Winthrop Hospital deal close for Medical Center

REPORTER FILE PHOTO |The town Medical Center on South Ferry Road.

Winthrop University Hospital is expected to be staffing the town’s Medical Center, replacing Island Urgent Medical Care, but another unidentified practitioner — in addition to Dr. Peter Kelt — could be taking space in the building in the near future, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said Wednesday morning.

His announcement came on the heels of an executive session meeting the Town Board held Tuesday afternoon with John Rather, Winthrop’s real estate director, to iron out the few open areas of a contract that had not been previously set. Town Attorney Laury Dowd was to submit what Mr. Dougherty hoped would be a final draft of a lease for Winthrop to take over some space in the building on South Ferry Road. Mr. Dougherty first announced the talks with Winthrop about operating a practice here in October 2013.

Dr. Peter Kelt, who has been serving Shelter Islanders since 1983, contracted with Winthrop University Hospital in 2011 to take over the administration of his practice. Under the agreement, Dr. Kelt became a salaried employee of Winthrop, Mr. Dougherty said at the time of that deal.

In the interim, while the lease and contract are finalized with Winthrop, Dr. Daniel Ferrara, president of Island Urgent Medical Care, promised Mr. Dougherty that he would assign a doctor to the office by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning to staff until Winthrop opens its practice here. There has been no regular staffing of that office in many months with numerous complaints from patients that they have been unable to get appointments or even get telephone calls returned.

Island Urgent operates five medical facilities on Long Island and first leased the space at the Medical Center in April 2010 under an agreement meant to expand care for Islanders. Early in its contract, Mr. Dougherty said the practice was failing to staff the office here “as promised.” There were numerous complaints lodged last year about Island Urgent frequently failing to open the office on certain occasions and being unresponsive to phone calls.

While the agreement between the town and Island Urgent made no specific mention of hours or days of operation, it was expected to render service on a regular basis and ensure that during times of emergencies, a doctor would be available here.

The agreement with Island Urgent will come to a conclusion when Winthrop’s contract begins, Mr. Dougherty said.