Samaritan Announces Expanded Inpatient Visitation Hours

Watertown, NY After careful consideration, and because the COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain stable, Samaritan Medical Center announces an update to visitation hours.

As of Monday, April 3, 2023, Medical/Surgical (inpatient) Units, Intensive Care Unit, and Progressive Care Unit patients may have visitors from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

For more information on Samaritan Medical Center’s visitation policy, visit:

For safety purposes, all visitors must be in good health. We have updated our visitor management system and remind inpatient visitors that a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID is required at the time of visit. Most visitation is restricted to those 12 years of age or older. A parent or guardian must accompany visitors under the age of 18. Masks are required, as well as proper hand-washing throughout the visit. Visitors who have recently been in quarantine or in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home.

Samaritan Auxiliary’s 21st Annual One Night, One Diamond on March 25, 2023 at Fort Drum focuses on BioFire modules for Samaritan Laboratory and supporting the Hologic Breast PACS System

Watertown, New York – Samaritan Auxiliary’s One Night, One Diamond is being held on Saturday, March 25 from 6:00-11:00pm at The Commons on Fort Drum again this year.  Tickets are $215 per couple, which includes dinner, dancing to the popular band ‘Atlas’, and an opportunity to win the one-carat diamond donated by Cook’s Jewelers, or a get-away package either to Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa or Clayton’s 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel.  For tickets or more information please visit the website or with questions contact or (315) 408-7895. RSVP’s with the names of attendees and date of birth, for entrance onto Fort Drum, must be received by March 14, 2023.

This year’s event proceeds will improve quality healthcare through strategic equipment purchases.  The BioFire’s syndromic approach to Infectious Disease diagnostics helps to quickly identify multiple pathogens allowing for one sample to comprehensively accomplish multiple tests in a significantly shorter time period and in a single report, thereby improving patient management and outcomes.  As additional BioFire modules are added in the Samaritan Laboratory it will allow for a greater number of tests to be accomplished to include respiratory, gastrointestinal, cerebrospinal fluid panel testing for meningitis/encephalitis, blood culture, and pneumonia panel.   This type of approach improves patient care and decreases the time needed for a diagnosis leading to treatment.

The Hologic Breast PACS System for Samaritan Women’s Wellness and Breast Care is advanced technology that will allow simultaneous review across multiple breast imaging modalities.  Viewing mammography, breast ultrasound, and breast MR images simultaneously with current imagery results in faster read times and quicker results thereby enhancing patient care.

The Blue Diamond Sponsors are Apogee Physician and KeyBank.  Pink Diamond Sponsors include Bob Johnson Auto Group, Purcell Construction, SeaComm, and Dr. Shikhar Vyas & Mrs. Vidhya Vyas – in memory of Gautam S. Vyas.  Media Sponsors are the Watertown Daily Times, 7News, and Runningboards Marketing.  Other top sponsors include Coca-Cola Company, FX Caprara Car Companies, Hancock Estabrook, Ives Hill Country Club, King + King Architects, The Martin Group, Nickles Property Service, Renzi Foodservice Charitable Foundation, Slack Chemical Company, Watertown Wealth Management, Philip J. Sprague.

Among last year’s Auxiliary highlights the 2022 One Night, One Diamond, celebrated virtually, generated a record $110,322 as a result of the gracious and overwhelming generosity of our community, sponsors, and donors allowing for the purchase of an ultraviolet disinfecting devise used in the terminal sanitization of rooms at the Medical Center, as well as supporting the purchase of five Sleep Diagnostic Systems for the Samaritan Sleep Lab.  This was accomplished while honoring all Samaritan Caregivers throughout the entire system.

The Auxiliary runs the Gift Shops at the Samaritan Medical Center and Samaritan Summit Village, as well as the Starbucks Coffee Shop at the Medical Center, along with the Auxiliary uniform and purse sales for the staff, and membership dues which provide funding for support of programs, services, and the pledge commitment to support Samaritan Health. The Auxiliary had committed $500,000 as its most recent pledge commitment to the Capital Campaign for the Walker Center for Cancer Care, and annually provides two $1500 scholarships to Samaritan employees to further their education in a healthcare field of study.  Additionally, the Auxiliary has continued the WHALE (We Have A Little Emergency) child safety seat ID program and That’s Using Your Head, a helmet ID safety program, in conjunction with our Kinney Drugs Foundation partner.

