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Graduate Program

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A view of a healing garden at Mather Hospital’s new pavilion. Photo from the hospital

New facilities at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital aim to reduce infection rates and bring more doctors to the area.

The Port Jefferson hospital recently dedicated its new Arthur & Linda Calace Foundation Pavilion, adding more than 28,400 square feet of space to the north side of the hospital that is being used to house patient rooms as well as medical offices and conference rooms.

According to Mather spokesman Stuart Vincent, there are 35 one-bed rooms in the new pavilion. Rather than using the space to add to the hospital’s 248 beds, beds were moved from existing double rooms into the new pavilion, creating 70 new single-bed patient rooms throughout the hospital.

A view of a patient bedroom at Mather Hospital. Photo from the hospital
A view of a patient bedroom at Mather Hospital. Photo from the hospital

Taking away those 35 double rooms and adding the 70 single rooms means “for the first time, the majority of rooms at Mather are now single-bedded, which aids in both patient healing and in reducing the risk of infection spreading among patients,” Vincent said in an email.

The patient rooms in the new pavilion will be used for intermediate care and will each have their own medication cabinet and a computer for managing patient information, according to Vincent. The unit also keeps nurses close to patients, with nursing stations throughout the floor.

Joseph Wisnoski, CFO at Mather, said in a previous statement, “A single-bed patient room is no longer a luxury, but the standard for hospitals across the nation.”

That patient unit is located above two floors of new offices and conference rooms and a 180-seat conference center. When the hospital broke ground on the expansion project two years ago, officials said the office space would be used to combat a shortage of primary care physicians by training more of those professionals — who would then hopefully stay in the area — in a graduate education program that includes seminars and symposia.

The pavilion is Mather’s first expansion in more than a decade, and Vincent said it is the sixth expansion since the hospital opened in 1929. It was named for Arthur and Linda Calace, the primary donors on the project, who raised their family nearby and wanted to give back to the community. The Calaces and other donors combined to cover $5 million of the total construction cost.

Dr. Frederick Schiavone with emergency medicine residents in the Clinical Simulation Center. Photo from Melissa Weir

Stony Brook is sending some fresh faces to one of its neighboring hospitals.

Earlier this month, Stony Brook University Hospital heralded in a new partnership with John T. Mather Hospital that will transition the Port Jefferson facility from a community hospital into an academic teaching hub. But that doesn’t mean Mather will be losing its community-centric feel, hospital officials said.

The partnership began in 2012 when Mather officials started seeking advice from Stony Brook Medicine on how to establish a new graduate medical education program, and quickly evolved into Stony Brook Medicine’s sponsorship of the program. Mather welcomed its first class of 19 residents studying internal medicine in July 2014 and it has been all-systems-go ever since. And if all goes well, Mather said it aspired to reach 100 residents at the end of five years.

“It’s an investment in the future,” said Dr. Joan Faro, chief medical officer at Mather, who works as the site’s designated institutional officer for the graduate medical education team and initially reached out to Stony Brook Medicine to explore the partnership. “Our standards will be as high, or even higher, as they have been as they are passed down, and we are so fortunate to take advantage of [Stony Brook Medicine’s] expertise and guidance.”

Under the new system, Stony Brook’s graduate medical education program reviews Mather’s selections for residency program directors and then Faro sends recommended candidates back to Stony Brook. The candidates are then interviewed and authorized for appointments. When Mather residents graduate, they will receive a Stony Brook University Hospital crest alongside the Mather crest on their graduation certificates.

With Stony Brook Medicine’s help, Mather has instituted its own de facto recruiting system for promising prospects in the medical arena. By inviting residents into Mather, the hospital is not only ingraining its culture into the learners at an early stage, but it is also setting them on a path that could potentially lead to long stays working there, Faro said. And with the recent opening of a new 35-bed facility on the Mather campus, the time could not be better for residents to be learning on-site.

Dr. Frederick Schiavone, vice dean of the graduate medical education program at Stony Brook Medicine, teamed up with Carrie Eckart, executive director of the same program, to help transition Mather into an academic teaching hospital over the past year and said it could not be going more smoothly, as Mather’s staff steps up to new teaching roles.

“It’s a passion,” Schiavone said. “People like to teach, love to teach. It’s built into what being a doctor means. When residents thank us for helping teach them, you couldn’t ask for a better reward.”

One of the benefits of becoming a teaching hospital for Mather, Faro said, is that the staff are required to stay on top of the latest developments in medical education and training, which means that Mather’s patients receive advanced methods of health care delivery. Schiavone said the affiliation was ideal for Stony Brook Medicine as it allows staffers to train residents from the beginning as they are brought up throughout the system.

“We need to reach out to our community,” Schiavone said. “The focus is always to deliver the best health care in Suffolk County. Mather’s success is our success.”

And by putting collaborative patient care at the center of the model of delivering health care, Schiavone said Stony Brook Medicine was benefitting from having more residency spots to dole out.

Having residents under the same roof as Mather’s experienced medical professionals would only raise the level of care the community hospital provides by reinforcing the facility’s standards, Faro said.

Editor’s note: This version of the story was updated to correctly reflect the number of residents Mather has taken in as its inaugural class.

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