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Suffolk County Legislature Votes To Combine Health Clinics In Southampton And East Hampton

Chelsea Katz

The new health clinic will be at the annex of The Southampton Hospital. (Photo Credit: Southampton Hospital)

The Suffolk County Legislature voted on Tuesday, June 4, to consolidate and move two health clinics, one in Southampton and the other in East Hampton, to The Southampton Hospital annex. The Suffolk County Executive's office expects that the merger between Suffolk County, Southampton Hospital, Hudson River Health Care and Stony Brook University Medical Center will save taxpayers $3.8 million over the next five years.

The joining of these two health clinics (Kraus Family Center in Southampton and The Suffolk County Health Center in East Hampton) will be financed through a $2.2 million state health care grant through the HEAL program. $700,000 will go towards renovating the space. Renovations will be completed by December 31, 2013 because the funds are coming out of the HEAL grant.

The new health clinic will be recognized as a "federally qualified health center." According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, federally qualified health centers are meant to provide healthcare to underserved areas. Suffolk County will be running the clinic through Hudson River Health Care, or HRH.

"They [HRH] have done an excellent job caring to underserved people so we feel very confident with HRH..." said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokeswoman for Bellone. The opportunities for this residency program- that is unique..."

Marsha Kenny, the director of marketing and public affairs at Southampton Hospital, believes that the new clinic will take Medicare and Medicaid patients.

At the moment, the annex houses The Southampton Hospital Foundation, the medical education program, the office for Meeting House Lane Medical Practice and the human resources department. The medical education and the foundation will be staying in the annex and human resources will be "basically moving across the street," according to Kenny.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was a key player behind the merger through the legislature. According to Baird-Streeter, Bellone really started looking at consolidation in early 2013.

During the vote, thirteen legislators approved the bill while five abstained.

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