The Pines Care Center (PCC) was certified as a non-profit organization by the State of New York in 1984. The initiative to establish PCC had come from the Fire Island Pines Property Owners’ Association the previous year, and the early organization had roots strongly connected to the Fire Island Pines Volunteer Fire Department. Three physicians provided the driving leadership for PCC during its first 27 years: Dr. John Fenoglio, Dr. Robert Levin, and Dr. Ed Schulhafer. The fourth leader, Stephen Hayes, was elected President in 2011.
From modest beginnings in the basement level of the old Pines Community Center, PCC now provides medical services to more than 600 Pines residents and visitors annually from its modern facilities in the Freeman/Yeager Wing of Whyte Hall. The generous financial support from the community for almost three decades has enabled PCC to become an essential and firmly established part of the fabric of Fire Island Pines.
In the beginning, PCC doctors were contracted through an emergency medical service company that provided the necessary malpractice insurance coverage. As many physicians discovered the special joys of Fire Island Pines, they often planned their summer vacations so they could return each year for one or two weeks, often accompanied with family or partners. As the years went by, Pines residents visiting the Care Center often developed close doctor/patient relationships with doctors who cared for them each summer.
In 2009, the Pines Care Center eliminated its fee schedule in order to make health care available to everyone, regardless of his or her ability to pay. This makes delivery of medical care in Fire Island Pines one of the most progressive models of health care delivery in the country. This move increased the number of yearly visits to the doctor’s office from around 225 to more than 600.