The merger comes after months of extended negotiations between the two organizations, which will add another 1,300 employees to North Shore-LIJ’s staff of over 54,000.
While Stony Brook University Hospital had been courting PBMC as well, the local hospital — which was not too long ago known as Central Suffolk Hospital — partnered with a healthcare system that not only employs about 11,000 nurses and 10,000 physicians systemwide, but runs its own health insurance company as well.
“We believe this decision ensures we are capable of meeting not just the current needs but future health and wellness challenges of central Suffolk County and eastern Long Island,” said Sherry Patterson, chair of the PBMC board. “In addition, this agreement would establish important new regional medical services and provide long-term stability for our patients during a time of great volatility in the healthcare market.”
The merger is still contingent upon “contractual approvals and government regulatory review,” according to a press release announcing the decision by PBMC’s Board of Directors to join North Shore-LIJ. The hospital had previously served as an affiliate of North Shore from 2000 through 2006.
Terry Lynam, spokesman for North Shore-LIJ, told the News-Review last fall that consolidations such as the PBMC-North Shore-LIJ merger have “much to do with the [insurance] reimbursement model.”
The organization’s North Shore-LIJ CareConnect Insurance Company, Inc. is offered on the New York State of Health insurance marketplace, which was put in place by the Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as Obamacare.
“I think, in healthcare, the whole delivery model nationally is clearly changing,” he said last fall. “There is much greater focus on managing the overall health of an individual, as opposed to simply treating them when they get sick.
“The whole idea is to be able to improve care coordination,” he said. “As a health system, we offer this whole range of different services… and we are trying keep all of the services within the network.”
Nearly a year ago, Andrew Mitchell, PBMC Health’s president and CEO, told the News-Review that the Riverhead hospital was feeling that change — and reported experiencing a shift in demand from inpatient services, provided in a hospital setting, to a greater demand in outpatient services, provided at clinics and doctor’s offices.
Demetrios Kadenas, chief development officer at PBMC Health, pointed not only to North Shore’s health insurance program that will benefit PBMC patients, but other things such as an economy of scale in the large organization, the system’s Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, as well as their commitment to supporting community hospitals. PBMC will be North Shore’s fourth system hospital in Suffolk County, joining Huntington Hospital, Southside Hospital in Bay Shore and South Oaks Hospital in Amityville
“It’s not just about the CareConnect,” he said. “There are a number of things going on academically and clinically at North Shore that will allow us to greatly expand PBMC.”