Dr. Joel Hass, one of the island’s few primary care physicians, is leaving his practice at Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
“For personal reasons, I have decided to take a break from the practice of medicine and will be leaving the Nantucket Cottage Hospital,” Hass wrote in a note to patients. His final day at the hospital will be Friday, June 4. “I am so sorry about the short notice, unfortunately, this could not be helped.”
Hass is on vacation this week, and could not be reached for comment. Hospital officials confirmed his pending exit from the organization, and Chris Glowacki, Vice President for Strategy and Development at NCH, said the hospital had another primary care physician starting within a few days of Hass’ end date.
Hass’ departure comes almost exactly four years since he joined the hospital’s medical staff in June 2017. The remaining primary care physicians at NCH are now Dr. Diane Pearl, who also serves as chief medical officer for the hospital, as well as Dr. Mimi Koehm and Dr. Derek Andelloux. Dr. Tim Lepore continues to operate his independent primary care practice out of the Anderson Building on the hospital campus, which is not affiliated with the hospital’s Nantucket Cottage Medical Group.
Since 2017, Nantucket has been formally designated as a “Health Professional Shortage Area” for primary care providers by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration, which looks at population to practitioner ratio. For several years, Hass and Andeloux have been the only primary care physicians at the hospital accepting new patients.
Hass’ exit follows the recent retirement of longtime physician George Butterworth in April 2019, and the departure of Dr. Kristy Acosta from the medical staff in May 2019.
The hospital has been attempting to build its ranks of advanced practice providers – typically nurse practitioners and physician assistants – to augment its primary care group practice and provide greater access. They include nurse practitioners Annette Adams, Molly Harding and Nancy Lucchini, as well as physician assistants Caitlin Kaplan and Jayne Culkins. Physician assistant Chris Brannigan was another recent departure from the group practice.