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 cmninfo@shsny.com

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 samaritanhealth.com/scholarships, or email info@shsny.com.

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 www.samaritanhealth.com/daisy-bee.

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 http://www.DAISYfoundation.org

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: https://samaritanhealth.com/samaritan-medical-center-begins-visitor-restrictions/

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.

Samaritan Celebrates February 2022 DAISY® and BEE Award Recipients

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

Shawna Gilbert, a Licensed Practical Nurse at Samaritan’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Center, received the DAISY Award. Nana Antwi-Boakye, Programmer Analyst with Samaritan’s Information Services, received the BEE Award. Gilbert was nominated by Christina O’Neil, Director of Mental Health, and Antwi-Boakye by Joel Benware, Vice President of Information Services. A committee then selected them.

Shawna Gilbert, LPN

Gilbert was nominated for her constant drive to go out of her way to make patients feel special. The Outpatient Behavioral Health Center manager described Gilbert saying:
“Shawna makes patients feel like they are the only person in the room, and she makes their time at the clinic special, something they can look back positively on… Typically patients specifically ask for Shawna when they come in.”

In addition to her willingness to help at the clinic, Shawna has also gone above and beyond by offering moral support to a patient in need after hours, further reflecting her level of care, compassion, and concern for those she helps.

For receiving the DAISY Award – which is an international award backed by The DAISY Foundation – Gilbert 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 in honor of all DAISY and BEE Award winners to come. It was purchased using funds donated by the Samaritan Auxiliary.

Nana Antwi-Boakye

Antwi-Boakye was nominated for the BEE Award by Joel Benware, Vice President of Information Services, for multiple compliments received from colleagues.
“I receive compliments of Nana’s work on a weekly basis from several very talented team members that rely on Nana’s expertise on a daily basis. He is a consultant on so many issues that the majority of Samaritan’s staff would have no idea Nana was behind the scenes in solving their issue. Quite simply, Nana is a Silent Giant.”

Antwi-Boakye 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 DAISY and BEE Awards, visit www.samaritanhealth.com/daisy-bee.

Jan K. Turcotte, MD Set to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Medical Center will host its eighth Annual Physicians’ Recognition event on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, honoring Jan K. Turcotte, MD, with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Due to the COVID pandemic, this special occasion was postponed in 2020 and 2021. This year’s event will be held virtually via Zoom.  

Dr. Turcotte was born in Potsdam, New York, the daughter of Charles and Ruth Turcotte. Her father was the superintendent of St. Lawrence County BOCES, and her mother was a librarian at Potsdam Central School, which Jan attended and graduated as valedictorian from in 1966.

After high school, she attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, where she studied biology and participated in the college’s honors program all four years. At the time, this meant pursuing extra courses in English, Philosophy, and Theology in addition to her regular studies. Dr. Turcotte graduated Cum Laude from Le Moyne in 1970, earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology.

She continued her education at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society – an accolade given to those in the top 6% of the class. She received her Doctor of Medicine degree in 1974 and remained at the medical college for the next five years to complete an internship and residency. Dr. Turcotte was the only woman accepted into the college’s surgical program in 1974 and became the first woman to complete a general surgery residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1979.

She then completed a fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1980, Dr. Turcotte joined Dr. Louis Battista and Dr. Walter Minaert as an associate at their general and vascular surgery practice in Watertown, New York. A year later, she joined the Watertown Surgical Group of Drs. Gardner, Meyerdierks, Stone, and Gregor – beginning a 32-year career in general, vascular, and breast surgery in Watertown. She retired from practicing medicine in 2012.

Throughout her career, Dr. Turcotte was an active member of the medical staff at Samaritan. She served as Chairperson of the Credentials and Operating Room – Ambulatory Surgical Unit committees and Chairperson of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgery. She also was President of the Medical Staff in 1992. In these leadership positions, she was a voice and advocated for medical care at Samaritan and throughout the North Country.

Dr. Turcotte previously held roles with the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, YMCA, Hospice of Jefferson County, and the Northern New York Community Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of Samaritan Medical Center for several years and currently holds the position of Chairperson. Another noteworthy accomplishment is her recent election into the Healthcare Trustees of New York State. 

Those interested in attending the virtual presentation should RSVP online at samaritanhealth.com/physicianrecognition. For questions concerning the online event, please contact the Foundation and Marketing Office at 315-785-4584 or email donations@shsny.com


About the Event: The annual Physician Recognition event is supported by the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee and Foundation and is held around National Doctors’ Day (March 30) each year to honor Samaritan’s active and retired physicians for their dedication.

As part of this event, one physician is selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was established to recognize a Samaritan physician for his or her leadership and service to the health and wellness of Northern New York. Whether in their private practice, hospital duties, board or medical staff leadership positions, or volunteer work, Samaritan’s physicians dedicate their time and talents to make our community a better place to live.

