And then there was one: Mather to join Northwell

Best intentions: John T. Mather Memorial Hospital has signed a letter of intent to join the Northwell Health system.

One of Long Island’s last independent hospitals is beaming aboard Northwell Health’s mothership.

The Board of Directors of Port Jefferson’s John T. Mather Memorial Hospital has signed a letter of intent to join the New Hyde Park-based health system, the hospital announced Thursday, angling it as “part of a long-term strategy to ensure advanced healthcare for Mather’s communities and the future growth of the hospital.”

Noting “unprecedented changes occurring in the healthcare industry,” the board determined that joining Northwell Health – New York State’s largest healthcare provider system by numbers of employees and patients – was in the best interest of Mather Memorial’s staff and patients, according to the hospital.

“This move will position us to continue our vision and mission to provide the highest standards of care well into the future,” Kenneth Jacoppi, chairman of the Board of Directors, said in a statement.

Northwell Health has been busy of late forming domestic and international research partnerships and adding new hospitals to its vast network. In May, the health system announced the addition of Crouse Hospital – backbone of a two-hospital, 3,300-employee health system serving the Syracuse region – to the fold.

In Mather Memorial, Northwell Health found a winning combination of patient outcomes and community involvement, according to Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling, right in the health system’s own backyard.

“Mather Hospital is known for patient-centric care both in the community and throughout the industry,” Dowling said in a statement. “That deeply embedded sense of purpose is the type of quality we want to represent Northwell Health, along with an excellent staff of medical professionals and physicians.

“Together, Mather and Northwell will play a crucial partnership role expanding world-class care and innovative patient services to Suffolk County residents.”

A final agreement determining the parameters of the merger will be hammered out over “the next few months,” according to Mather Memorial.

That agreement will ultimately require the approval of both the Mather Board of Directors and Northwell’s directors and is expected to come before the end of the calendar year.

Before signing the letter of intent to join Northwell Health, Mather Memorial conducted an “extensive search process” that stretched nearly 18 months and included discussions with “several health systems,” the hospital said.

But ultimately, the Board of Directors “chose a partner that would support our culture of caring as well as our future growth,” according to Mather Hospital President Kenneth Roberts.

“Our community, employees and medical staff have a deep commitment to Mather Hospital,” Roberts said Thursday.

Named for local ship-builder John T. Mather, who bequeathed funds for the construction of the Town of Brookhaven’s first hospital, Mather Memorial opened in 1929. Recognized today with numerous performance awards – including MagnetTM designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and a rare four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – the hospital boasts a staff of more than 2,600, including 600-plus affiliated physicians.

With Mather Memorial off the board, and Oceanside’s South Nassau Communities Hospital announcing in May that it had entered negotiations to join the Mount Sinai Health System, Long Island would be down to one independent, unaffiliated hospital: Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center.

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