Weather-related updates – January 17, 2024

At this time most Samaritan clinics, offices, and services are open and seeing patients as planned during this weather event.

All outpatient labs, testing services, and imaging scans through the hospital’s Registration area will close at 4:30 p.m. to patients. 

Plastic Surgery is closing at 12:00 p.m. today

The following clinics are closing at 2:00 p.m. today:
Dermatology – Adams
General Surgery
Lab & Imaging on Coffeen Street in Watertown
Pain Management
Women’s Wellness & Breast Care
Watertown Health & Wellness Plaza Family Health Center (Primary Care, Lab & Imaging, SMART, etc.)
Wound Care

Samaritan Rheumatology is closed today (01/17/24) and patients will be called and rescheduled.

The following clinics will remain open until normal business hours:
Ear, Nose & Throat
LeRay Family Practice
Cape Vincent Family Health Center
Clayton Family Health Center
Adams Family Health Center

If patients have any questions or are unable to come to an appointment today due to weather, please call the office directly.

Samaritan Offices and Services Delayed Due to Power and Weather-related Issues – January 10-11, 2024

Update – Thursday, January 11, 2024, 6:52 a.m. –

Samaritan locations have had power restored and will see patients as scheduled:
Samaritan Medical Center (hospital – this includes the surgical services and all outpatient appointments), Walker Center for Cancer Care, Watertown Health and Wellness Plaza.  
Samaritan anticipates all services at all locations will be open today and if issues arise, Samaritan staff will contact scheduled patients. As always, the Emergency Department is open 24/7. Please visit our website for updates. Thank you for your patience as our community navigates this situation. 

Update – Thursday, January 11, 2024 5:32 a.m. –
Power has been restored at the Medical Center and the Walker Center for Cancer Care. All patient appointments and surgical and outpatient procedures will be as planned for the day.

Update 2:29 pm – The Health and Wellness Plaza lab and imaging services will be closing at 4:00 p.m. on January 10, 2024.

Many Samaritan locations are running on generator power at this time due to the weather and power loss. In order to assess the situation and prepare accordingly, we are delaying patient outpatient appointments at many offices and clinics until 9:00 a.m. today.  If you were scheduled for an appointment before 9:00 a.m. you will be contacted to reschedule.

This includes lab and imaging/radiology appointments.  Walk-in lab draws will be available at the main hospital. Patients may call the radiology scheduling team at 315-779-5200 with any questions.

All surgical and outpatient procedures at the hospital are also delayed until 9:00 a.m.  Patients have been attempted to be reached, but we encourage them to call Samaritan Surgical Services at 315-454-2311.

Updated notice for the Walker Center for Cancer Care, as of 10:59 a.m. on January 10, 2024: Walker Center for Cancer Care patients: We are experiencing further delays as the power has not been restored yet.  Please do not come in for your scheduled appointment until you are called by a team member.  Our phone systems are not fully operational, so please wait for a call from us.

(Original notice: The Walker Center for Cancer Care appointments and treatments are delayed until 10:00 a.m.  Patients will be contacted if they need to be.)

The Brain Injury Support Group meeting scheduled for January 10, 2024 is canceled.

There is a chance some offices may need to close for the day. Please check our website for further details.

If patients have any questions or concerns, please call the offices directly. We appreciate your patience during this weather-related event.

This does impact the following outpatient offices and clinics:
Cardiology, Dermatology, Ear, Nose and Throat, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology, Pain Management, Plastic Surgery, all Primary Care offices (Adams, Clayton, Cape Vincent, LeRay, Watertown), Pulmonology, Rheumatology, SMART Clinic, Urology, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care, and the Wound Care Center. This includes the Health and Wellness Plaza in Watertown, Coffeen Street Lab/Imaging and all imaging and lab services at these locations.

Samaritan Locations Impacted by City of Watertown Water Main Break

Monday, October 23, 2023 Update:
The City of Watertown boil water notice has been officially lifted this afternoon. Samaritan locations are following strict protocol from the New York State Department of Health to ensure we are flushing our water systems and resuming operations safely.

Samaritan sites and locations will resume normal operations on Tuesday, October 24, 2023.

Scheduled surgeries for Tuesday, October 24, will continue with a few exceptions. Those patients whose surgery has been cancelled for Tuesday have already been contacted.

