Robert Chaloner, Chief Administrative Officer, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, has more than 35 years of healthcare administrative experience and a strong passion for community hospitals and not-for-profit healthcare. He received his undergraduate education at Dartmouth College, graduate degrees in Health Management and Planning at Columbia University, and an MBA from New York University, and for the past 14 years he has led Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.
Chaloner serves on the board of many healthcare and community service organizations. He is the current Chair of the Nassau Suffolk Hospital Council and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, where he has served as an inaugural member and immediate past Chair of the LGBTQ Forum. The East Hampton resident enjoys mentoring and educating the next generation of healthcare leaders, and teaches graduate management courses at Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management. Here he discusses the current status of the coronavirus pandemic on the East End.
Jean Shafiroff: Suffolk County is reporting a steady increase in COVID-19 positivity rates. What is Stony Brook Southampton Hospital doing to prepare for this second surge?
Robert S. Chaloner: Our mission is to protect our community, our patients and our staff. The current resurgence is very concerning. The good news is that we here at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital have learned a great deal since having the first admitted confirmed COVID patient in Suffolk County. Today, that patient is thriving and we are fighting the virus with promising treatments, including Remdesivir and steroids. We are proactively working to be ahead of any major outbreak. We have supplies, PPE [personal protective equipment] and state-of-the-art advanced sanitizing technology designed to keep our staff and patients safe. Should it be necessary, we can quickly double our bed count.
Currently, we are providing COVID-19 PCR, influenza and strep testing at our Respiratory Infection Evaluation Centers located at Parrish Memorial Hall in Southampton, East Hampton High School and Shelter Island Meeting House Lane Medical Practice. We recently conducted a free “drive-through” flu vaccine clinic. Preventing influenza break-outs will help lessen the burden on every healthcare system as we focus on tackling COVID.
Jean Shafiroff: What advice do you have for those who wish to visit family over the upcoming holidays?
Robert S. Chaloner: Sadly, this is a holiday season unlike any we have experienced. It is in the best interest of our extended family and friends that we limit our exposure to one another. We have to remain vigilant and not succumb to COVID-fatigue and lessen our guard. We are very proud of our community and their ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and influenza by wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing, and frequently washing hands. It is critical that this continues. Additionally, we have to follow the Governor’s mandate and keep up the good work we’ve been doing by limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences to no more than 10 people. We take this one step farther and recommend that you celebrate the holidays this season only with your immediate family or roommates, who have tested negative for COVID. We also suggest that when shopping for gifts, you consider supporting local businesses. We are partnering with East End retailers via the Hamptons Holiday Shop, where select purchases will benefit our Hospital’s Healthcare Heroes Fund to help offset expenses incurred in fighting the coronavirus.
Jean Shafiroff: Where can we get tested for COVID-19?
Robert S. Chaloner:Stony Brook Southampton offers drive-up PCR-swab appointments at three locations: Southampton Village, East Hampton and on Shelter Island.
Southampton: The Southampton site is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the corner of Lewis Street and Herrick Road. Appointments can be made by phone, 631-396-6406, or on the hospital’s website, ADD WEBSITE.
East Hampton: On Tuesdays and Thursdays, tests are offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the East Hampton High School parking lot on Long Lane in East Hampton. Appointments must be made by phone at 631-668-3705.
Shelter Island: On Wednesdays, tests can be scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 631-749-9140, with a prescription from Dr. Joshua Potter. The location is 44 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island.
Antibody Tests: Antibody tests are available by appointment at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, 631-726-8250; and at its annex lab at 330 Meeting House Lane in Southampton, 631-377-3475.
The antibody tests can also be scheduled at the 200 Pantigo Place lab, 631-329-8630; the Amagansett lab at 532 Montauk Highway, Suite 102, 631-527-5117; and in Hampton Bays at 182 West Montauk Highway, Building B, 631-723-3682.
Jean Shafiroff is a philanthropist, advocate, TV host , writer, volunteer leader of several charitable causes. She is the author of “Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give” and producer and host of the TV show “Successful Philanthropy,” which airs four times a week through LTV studios in East Hampton and in New York City Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN): Spectrum Channel 34 and 1995, Verizon/FiOS Channel 33, and RCN Channel 82.