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Winthrop still eyeing Shelter Island medical services

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Winthrop-University Hospital,might still have an interest in providing services at  the town-owned Medical Center, above.
Winthrop-University Hospital might still have an interest in providing services at the town-owned Medical Center, above.

Winthrop-University Hospital is still weighing options to expand its services here.

But that’s not threatening to Dr. Anthonette Desire, who just leased the Medical Center space originally promised to Winthrop.

No one is threatening to toss Dr. Desire out of the Medical Center space she has just opened in the rear of the building.

But Winthrop-University Hospital remains interested in expanding its presence on Shelter Island, according to Winthrop’s director of real estate, John Mather.

In January, Winthrop signed an agreement with Shelter Island Town to occupy the same space Dr. Desire just leased, but was delayed arranging for the installation of medical technology and telecommunications equipment in the space.

That left Dr. Peter Kelt, who has long served Islanders, first as an independent doctor and later as a Winthrop employee, to handle the patient load here with his new associate, Dr. Barbara Philips-Cole.

They moved to the front of the Medical Center building, occupying the space that had been staffed by Island Urgent doctors until that relationship broke down last year. Because Island Urgent was failing to staff the office regularly, leaving patients complaining about their inability to schedule appointments, the town began exploring other options.

Then in early June, with Winthrop still not moving on staffing the back office space, Dr. Desire stepped into the breach and signed an agreement for NAD Medical Services, a company she owns with her husband, Dr. Nathanael Desire, to lease the space on an initial four-month contract.

Plans called for a more permanent and long-term contract to be signed if both the doctor and town found the arrangement to their liking.

But it left the Winthrop deal in limbo.

“Winthrop continues to explore ways to expand its services on Shelter Island,” Mr. Rather said. “While the space remains an attractive option, we’ll be guided by whatever decision the town makes and look for the best way to continue to serve the Shelter Island community,” he said. “We’ll stay in discussions and make the appropriate decision when the time comes.

Meanwhile, Dr. Desire, who opened her practice here June 16, has given every indication she plans to extend her lease before it expires in October, while her husband continues to staff their Bellport office.
The couple also has a physician’s assistant, Dave Conway, working with the practice so they can ensure staffing at both offices on a regular basis, Dr. Desire said.