All outpatient endoscopy procedures for Tuesday, October 24, have been cancelled. All surgical patients and outpatient endoscopy procedures will resume to normal operations on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.

Thank you for your patience during this crisis.

Sunday, October 22, 2023 Update:

Significant progress has been made to restore water services in the City of Watertown and surrounding communities. We want to thank all our local and state agencies for the amazing work and support they have provided our community. However, since the water boil notice is still active, Samaritan Health continues to have limitations in certain areas, and we continue to adjust operations during this crisis. We are actively doing what we can with limited resources and utilizing partners across the state to help us.

On Monday, October 23, 2023, all Samaritan clinics and outpatient locations will be open and operational. There may be a few patients whose appointments will need to be rescheduled due to some of our limitations. These impacted patients will be called directly.

All outpatient lab and imaging services (MRI/CT, ultrasound, mammography, etc.) will be up and running on Monday, October 23. All scheduled patients will be seen and all walk-in services will be open.

Any of our Walker Center for Cancer Care medical oncology patients that are scheduled to receive chemotherapy treatment on Monday, October 23, that may be impacted will be contacted directly with an update.

Scheduled surgeries for Monday, October 23, will continue with a few exceptions. Those patients whose surgery has been cancelled for Monday have already been contacted.

All outpatient endoscopy procedures for Monday, October 23, have been cancelled.

We are diligently working and planning to have all services fully operational once the boil notice has been lifted and we can ensure our internal systems are operational. Thank you for your patience during this very difficult situation.


***Samaritan Visitation Returns to Normal***

As of October 20, 2023, visitation at Samaritan Medical Center has returned to normal. Please see the visitation information on the main page of this website.


*** Samaritan Limits Visitation Due to Water Main Break***

Samaritan Medical Center has limited inpatient visitation and Emergency Department support persons because of the water main break as follows: 

Medical/Surgical Units, Critical Care Unit, Inpatient Mental Health – Visitation is closing at 3:30 p.m. on October 19, 2023 – will remain that way until further notice.

Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children – one support person allowed as of 3:30 p.m. on October 19, 2023 – until further notice.

Emergency Department (ED) – ED pediatric patients or those with an altered mental state or OB patients over 20 weeks are allowed one support person. No other support persons or visitors until further notice. 

End-of-life / Comfort Care – These patients may have one support person. Compassionate exceptions are approved by the Nursing Supervisor – until further notice.


All Samaritan locations in the City of Watertown are impacted by the major water main break that the City is trying to fix. We are seeing a significant water pressure drop. Samaritan locations within the city are conserving water in multiple ways from halting laundry services, to limiting patient and resident showering with bedside baths. We are also delivering bottled water to all areas and preparing for a delay in water delivery.

We continue to monitor our water pressure and supply and will make decisions about specific patient services as the situation progresses. We are following our water loss emergency operation plan as designed and have teams in place to help through this disruption in operations.

At this time for today, Thursday, October 19, 2023, the services that are cancelled are listed below, with some impact to tomorrow’s operations as well. All patients will be rescheduled at a later date and time.

All surgical and outpatient procedures for 10/20 will be rescheduled.

All outpatient MRI and CT appointments for 10/19 and 10/20 at the main hospital will be cancelled and rescheduled.

The Walker Center for Cancer Care will be cancelling and rescheduling all patient appointments for 10/19 and 10/20.

All services at the Samaritan Health and Wellness Plaza location (1575 Washington St.) are closed for 10/19 and 10/20 and will be rescheduled – this includes but not limited to the Family Health Center, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care, Behavioral Health and Addiction services, the SMART Clinic and Lab, X-ray, MRI and CT.

The Ear, Nose and Throat, General Surgery, Pain Clinic all located at 826 Washington St.; 
The Wound Care Center located at 165 Coleman Avenue; and the
The Rheumatology and Plastic Surgery clinics located at 629 Washington St. will be closed Friday, October 20, 2023.

Rededication of Memorial Garden at Thompson Park Honoring Perinatal Grief

Watertown, NY – After more than a year of gardening work and memories resurfacing, the Baby Memorial Garden at Thompson Park has been renewed. It is now properly marked with a plaque identifying its purpose, which started over 30 years ago.

Community member Allison Gorham noticed the garden headstone in 2021 while tending to other gardens in Thompson Park. Through social media, Allison learned about its history and purpose.  She rejuvenated the garden and worked with retired and current Registered Nurses to create a plaque to mark the special memorial garden and honor perinatal grief.

