The Southampton Hospital president and CEO talks about building a satellite ambulatory facility in East Hampton, the partnership with Stony Brook Medicine and how the sudden shutdown of Health Republic Insurance has affected the hospital.
By Douglas Feiden
Can you tell us a little about the facility you intend to build in East Hampton?
The East Hampton facility is the result of a long discourse with East Hampton Town officials, residents, and hospital board members who live in the community to expand and improve services closer to the area’s residents. While we have provided laboratory and imaging services for some time, we know that a more robust facility is needed. We are very excited about the opportunity to extend our services to include emergency care, in addition to diagnostic imaging and laboratory testing.
You received a $10 million state grant for the project. What is your timetable and what additional fundraising is needed?
While the $10 million grant funding from New York State is a tremendous step in moving the project forward, a rough estimate for completing the facility is $30 million, so we will need at least an additional $20 million. A lot of work is ahead—site location, planning, and of course, fundraising—but this grant enables us to take a major, innovative step toward our goal of bringing the highest quality services to the easternmost part of the South Fork — to Amagansett, East Hampton, Montauk, Sag Harbor, Springs, and Wainscott. Since the new hospital will be a little farther west, this ambulatory facility will satisfy many of the needs of the community and take some of the pressure off local EMTs who struggle with traffic issues, particularly during the summer months. We expect to open the doors within five years.
Why does a Southampton-based institution need an East Hampton presence?
In contrast to other health systems farther west that are consolidating and centralizing resources, we believe that early intervention and care closer to home will ultimately lead to better healthcare outcomes and lower healthcare costs. As a result, we have worked very diligently to expand healthcare resources across all of the communities we serve, and we have built a strong South Fork health system. Within several years, we expect to open a cancer treatment center on County Road 39 in Southampton.
You’re strengthening your affiliation with Stony Brook. Where are you in the state approval process and when do you foresee moving to Stony Brook’s Southampton campus?
Many major approvals have already been completed, and we do not foresee any impediment in clearing the final stages of New York State approval. It is our hope to have a new hospital at the Stony Brook campus completed in the same timeframe as the satellite ambulatory facility in East Hampton.
After the folding of Health Republic Insurance, you estimated $2 million in losses and implemented a hiring freeze. How does such a financial blow affect your plans?
The Health Republic issue did hurt financially and we have had to take some steps such as a hiring freeze in the short term. However, it will have no impact on our plans to expand services. As a hospital, we are healthy and resilient and will get through. The example of Health Republic underscores the uncertainty of healthcare today, and reinforces the need for community hospitals to align with strong partners. Thankfully, we are well positioned with Stony Brook.