About Samaritan Auxiliary:  The Samaritan Auxiliary was established in 1896 to serve as ambassadors and volunteers to support and enhance healthcare programs at the House of the Good Samaritan.  As a 501(c)(3) organization, the Samaritan Auxiliary is composed entirely of volunteers and play a vital role today in improving the quality of care in the Samaritan system through volunteer activities and financial support. Since 2006 when the event began raising funds for equipment, Samaritan Auxiliary’s One Night, One Diamond proceeds have purchased nearly a million dollars in equipment for Samaritan Medical Center.

Samaritan Medical Center Announces Change to COVID-19 Drive-Up Testing Site Hours of Operation

Watertown, NY – The Samaritan Drive-Up Testing Site, located at the Samaritan Health and Wellness Plaza at 1575 Washington Street in Watertown, will change its hours of operation effective Friday, February 17, 2023.  The change is due to a change in requirements for patient COVID-19 testing before surgical and outpatient procedures to a shorter timeframe, as well as to align better with clinic hours and support staff availability. 

The Drive-up Testing Site hours will change from Sunday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., to the new hours of Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m..

To schedule a test for COVID-19 symptoms or for COVID-19 questions or information, Samaritan’s Resource Line is available Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 315-755-3100. 

Most hospitals require a COVID-19 test before a surgery or procedure.  Samaritan’s Drive-Up Testing Site can do this regardless of where surgery is to be performed.  Tests can be scheduled through the pre-encounter department, 315-785-5700.

For complete COVID-19 testing information, visit:

Local Families to Benefit from 22nd Annual CMN Radiothon

Watertown, NY — The 22nd Annual Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Radiothon was held November 2-4, 2022 and raised a record $155,219 to help children throughout the North Country.

2022 check presentation at the Community Broadcasters station in Watertown. Pictured here, left to right, are Amy O’Brien, Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York, Johnny Spezzano, Community Broadcasters, Angie VanWormer, Children’s Miracle Network, Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York, and Lance Hale, Community Broadcasters.

Each year, Community Broadcasters’ stations The Border 106.7 and 94 Rock fill the airwaves with extraordinary stories of courage and hope from local CMN children and their families. These families, eager to give back to Children’s Miracle Network, openly share the details of their experience and explain how the program has helped them.

DJs Johnny Spezzano and Lance Hale were live on-air throughout Radiothon, asking listeners to make a donation to help sick and injured children. “The CMN Radiothon has become a North Country tradition and this year the community showed more support for local kids than ever before,” said Angie VanWormer, Children’s Miracle Network Director, Samaritan Medical Center. “We are so thankful for the generosity of all those who helped make this event a success.”

Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals uses every dollar raised locally to support pediatric equipment and projects at Samaritan Medical Center. In addition, CMN of Northern New York provides direct financial assistance to families living in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties with a child facing a medical crisis for travel expenses and other out-of-pocket medical costs.

For more information on Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals contact the Samaritan Medical Center at 315-785-4053 or

Samaritan sees Impact to Patients through Telehealth Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program 

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Home Health launched its telehealth Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in February 2022 and has seen positive impacts for patients participating with congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  

Samaritan Home Health Director of Patient Services, Stephanie Parks, stated, “patients who have been discharged from the hospital, or who have been referred by their physician, and are eligible for our Home Health services, benefit from this program, specifically those with Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”

This program stems from a pilot tested near the end of 2020, where patients at risk of readmission with COVID-19 were assigned pulse oximeters to test levels three times daily from home. With its success, the medical center requested grant monies through North Country Initiative and Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization for resources and technology to enhance the program.

The goal of this updated program is to reduce readmission within 30 days of discharge from the hospital through improved communication between providers and patient, including daily interactive home monitoring.  Patients are given specific equipment such as tablet, scale, blood pressure device, pulse oximeter that when used provide the direct vitals to the home health care team virtually.  If any of these vitals is outside the normal range for the patient, home health staff reach out directly to provide immediate approved interventions. 

“CHF and COPD in elderly patients often result in hospitalization due to exacerbations,” said Parks. “There are multiple factors we can monitor to reduce risk including, weight, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.”