Samaritan Medical Center will be hosting an informal rededication of the memorial garden on Tuesday, October 24 at 1 p.m., which is open to the public.  A special invitation is extended to those families who may be part of its origin, and the Samaritan Caregivers who have helped families through this journey.  This rededication will take place at the memorial garden, which is located near the pavilion overlook at Thompson Park.

October is a fitting time for the rededication, as it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.


Resolve Through Sharing:
This is a special grief program to help healthcare facilities support families who experience loss.  Samaritan uses these resources and had a formal program in the early 1990s within its maternity department.  At the time, Samaritan also hosted a parent support group, called “Empty Arms,” to help these families.  Caregivers at the Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children continue to use Resolve Through Sharing resources and provide support to grieving families.  You can learn more about Resolve Through Sharing here:

Origins of the Memorial Garden:
Samaritan maternity nurses in the 1990s wanted to make sure families had a way to honor children lost during pregnancy or soon after birth. They started a yearly event in Thompson Park called “A Walk to Remember” and built the memorial garden. Participants took part in a short memorial walk, an ecumenical service, and planted tulip bulbs in remembrance of children who had died.

The new plaque, which honors the memorial garden and its origin, reads:

“This memorial garden was created in 1992 by a team of caregivers from the Center for Women and Children at Samaritan Medical Center.  During this time, the Resolve Through Sharing counselor and coordinator training program created a parent support group, Empty Arms, for families who lost babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

A memorial Walk to Remember event was held every fall and each family was given a flower bulb to plant in this special garden in memory of their child. After several years of careful tending, it unfortunately lay dormant. It was rediscovered and redesigned in 2021. It includes all the original bulbs that survived, in addition to several more, along with other perennials.

This garden is dedicated to all those who experience this loss. It is a place of solace and remembrance.”

Samaritan Keep Home Mask-Optional for Most Residents, Visitors, and Staff

Watertown, NY – On June 16, 2023, Samaritan Keep Home became a mask-optional facility for all staff, residents, and visitors under certain criteria. Samaritan Keep Home can now safely offer a mask-optional environment in the facility because they have no current COVID-positive cases at this time. However, if there is a community or facility uptick in COVID-19, Influenza, or other respiratory illnesses, we could return to wearing facemasks.
Because of the high-risk involved with our residents, there are some exceptions to this change. Masks will be required if the following occur:

  • Local/county COVID-19 hospital admission levels are medium or high.
  • Staff who have respiratory symptoms or exposure will be required to mask until they are cleared by our employee health caregivers.
  • If there is a respiratory outbreak in a particular unit, all residents, staff, and visitors will be required to wear a mask in that area.
  • Staff who do not have the Influenza vaccine will be required to wear a mask during flu season.
  • Staff who are caring for residents with respiratory symptoms will be required to wear the appropriate mask during care of those residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all staff members and visitors maintain vaccines and boosters and follow proper infection control practices.

It is important to note that COVID symptoms may include but are not limited to fever/chills, shortness of breath, sore throat, cough/congestion/runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Visitors who are not feeling well or have been in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home and refrain from facility visitation. Hand hygiene is significant and will help stop the spread of germs. Please continue to wash hands and sanitize in our facility. Masks are available upon request and at the main entry point. Check-in and –out is required for all visitors through our visitor management system. Help us keep our high-risk long term care population healthy and safe.

On June 5, 2023, Samaritan Summit Village, our other long-term care campus, became a mask-optional facility for all staff, residents, and visitors under certain criteria.

Preliminary Discussions with City of Watertown Planning Board

We are aware of the recent news that Samaritan provided a proposal to the City of Watertown Planning Board with the preliminary idea to construct a new building on our property. However, there is some confusion on this process.

Samaritan is consistently looking to meet our patients’ and the community’s healthcare needs, and oftentimes this can lead to new construction and renovation of existing space. Adequate space is often a challenge at healthcare facilities.

At this time, Samaritan is proactively bringing construction ideas and questions to the City of Watertown Planning Board as there are new City zoning changes that we need to navigate together. The goal is to understand the zoning changes and how it impacts any possible new construction for the Medical Center.

That being said, Samaritan is only in the investigative stage of potentially constructing a new building near the main hospital. These are preliminary discussions and there is no official Certificate of Need (CON) submitted to the NYS Department of Health (DOH) or Samaritan Medical Center Board approval at this time.