Samaritan Auxiliary’s 20th Annual “ONE NIGHT, ONE DIAMOND” will recognize and honor all our Samaritan Caregivers and the purchase of equipment for Samaritan

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Auxiliary’s 20th Annual “One Night, One Diamond” will be celebrated virtually honoring all Samaritan Staff on Saturday, March 26th at 7pm. Proceeds from the 2022 One Night, One Diamond event will purchase an ultraviolet disinfection device used in advanced terminal sanitization of rooms.  It is effective against many microorganisms such as C. difficile, MRSA, VRE, and CRE to name a few, as well as the novel coronavirus.  The proceeds will also support the purchase of Sleep Diagnostic Systems for the Samaritan Sleep Lab.  National Sleep Awareness Week is March 13-19, and it is critical to note that untreated sleep disorders can have adverse effects on our health and contribute to hypertension, atrial fibrillation, stroke, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, cancer, impotence, diabetes, morning headaches, bruxism, esophageal reflux, obesity, and every death.  While snoring can be a warning sign for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the best way to determine whether OSA or another type of sleep disorder is affecting well-being is to be tested, diagnosed, and treated.

This past year presented a series of challenges amidst the COVID-19 Omicron surge as our Samaritan Caregivers, regardless of their role within the system, stepped up to those challenges and worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the community. Their efforts have been nothing short of caring, thoughtful, committed, compassionate, and courageous.  While we are thankful that our community is beginning to get back to some normalcy, as a community, we are most fortunate to have the Samaritan Caregivers here to take care of us in our time of personal need.

As a way to honor them, all Samaritan employees will be automatically entered for an opportunity to win the 1-carat lab grown brilliant diamond donated by Cook’s Jewelers; a two-night getaway package donated by Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake Inn, and $25 AAA Visa Card; a one-night getaway package donated by 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton; a one night stay for two in the Royal Suite at Singer Castle; and a $75 gift certificate and a gift bag with a stethoscope and other essentials donated by The Scrub Hub. The drawing will also include donated restaurant gift certificates. The event will feature video messages to Samaritan Caregivers from members of the community that wished to step forward and share their heartfelt words of gratitude.  We will also hear from Dr. David Rechlin about the Sleep Diagnostic Systems that the proceeds of this event is supporting for the Samaritan Sleep Lab.

Please visit the event website at www.samaritanhealth.com/onod for more information on how to participate in honoring all our Samaritan Caregivers and to assist in the purchase of the equipment earmarked for this event.  There is also an opportunity to recognize a Samaritan staff member(s) or department with your donation.  An RSVP would be appreciated by March 23 in order to allow time to email information on how to join the event. For more information or with questions, please contact event chairperson Irene Carman at onod2@shsny.com.

We are proud and humbled to present our sponsors, and we are so grateful to them for their gracious and very generous support. The elite Blue Diamond Sponsor for the 2022 “One Night, One Diamond” is Apogee Physicians. This year our Presenting Sponsors are the Bob Johnson Auto Group, KeyBank, Purcell Construction, SeaComm, and Dr. & Mrs. Brian Zafonte. Media Sponsors are the Watertown Daily Times, 7News, and Runningboards Marketing. Other top sponsors include the Diamond level of support with Coca-Cola Company, FX Caprara Honda, Hancock Estabrook, Ives Hill Country Club, King + King Architects, The Martin Group, Mr. & Mrs. Scott Mollison, Northern Radiology Associates, Renzi Foodservice Charitable Foundation, Slack Chemical Company, T. Urling Walker, and Watertown Wealth Management, Philip J. Sprague. The event receives additional support from numerous other generous sponsors at the Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire levels.


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 and its membership, composed entirely of volunteers, play a vital role today in improving the quality of care in the Samaritan system through volunteer activities and financial support. The One Night, One Diamond proceeds have purchased over $800,000 in equipment for Samaritan Medical Center.

Among last year’s Auxiliary highlights is the 2021 One Night, One Diamond. Although it was a virtual event, the gracious generosity of all sponsors and donors raised $83,675 for the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Samaritan.  In that event we heard from Dr. Maja Lundborg-Gray, ER Physician, Ami Mitteer, RN COVID Unit, and Dani Mclean, Activities Coordinator at the Assisted Living Center of the Samaritan Summit Village, who shared their professional and personal perspectives as the events of the COVID pandemic unfolded in 2020 and early 2021. The program also featured Dr. Nathanial Miletta featuring the 2020 One Night, One Diamond funded equipment necessary to provide Mohs surgery.

Aside from the community-sponsored One Night, One Diamond event, the Auxiliary manages the gift shops at Samaritan Medical Center and Samaritan Summit Village, as well as the Starbucks Coffee Shop at the Medical Center. It is the sales from the gift shops and Starbucks Coffee Shop, along with the five uniform sales and membership dues, which provide funding for the support of programs, services, two scholarships given to staff furthering their education in a healthcare field, and the Capital Campaign Pledge commitment.

Additionally, the Auxiliary has continued the WHALE (We Have A Little Emergency) child safety seat ID program (WHALE@shsny.com), and That’s Using Your Head, a helmet ID safety program (TUYH@shsny.com), in conjunction with our Kinney Drugs Foundation partner and 7News media partner.