Since February, Samaritan Home Health has received 66 referrals to the program, with 50 patients officially participating. Some of the referred patients declined the resource. Of those participating, 92 percent of patients were not readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, which is very successful.

“Our program coordinator has worked tirelessly to improve the well-being of our patients, and her active engagement is why we are seeing such success,” said Parks. “We hope others will participate and continue to reduce readmissions.”

Dr. Mario Victoria, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Samaritan Medical Center, added that COVID-19 allowed us to provide better care management at home, and we can now apply lessons learned to offer good outcomes to specific patients in our community.

MAKO Name a Robot Contest Concludes

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Medical Center is pleased to announce that after a lengthy search to name our Mako SmartRobotics™ system, we have found the perfect fit!

We received five suggestions for a version of the name SAMMIE. Dr. David J. Newman and the entire team at Samaritan Orthopedics wish to thank the community and Samaritan employees for their ideas. SAMMIE is a nice tribute to our namesake, in a fun way!

At the launch of the robot naming campaign, Samaritan asked entrants to select a charity to receive a donation of $500. The response was overwhelming and because of that, we increased the donation to $1,000 total. Although we altered the name a bit, we have decided to donate to the following charities as noted by the entrants:

Three choices: Children’s Miracle Network – $500

One choice: SPCA – $250

One choice: Make-a-Wish – $250

Thank you to Laureen Bertram, Ginny Johnston, Caitlin Humphrey, Janna Thompson, and all who participated.

Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Awardees Announced

Watertown, New York – Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Susan Peters Nursing Scholarship. The 2022 scholarship awardees are Desiree Fuller and Daniel Ladouceur.

The Susan Peters Nursing Scholarship was established in 2018 to assist with the education costs for an RN continuing their education, specifically to pursue a Nurse Practitioner degree. Two scholarships of $2,000 are awarded each year.

Mrs. Peters graduated from the former House of the Good Samaritan School of Nursing and retired from Samaritan Medical Center as a Certified Oncology Nurse; prior to that, she had served as a staff RN and more than 20 years as a Nurse Manager of Medical/Surgical, Orthopaedic and Alternate Level of Care Units. Susan Passed away in 2020.

Nurse Practitioners are able to provide many of the same services as physicians, including developing treatment plans for their patients, ordering tests, performing minor procedures, and prescribing medication.

For more information or to obtain a scholarship application, please contact the Samaritan Medical Center Foundation at 315-785-4584, visit, or email

Pictured here, left to right, are Mary Dawley, Susan Peters Scholarship Committee Member, Daniel Ladouceur, Scholarship Recipient, Beth Fipps, VP, Foundation & Community Services, Desiree Fuller, Scholarship Recipient, and Marie Hess, Susan Peters Scholarship Committee Member.

Samaritan Medical Center Recertified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Medical Center has recertified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, which we are proud to announce during National Stroke Awareness Month. The certification recognizes health care organizations that provide clinical programs across the continuum of stroke care. The certification evaluates how organizations use clinical outcomes and performance measures to identify opportunities to improve care and educate and prepare patients and their caregivers for discharge.

Samaritan’s Stroke and Trauma Program Coordinator Michelle R. Mann stated the medical center is surveyed every two years and must continue to uphold standards set forth by The Joint Commission and New York State Department of Health. She added, “We have the resources to respond quickly to all patients presenting to the Emergency Department or experiencing a stroke while they are in our care as an inpatient, as well.”

Samaritan obtained its initial certification in 2020 after a rigorous onsite review in November 2019. Preparation for the initial survey included:

  • Demonstrating compliance with the set of clinical practice guidelines required. The guidelines are specific to the care and outcomes of patients that may experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA), cerebrovascular accident (CVA), or a hemorrhagic stroke. This assists organizations in establishing a consistent approach to care, reducing variation and the risk of error, along with improving patient outcomes.
  • Educating staff in the care of the stroke patient with evidence-based guidelines.
  • Implementing a performance improvement committee for ongoing process improvement.
  • Providing 24/7 acute stroke team with ability to provide IV clot buster medication with close monitoring from highly qualified staff.
  • Establishing collaboration with Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
  • Establishing collaboration with the State and Regional Stroke Centers.
  • Committing to providing high-quality patient care from the onset of symptoms to rehabilitation.

