By L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D.
To keep health care strong across Suffolk County and Eastern Long Island, Stony Brook University Hospital and Eastern Long Island Hospital will move forward with next steps toward an affiliation — following a unanimous vote by ELIH’s board of trustees at a meeting held on July 9.
This affiliation will help both hospitals provide excellence in health care for the communities we serve. It would allow both hospitals to continue to bring new and strengthened clinical services to the North Fork of Eastern Long Island, including Shelter Island.
The best affiliations allow hospitals to make sure that each patient receives the right level of care in the right facility to match the right level of services needed. We believe this affiliation will do just that.
Our relationship with ELIH is a longstanding one with a history of the two hospitals working closely together to improve health care access and quality. Stony Brook Medicine clinicians have staffed and assisted in the development of ELIH inpatient behavioral health programs, cared for patients who needed specialty services not available at ELIH, and provided support and patient transport services during times of emergency. For example, following damage from Hurricane Sandy, Eastern Long Island patients were transferred to Stony Brook Medicine for care until the Greenport facility was restored.
The next step is for Stony Brook Medicine and ELIH to develop an integration and affiliation agreement. Then, the State University of New York board of trustees will need to approve the transaction. And finally, multiple regulatory steps must be approved through various New York State agencies.
We are grateful to SUNY’s support and visionary leadership for our continued work to establish affiliations with community hospitals in Suffolk County for the care of Long Island residents. On behalf of all of Stony Brook, we especially want to thank Thomas Murray Jr., chairman of the ELIH board of trustees, and the board for choosing Stony Brook as their strategic partner.
We look forward to strengthening our relationship with ELIH and working with Paul Connor III, president and CEO of ELIH, to fulfill our shared promise to meet the health care needs of the community for years to come.
L. Reuven Pasternak, M.D., is chief executive officer at Stony Brook University Hospital and vice president for Health Systems, Stony Brook Medicine.