Martha’s Vineyard Hospital hires new orthopedic surgeon

— File photo by Nelson Sigelman

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital (MVH) has hired orthopedic surgeon Mark Scheffer, currently in practice with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Group in Concord, New Hampshire. Dr. Scheffer will join the hospital’s medical staff in July, hospital officials said today.

Tim Walsh, hospital chief executive officer, said the addition of Dr. Scheffer would strengthen the hospital in many ways and bolster coverage in the emergency room.

“He is just a terrific guy,” Mr. Walsh told The Times in a telephone call Wednesday.

Dr. Scheffer, 50, graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Tennessee and completed a surgical residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Minnesota. He began practice with Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 1998. He will join Dr. Willie Cater, currently the only orthopedic surgeon on the hospital staff.

According to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock website, Dr. Scheffer’s practice includes: shoulder arthroscopy including rotator cuff repair, stabilization procedures for recurrent dislocation and degenerative conditions, knee reconstruction including meniscus tears, ligament injuries (ACL tears), partial and total knee replacements, hip arthroscopy, hip replacements, and fracture repair.

Jay Ferriter, MVH director of physician services, said Dr. Scheffer is an avid sailor and has family connections to the Cape and Island. “He is looking forward to coming to Martha’s Vineyard,” Mr. Ferriter said.

Dr. Scheffer’s current responsibilities include working in one of New Hampshire’s busiest emergency room trauma centers.

“We are very fortunate,” Mr. Ferriter said. “We had a number of good candidates for the position. We think this is a great match for both parties.”

In a telephone conversation Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Scheffer said he is very excited about moving to Martha’s Vineyard and living in a small community.

“I like knowing my patients and getting to know their families,” Dr. Scheffer said.

The father of three said he is looking forward to a different tempo from the one he experiences in New Hampshire, which transitions from the busy summer tourist season to the busy ski season, and he looks forward to being near the ocean.

Dr. Scheffer said that his decision to accept the hospital’s offer rested in large part on the quality of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the reception he received from the administration.

“They made me feel that they will do whatever it takes to give me the tools to treat the people of Martha’s Vineyard in the best possible way,” he said.

Dr. Monto will leave

The announcement came yesterday, just as orthopedic surgeon Rocco Monto announced that he will close his West Tisbury office on May 31.

Although Dr. Monto only lived and practiced on the Vineyard part-time, with privileges at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, he is under contract to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, a Partners hospital just as MVH is.

Dr. Monto arrived on the Island 17 years ago and joined the staff of MVH. He opened a private practice when MVH was beset by financial turmoil, including bankruptcy.

In April 2008, Dr. Monto ended his full-time private practice here and joined the staff of the Nantucket hospital, where he had worked for eight years while maintaining an office in West Tisbury.

“When I signed the deal with Nantucket, we had an agreement that we would attempt to maintain the practice on the Vineyard,” Dr. Monto said in a telephone conversation Wednesday. “The problem is that Nantucket was completely underwriting the Vineyard practice, and the Vineyard hospital was the beneficiary of that.”

Nantucket Hospital could no longer sustain that model, Dr. Monto said. For years, Dr. Monto commuted between his houses and practices on both islands. That will change in May.

“I have double everything,” he said. “The problem is, I can’t remember what I have on either Island. It makes it difficult to shop.”