11/20/13 8:06am

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, Supervisor Jim Dougherty reported on possible new tenants at the Medical Center and issues surrounding the FIT Center.

The Island might be getting closer to more responsive medical care.

At Tuesday’s Town Board work session Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he had been in touch with representatives of Winthrop–University Hospital who said it could take over some or all of the Medical Center from its current tenant, Island Urgent Medical Care, as early as January 1.

The Mineola-based hospital will then provide more space for Dr. Peter Kelt — the only Island physician —and for an additional doctor who “would be hired and staffed there,” Mr. Dougherty said.

“If we give consent and this happens … they would be open on Saturdays,” Mr. Dougherty added. He noted that “they may hedge it” by only opening on Saturday during the summers.

In addition to the hospital there is also another group interested in taking over from Island Urgent, Mr. Dougherty said.
Many residents have complained that the care provided at Island Urgent is inadequate, including complaints that it’s infrequently open and often unresponsive to phone calls.

Last October Mr. Dougherty said adequate medical service was not being provided by Island Urgent “as promised” when the company signed a lease for the front office space of the Medical Center.

Island Urgent’s president signed a lease with the town on April 6, 2010 with the agreement that rent would be $1,600 a month plus an annual consumer price index adjustment. The lease makes no reference to the required hours or days for a physician to be available.

In other business before the Town Board, Mr. Dougherty said he had been in touch with Garth Griffin, the town’s recreation program coordinator, on issues raised last week about the FIT Center.

A resident told the board that the Center was in danger of “dying a slow death” because of a lack of use, which Mr. Dougherty confirmed, noting membership numbers at the gym were down. Councilwoman Chris Lewis also mentioned last week that the gym was getting a bit rough around the edges and maintenance needed to be upgraded.

Mr. Dougherty said Tuesday that Mr. Griffin had been in touch with Shelter Island School Superintendent Michael Hynes — the gym, run by the town, is located in the school building —who asked for a delay until after Thanksgiving for a formal meeting on the issue.

Dr. Hynes “is talking with his attorneys on an amended agreement between the school and the FIT Center,” Mr. Dougherty said, and doesn’t want to “disclose details at this point. They have to pull the trigger fairly quickly on this possible school bond,” and so asked for a delay of the meeting.

The Shelter Island Board of Education is considering a proposed $1.6 million bond to replace the faltering heating system in the school . One aspect of the proposed replacement work would involve separating the FIT Center system from the main boiler room. Presently, when the school is closed, heat must be supplied to the entire building to warm the FIT Center.

There is a town Recreation Committee Meeting set for December 2.