An emergency and urgent care facility that would include an emergency room is being proposed by Southampton Hospital officials to provide medical services closer to East Hampton for that town’s residents.
Robert Chaloner, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, presented East Hampton Town Board members with the idea at a Tuesday work session. He said the satellite facility would cost $35 million to $45 million to build.
Also included would be radiology services, a blood draw station, a half dozen new doctors and additional physician office space. No patients would be admitted for treatment.
Chaloner said the hospital is concerned about East Hampton residents having to travel 14 miles to get to the closest facility, Southampton Hospital, noting that annually, about 17,000 of the hospital’s patients come from East Hampton.
The project is eligible for a $10 million grant from the state Department of Health, Chaloner said, and the hospital would raise the rest of the money.
“It’s our dream to improve the health care services out here in the East Hampton community,” Chaloner, an East Hampton resident, told the board.
He said the travel time between East Hampton and Southampton presents an unhealthy situation made worse with summer visitors and the associated traffic jams along Montauk Highway, and added that in the summer a round trip between the two towns can take four hours.
“Our belief is we need to strengthen the resources that are out here in East Hampton,” Chaloner said. “We think we have a vision of something that could drastically improve health care for all of our communities.”
Chaloner said that to apply for the $10 million grant, a site for the facility must be chosen by the end of the year. The site needs to accommodate the 54,000-square-foot facility and parking, and be large enough for a possible 10,000-square-foot expansion at some point in anticipation of the growing need for services from East Hampton’s large aging population.
Chaloner recommended two locations: a 4.5 acre property on Pantigo Road next to East Hampton’s Town Hall, where there are ballfields that would have to be relocated; and a property at 110 Stephen Hands Path in Wainscott that spans 45 acres near two soccer fields and a pair of basketball courts.
“We want to start the dialogue in a way that can move this forward,” Chaloner said.
It would take about two years to start construction once the project is approved, he added. At the end of Chaloner’s presentation, East Hampton Supervisor Larry Cantwell commended hospital officials.
“I really want to thank the hospital for their vision here,” Cantwell said, adding that it shows officials are “being sensitive to what could happen” if East Hampton residents do not have medical care available closer to their homes.