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Waiting for Winthrop: New medical practice in the works

JULIE LANE |The town-owned Medical Center awaits its new tenant, a practice being set up by Winthrop-University Hospital. Dr. Peter Kelt, who has an office in the building, is also affiliated with Winthrop.

JULIE LANE |The town-owned Medical Center awaits its new tenant, a practice being set up by Winthrop-University Hospital. Dr. Peter Kelt, who has an office in the building, is also affiliated with Winthrop.

Patience.

That’s what Winthrop-University Hospital officials are asking of Shelter Islanders who were told a new medical practice would be operating here by last month.

There’s no opening date for the new facility, but Winthrop personnel are tending to “the various telecommunications and information technology needs of the new facility,” according to the hospital’s public relations department.

At the same time, patients who need medical care have been referred to Dr. Peter Kelt and his new associate, Dr. Barbara Philips-Cole, who also occupy space at the town-owned Medical Center. Patients seeking care should call Dr. Kelt’s office at 749-3149, Winthrop advised. Dr. Kelt’s office is open on weekdays.

However, it’s important that patients seeking an appointment with him or Dr. Philips-Cole check with their own health insurance companies, according to Office Manager Jean Kelt. Both Dr. Kelt and Dr. Philips-Cole are taking Medicare patients and both are covered by a number of other companies, with Dr. Philips-Cole still awaiting clearance on coverage from a number of others, Ms. Kelt said. But Ms. Kelt reiterated that it’s important for patients to check with their own insurers.

Dr. Kelt has long operated a medical practice on the Island and is also affiliated with Winthrop-University Hospital. His affiliation with Winthrop dates back to 2011 when he opted to turn over the administration of his practice to the organization and become a salaried employee.

He brought on Dr. Philips-Cole this winter to provide care for more patients. Dr. Philips-Cole also is offering women’s medical services.

Negotiations between the town and Winthrop to establish a second medical practice here began last October on the heels of many complaints voiced for at least two years from patients who said that Island Urgent Medical Care wasn’t staffing the office here with any regularity.

While the town’s agreement with Island Urgent Medical Care, dating back to April 2010, didn’t specify days or hours of operation, it did provide that a doctor would be stationed on the Island in the event of an emergency such as a blizzard or hurricane. But even that wasn’t always the case. Patients complained of trying in vain to get appointments for blood tests and said a doctor was seldom available for an appointment and no one returned telephone calls from those seeking appointments.

After several months of negotiations between the town and Winthrop-University Hospital that date back to October 2013, a lease was finally signed in late January, but the office remains shuttered.

Patients of Island Urgent Medical Care have been told their records were being turned over to Winthrop.

 

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