ELIH delays decision to announce future partner

ELIH-webLeaders with Eastern Long Island Hospital had hoped to pick a partner organization by the end of May, but the Greenport hospital’s board of directors has instead decided to continue negotiations with a pair of the area’s largest health entities before making a final decision.

The board is now hoping to make that decision by mid-July.

Paul Connor, the CEO of the 110-year-old hospital, said on Monday that the hospital’s board of directors set a date for a special board meeting on July 9, at which point the hospital’s future partner will be voted on.

In the meantime, he said, board members will continue to weigh the pros and cons of either partnering with North Shore-LIJ or Stony Brook Medicine.

“We’re talking with everybody to get as much information as we can about their certain experiences [with each organization]. The thing that makes the biggest difference is who the board will be comfortable with to be the best steward of our mission, which has been ongoing for the past 110 years,” Mr. Connor said. “This is a very important decision to the hospital and the community, to make sure that ELIH continues to meet the evolving needs of the people here.”

At the end of March, Peconic Bay Medical Center announced that it will merge with North Shore-LIJ. The announcement came months after State University of New York board of trustees OK’d a deal that would merge Southampton Hospital with Stony Brook University Hospital.

As a result, the East End Health Alliance — which includes the three community hospitals on the East End and was created in 2008 to increase their bargaining power as one larger partnership — is on its way toward becoming defunct.

In his 16 years as CEO, Mr. Connor said he’s seen Southold continue to be a retirement destination, though over the past eight or nine years specifically, he said he’s seen more second homeowners move to the community. The impact of that change on health care has been hard to define, he said, though partnering with a larger organization will help ELIH not only find out what those new needs are, but help provide them as well.

“The idea is to be part of a larger entity that would allow access to that entity if it’s necessary,” he said. “Whether that is tertiary or quaternary services that may be available through that partner, ELIH can be the access point to those services.”

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