PBMC merger: What do they think?

State Senator Ken LaValle, ELIH CEO/president Paul Connor, and John Kanas, former CEO of North Fork Bancorp.
State Senator Ken LaValle, ELIH CEO/president Paul Connor, and John Kanas, former CEO of North Fork Bancorp.

News of PBMC Health’s decision to merge with North Shore-Long Island Jewish health system attracted a range of responses last week and earlier this week. Here are just a few from some major players on the East End:

KEN LAVALLE, State Senator from Port Jefferson

TIn 2006, I supported the Berger Commission’s plan for a regional East End hospital system with a collaborative link back to Stony Brook Medicine. This was a well thought out and studied plan mapping out a path forward for health care in the 21st century. This plan was crafted with local experts in the health care field and the state health department and became law. The state invested over $20 million in HEAL grant support for the three East End hospitals to move the Berger plan forward. The goal is to provide quality medical services close to home and distribute these services throughout the region in a collaborative manner.

I believe [the North Shore-LIJ merger in Riverhead] would be a step backward into an unnecessary health care arms race. And remember all three East End hospitals were affiliated with North Shore in early 2000 with marginal results. Real progress only began after the hospitals came together under Berger and began working toward greater collaboration with Stony Brook Medicine.

I do not believe that having our health care controlled by a system 85 miles to the west is in the best interest of my constituents. In my experience, local control seems lost when affiliations occur with distant systems.

– From press statement


TI have been in favor of a partnership with North Shore-LIJ for years. North Shore provides the best care on the East Coast. Had the board picked another alternative, I would have been very disappointed and thought they were wrong.

I’m very happy they made the decision they made.

The most important part of any merger is to pick the right partner. It really doesn’t matter what the agreement says. It really doesn’t matter what the contract says. You can measure it in pounds if you want to and the thicker it is the more meaningless it is. You want to pick a partner that you trust and the board feels will follow through on the promises they’ve made. And I think North Shore is that partner.

Hospitals 10 years from now are going to be unrecognizable. I think it’s important that we have really forward-thinking managers. North Shore-LIJ is forward thinking.

The whole idea of these massive buildings where people come for an appendectomy and stay five or six days is long gone. I think health care providers recognized that a long time ago and we’re moving in the direction of off-campus facilities, like [the PBMC facility] in Manorville. We’re seeing that all over the country.

– As told to Grant Parpan


TOur timeline [to choose a partner] is really the end of May. We continue to negotiate with both Stony Brook and North Shore and the over-arching goal for our board is that we need to find a partner who will allow the hospital to continue its mission.

You may know this, but we are actually the oldest hospital in Suffolk County and the second-oldest on Long Island at 110 years old. You may also know that our community — which we define as Southold Town and Shelter Island — is the oldest per capita in the state of New York. And that population continues to grow, especially with the expansion of Peconic Landing.

So we want to partner with someone that will allow our organization to meet the needs of that population for another 110 years as those needs continue to evolve. That’s how we’re going to make our decision.

We can’t give much in the way of specifics at this point, but we have our hospital, we have services at this hospital — medical, surgical, diagnostic, addiction services, psychiatry — all of those services that we have that make up Eastern Long Island Hospital and the care we provide, that care must be maintained and whatever we need to add or expand is how we’re going to make our decision.

– As told to Joseph Pinciaro