With Dr. Rocco Monto’s impending relocation to Nantucket in May, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is taking immediate steps to expand orthopedic services on the Island, including emergency orthopedic services.
Dr. Mark Scheffer, an orthopedic surgeon at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, will join the hospital staff this summer. He is expected to arrive in mid to late July, director of physician services Jay Ferriter told the Gazette on Wednesday.
Dr. Monto formally announced last week that he will move his practice to Nantucket to work full time at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. He has been part of the NCH staff for five years, but continued to work with his patients on Martha’s Vineyard. In an interview with the Gazette last week, Dr. Monto stressed that his door would remain open for Vineyard patients.
Meanwhile, leaders at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital said this week they recognized a clear need for expanded orthopedic services and have acted accordingly. Dr. Scheffer will be the first specialist to join the hospital staff since Dr. Dan Pesch was hired in the obstetrics department in 2010.
An avid sailor and son of a former hospital administrator, Dr. Scheffer attended medical school at Vanderbilt
University and completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He joined the Dartmouth-Hitchcock clinic in 1998, and works out of the Concord Hospital, which is home to the largest emergency room in New Hampshire. Mr. Ferriter said the impetus for Dr. Scheffer’s hiring was as much a need to bolster ER services as a response to Dr. Monto’s departure. “With [Dr. Monto] leaving there of course becomes some void of patients, but in addition to that this is more of an opportunity for us especially around emergency care — the backup for the trauma that comes through,” he said. “A real benefit here is that we’ll be able to cover most all of the time for emergencies on hand, which is not the case currently.”
There is currently one full-time orthopedic surgeon at the hospital, Dr. Willie Cater, who came on board in 2009 after Dr. Monto, a former private-practice doctor, first joined the Nantucket hospital staff. Dr. Cater was also hired in response to increased demand for Island orthopedic care; a 2004 survey of Massachusetts state hospital data showed that 70 per cent of orthopedic inpatients from the Vineyard were having their work done off-Island.
Mr. Ferriter said that there will always be Vineyard patients who prefer traveling to Boston or Cape Cod to see doctors they trust and are familiar with, but he said the hospital remains excited about the opportunity of having two full-time orthopedic physicians on staff.
“There’s [been] no question after we met Mark a couple of times,” he said. “I think it’s a great match for both of us.” Mr. Ferriter said that the hospital is creating a new position for Dr. Scheffer.
“So we’re really building something, and I think he sees that he’d like to be a part of that,” he added.
The hospital began its recruitment search last fall, after learning that Dr. Monto would be leaving the Vineyard. A recruitment retainer located four promising candidates, Mr. Ferriter said, and the hospital began the interview process, briefing each about job expectations and life on the Vineyard. The chief of staff for surgery at the hospital, Dr. Pieter Pil, also spoke with the candidates.
“We didn’t seem to have that much of an issue getting well-trained folks that were interested,” Mr. Ferriter said.