Northwell, Mather finally head down the aisle

I do: Port Jefferson's John T. Mather Memorial Hospital gets hitched this week, finally joining the Northwell Health system.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital and the mighty Northwell Health system will officially tie the knot this week.

Kenneth Roberts, president of the Port Jefferson-based hospital, and Michael Dowling, president and CEO of New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, are scheduled to sign an agreement Thursday that assimilates Mather Hospital into the multiregional health system.

Mather Hospital signed a letter of intent in July to join New York State’s largest healthcare operation. The merger, which officially takes effect next month, was approved in November by both the Mather Board of Directors and the Northwell Health Board of Trustees.

Named for a local ship-builder who bequeathed funds for the construction of the Town of Brookhaven’s first hospital, the circa-1929 Port Jefferson facility becomes Northwell Health’s fifth Suffolk County hospital – joining Huntington Hospital, Bay Shore’s Southside Hospital, Riverhead’s Peconic Bay Medical Center and Amityville’s South Oaks Hospital – and 23rd overall.

Dowling said Northwell Health is “thrilled to have Mather as part of the family.”

“Mather is a highly respected community teaching hospital with a long and proud history of delivering exceptional care to residents of Suffolk County’s North Shore,” the Northwell Health CEO said Wednesday. “We’re committed to working collaboratively with Mather to strengthen and expand its clinical services, ensuring that the hospital will continue to fulfill its mission as a full-service community hospital.”

Kenneth Roberts: Ongoing mission.

Mather Hospital will add its 600-plus affiliated physicians and total staff of 2,600 employees to Northwell Health’s payrolls, enlarging what is already New York’s largest health system (by number of providers and patients) and largest private employer (with Mather’s crew, 65,000-plus and counting).

With his hospital marking 88 years of service this month, Roberts – who oversaw five months of “due-diligence discussions” after signing the letter of intent in July, according to Northwell Health – called the merger “auspicious.”

“This is a once-in-a-century event that fortifies us for future growth,” Roberts said in a statement. “While we are now a member of one of the country’s premier health systems, our mission remains the same – to provide our community care to the best of our ability, showing compassion and respect and treating each patient in the manner we would wish for our loved ones.”

With the merger, Long Island is running out of independent hospitals. One of the Island’s last remaining nonaffiliated hospitals, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, announced in May that it had entered negotiations to join the New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System.