To maintain the certification, Samaritan plans to maintain and exceed standards to recertify in 2024 by The Joint Commission.

Samaritan Celebrates March 2022 DAISY® and BEE Award Recipients

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Medical Center is pleased to announce its DAISY and BEE Award recipients for March 2022. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses® recognizes exemplary nursing staff, and the BEE Award honors other outstanding staff members who support patient care, both at the hospital and all outpatient clinics.

Joyce James. RN

Joyce James, a Registered Nurse at Samaritan Medical Center, received the DAISY Award. Tim Cole, hospital Clinical Discharge Planner with Patient and Family Services, received the BEE Award. James was nominated by Assistant Nurse Manager Bobbi Jo Marolf, and Cole by Ciera Talbot, Registered Nurse. A committee then selected them.

James was nominated for being an exemplary role model on 4 Pavilion, a medical/surgical inpatient unit.  The Assistant Nurse Manager described James saying:

“Joyce has oriented many new grad nurses she takes them under her wing and helps them grow into amazing nurses. She not only has trained many new nurses along the way but she has also created new grad nursing orientation handbook.”

Additionally noted in the nomination, James has been “an exceptional nurse for our patients on 4 Pavilion. She treats every patient with care and compassion. She takes care of each patient as though they were her own family member. She provides excellent care to each and every patient.”

For receiving the DAISY Award – which is an international award backed by The DAISY Foundation – James was presented a certificate commending her as an extraordinary nurse, a DAISY Award pin, and a symbolic sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” which is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. A larger version of this sculpture has also been installed in the Healing Gardens at Samaritan Medical Center in honor of all DAISY and BEE Award winners to come. It was purchased using funds donated by the Samaritan Auxiliary.

Tim Cole. Clinical Discharge Planner.

Cole was nominated for the BEE Award by Ciera Talbot, Registered Nurse for always supporting staff and patients.

“Tim always goes above and beyond for bedside staff and our patients… I’ve also messaged Tim for assistance, not realizing he was off for the day or that he was not assigned to my unit. Instead of responding with “I’m off or not assigned”, his response is “How can I help?” Tim is truly selfless and an asset to this facility.”

Cole was presented with a certificate, a BEE Award pin, and a gift bag with other tokens of gratitude.

Both awards will continue to be presented throughout the year, and nominations can be submitted by patients, families, or colleagues at any time. To make a nomination or to learn more about the Samaritan DAISY and BEE Awards, visit

About Samaritan Medical Center

Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown, New York) is a 290-bed not-for-profit community medical center, offering a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services. From primary and emergency care to highly specialized medical and surgical services, such as cancer treatment, neonatal intensive care, behavioral health and addiction services, and imaging services, Samaritan Medical Center and its team of healthcare professionals proudly serves the medical needs of our civilian and military community. Quality, compassion, and safety are the basic principles by which exceptional care is delivered at Samaritan.

About The DAISY Foundation The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.  In addition to the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, the Foundation expresses gratitude to the nursing profession internationally in over 3,900 healthcare facilities and schools of nursing with recognition of direct care Nurses, Nurse-led Teams, Nurse Leaders, Nursing Faculty, Nursing Students, through the J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects and for nurses participating in medical missions. More information is available at

Samaritan Medical Center Announces Change in Visitation

Watertown, NY – After careful consideration, and because the COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain stable, Samaritan Medical Center announces a two-person, per patient, per day visitation policy for the following inpatient populations:

Medical, Surgical, Intensive Care Unit, and Progressive Care Unit

Both visitors may be with the patient at the same time. This policy change replaces the February 28, 2022 policy modifications in which visitation was set to one visitor, per patient, per day.

Patients, Support Persons, and Visitors are encouraged to review our visitor policy online at:

For safety purposes, all visitors must be in good health and screened. Driver’s license and photo ID are required at the time of visit. Most visitation is 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. and is restricted to those 12 years of age or older. A parent or guardian must accompany visitors under the age of 18. Masks are required, as well as proper hand-washing throughout the visit. Visitors who have recently been in quarantine or in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home.