony Brook University Medical Center; Reverend Peter M. Larsen, Southampton Hospital Board Chairman and Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, D.O., Commissioner, Health Services for Suffolk County