Samaritan is pulling our submission from the City of Watertown Planning Board because our intent was to have a conversation about future plans, not seek approval for a new building. We simply wanted feedback and we did receive very valuable feedback. However, there was some miscommunication on both ends. We did not anticipate seeking any approval from the City at this time.

Once there are more permanent plans, Samaritan and our construction teams will go back to the Planning Board and let the community know of our future plans.

Mandatory Face Masks Remain at all Samaritan Locations as directed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance

Samaritan Health still enforces mandatory mask use in all of its facilities.  The New York State Department of Health announced that the state is no longer requiring mandatory face mask use in the healthcare setting (i.e., facilities or entities regulated under Articles 28, 36, and 40 of the Public Health Law), but also directed all facilities to operate under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance. 

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic states that all personnel, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, in a healthcare setting should wear an appropriate face mask based on Community Transmission Levels, not on COVID-19 Community Levels. Today, Jefferson County Transmission Levels are listed on the CDC website as HIGH. 

According to the CDC, when SARS-CoV-2 Community Transmission Levels are HIGH, source control (or face masks) is recommended for everyone in a healthcare setting when they are in areas of the healthcare facility where they could encounter patients. The above CDC recommendations apply to all patients, visitors, and vendors two years of age and older and can medically tolerate a face covering/mask. 

Samaritan will continue to monitor the situation and determine its mandatory face mask use based on guidance while keeping patients, residents, visitors and staff as safe as possible while navigating the ever-changing guidance. 

Samaritan Benefits from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s Support to the Graduate Medical Education Program

Samaritan’s Graduate Medical Education program was enhanced after continued advocacy efforts by Congresswoman Stefanik.

“The importance of Medicare-funded residency slots to us here in Watertown and across the North Country cannot be understated. Congresswoman Stefanik’s successful efforts advocating to increase the number of Medicare-funded physician residency slots at Samaritan in spite of CMS’s previous administrative mistake are further evidence of her commitment to strengthen rural health care, and we thank her for her continued work on this issue,” said Thomas Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center.

Please read the full press release from Congresswoman Stefanik.

Imaging and Lab Center on Coffeen St. Temporary Closure

Samaritan’s Imaging and Lab Center, located on Coffeen St. adjacent to Watertown Urgent Care, will be closed Wednesday, August 24 as we continue to have a staffing shortage for this service.  Once we can safely re-open, we will notify the public.  We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your continued patience.  

Patients may visit the main hospital Registration area located at 830 Washington St. for imaging and lab needs during this time.

The location was closed on Monday, August 22, and Tuesday, August 23 as well.

Samaritan Announces Online Scheduling for Mammogram Screening Appointments

Watertown, NY – Samaritan recently launched an online scheduling tool for patients to self-schedule their mammography screenings at Samaritan’s Women’s Wellness and Breast Care office, located at 1575 Washington Street.

Patients can visit to use the online scheduling tool to book a screening appointment, which outlines available days and times of upcoming appointments. Once an appointment time is selected, questions will be asked to ensure patients have orders for a screening mammogram and have no other medical history or need for a different, more diagnostic exam.  The online scheduling tool makes it simple and convenient for patients to book an appointment through a secure website and removes the need to call the scheduling office.  Online appointments can be made as far as six months in advance. Many women receive their physician orders before the timeframe for a screening mammogram. Now it’s possible to book an appointment and receive reminders about upcoming screening tests in advance.

Samaritan has three mammography machines and two stereotactic breast biopsy machines that are state-of-the art. In 2021 alone, the clinic completed 7,000 mammograms, with six highly-trained mammography technologists. The Women’s Wellness and Breast Care location also offers the only dedicated Breast Surgeon in our region, Dr. Agnieszka Dombrowska, and a dedicated Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator.  In addition, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care offers local women a place to have their annual exams, breast care needs, and gynecological care in one beautiful and convenient location. 

“Giving patients easier and greater access to screening mammograms is critical to early breast cancer detection,” says Samaritan’s Director of Radiology, Marie Pascolini.  “We are pleased to bring this convenient scheduling tool to patients.  Anything we can do to make it more convenient, less stressful, and more routine to visit our facility for a screening mammogram is extremely beneficial for all local women,” she states.

patient getting a mammogram