A Riverhead hospital unveiled a slight name change -- Peconic Bay Medical Center Health -- Wednesday and announced that it will soon be affiliated with the nation's largest diabetes center -- Harvard University-Joslin Diabetes Care Center.
The Joslin diabetes center, Suffolk's first such facility, is expected to open within six months in Riverhead. Peconic Bay is constructing a large ambulatory care campus in Manorville for the Boston-based diabetes clinic, a four-building complex that will take three years to complete.
Once the Route 111 health complex is fully operational, Peconic Bay will pay $1 million a year in rent for the Manorville campus for at least 10 years, hospital officials said Wednesday. They added that it could become as busy as the Riverhead hospital's emergency room complex, which sees about 30,000 people a year.
That would ease some of the crowding at Peconic Bay Medical Center Health in Riverhead, which used to be called Peconic Bay Medical Center and, before that, Central Suffolk Hospital.
Andrew Mitchell, president and chief executive of Peconic Bay, said Manorville was chosen for the new 25,000-square-foot medical center because it has a growing population that is underserved. "There's not a single doctor's office in Manorville," he said.
There are numerous doctors' offices in nearby communities, including Wading River and East Moriches, and one chiropractor has a part-time office in Manorville, a sprawling community south of the Long Island Expressway that tens of thousands of people can pass through on a busy summer weekend on their way to the Hamptons on State Route 111.
Mitchell said the new health care campus also could serve patients from retirement communities in Ridge, and he said he is looking into a shuttle bus service for them. It also could reach into other nearby communities in eastern Brookhaven Town, including the East Moriches and Center Moriches areas, he said.
The medical center changed its name to better reflect its goal of maintaining the health of people on the East End, Mitchell said, instead of just treating them when they become ill. Because of federal health reform, future medical care will involve early screenings, health fairs and more ambulatory treatment rather than hospital stays.