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 www.samaritanhealth.com/mammogram 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

Samaritan Welcomes New Vice President of Long Term Care

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Health is pleased to announce that Patrick W. Calli has been selected as its next Vice President of Long Term Care. This position is responsible for oversight of all the Long Term Care Services including Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village. Mr. Calli is responsible for the executive management team at each organization as well as the strategic direction, clinical and financial performance and organizational development. He brings nearly a decade of experience to the role, including several years spent in nursing home administration.

Calli comes to Samaritan from the Upstate Services Group organization, where he was Administrator of Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, in Syracuse, for the past year. Here, he was responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of the 513-bed rehabilitation and nursing center, overseeing upwards of 600 employees. Before serving this facility, Calli was Administrator of Bridgewater Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Binghamton which included a specialized pulmonary rehabilitation and ventilator unit as well as an outpatient dialysis center. Calli also spent nearly 6 years as Administrator of the 5 STAR rated Central Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Syracuse where the facility earned designation in both U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek as “Best Nursing Homes” of 2019-2020. Calli and his team were also awarded the Bronze National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association (ACHA). He also has prior experience at long term care facilities in Little Falls and the Utica, NY area.

Patrick Calli
Patrick Calli, VP of Long Term Care

“We are pleased to welcome Patrick to Samaritan’s administration and senior leadership team,” said Tom Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center. “His impressive resume with significant experience in long-term care will benefit the residents and staff at Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village. We look forward to his guidance and insight as we continue to foster long-term care communities that value independence, comfort, companionship and safe, quality care.”

“Aligning myself with an organization such as Samaritan Health which is patient-centric and community-focused is an opportunity that I truly welcome,” states Patrick Calli, Vice President of Long Term Care. “I am looking forward to continuing Samaritan’s tradition of providing quality and compassionate care in an environment where the residents are at the forefront. Collaborating with our incredible team of dedicated caregivers, staff, leaders, and residents shall afford us the ability to fulfill the organization’s mission and commitment to enhance the quality of life of the people that we serve, as well as the greater North Country community. I am eager to work with the residents and their families to meet their needs and create the home-like environment they deserve.”

Calli holds a Master of Science in Health Administration from Regis College, Weston, MA, and a Bachelor of Science from Union College. He is a New York State Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, a board member of the Healthcare Management Association of Central New York, and a member of American College of Healthcare Executives, American Health Care Association and other associations. Mr. Calli is originally from New Hartford located just outside the Utica, NY area. Calli began his employment at Samaritan on Monday, January 31, 2022.

Calli replaces Barbara Morrow, who retired as Vice President of Long Term Care and Chief Compliance Officer in January, after 20 years of service to Samaritan.

Samaritan Celebrates January 2022 DAISY® and BEE Award Recipients

Watertown, NY – Samaritan Medical Center is pleased to announce its DAISY and BEE Award recipients for January 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.

Katie O’Brien, a Registered Nurse in Samaritan’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU), received the DAISY Award. Joshua Dalton, LCSW-R, CASAC-II, at Samaritan’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Services received the BEE Award. O’Brien was nominated by a patient’s family member and Dalton by a Samaritan colleague. A committee then selected them.

Katie O’Brien, RN

O’Brien was nominated for her compassionate care of a patient on the “last day of his life.” The family of the patient described the event in her nomination form for O’Brien:

“Katie was such a gift to my father and ultimately to our family. His end-of-life care was handled with such professionalism and perfection. She was tuned into his needs and so responsive in every way. Katie’s years of experience were evident, and I have never been so grateful for the skills of the nursing profession in my life.”

For receiving the DAISY Award – which is an international award backed by The DAISY Foundation – O’Brien 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.

Dalton was nominated for the BEE Award by Tina O’Neill, Director of Mental Health

Joshua Dalton, LCSW-R, CASAC-II

Services, for his willingness to go “above and beyond daily.”

“Josh’s attitude and character shine bright in the workplace, especially when days are filled with stress,” reads his nomination form. “He will always help out when needed, especially when our walk-ins are full; if he is available, he is happy to see patients. Josh has worked for Samaritan since 2016 and, since coming here, has shown his dedication and commitment to the heart values.”

Dalton 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.

Samaritan Holiday Closures and Hours

With the holidays upon us, we want to make our community aware of special hours of operation and closures for many of our clinics and services. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Hours & Closures
The Samaritan clinics and the Resource Line will be closed on December 24th and December 31st.

The Drive-Up Testing Site will be closed on Christmas Day (12/25) and New Year’s Day (1/1/22)

Main Hospital Registration:
December 24th open 8:00am – 4:30pm (no scheduled services)
December 25th – closed
December 31st open 8:00am – 4:30pm (no scheduled services)
January 1st open 8:00am – 4:30pm

Walk-In Lab/X-Ray at Samaritan Health and Wellness Plaza (Watertown):
December 24th & 25th – closed
December 31st & January 1st – closed

Lab/X-Ray at the Adams Family Health Center:
December 24 – closed
December 27 – closed
December 29 – closed
December 31 – closed

‘Merry and Bright’ Year for the 19th Annual North Country Festival of Trees Event

The 19th annual North Country Festival of Trees was held from November 26th – December 4th 2021, benefitting the Samaritan Medical Center Foundation and Watertown Family YMCA.

This year’s theme was “Merry and Bright” and it was held at the Former Bon-Ton at the Salmon Run Mall.  There were 74 beautifully decorated trees and an incredible Live Show Case event held on Channel 7. The tree auction raised over $48,000 for the two organizations. Upwards of 1,000 people attended the public viewing. We were not able to host our Sugar Plum Ball or Gala this year but we are hopeful to have it back again next year.  Below is a list of award-winning trees. Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Festival!

Winners:

Best Use of Festival Theme

  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Sponsored by A.T. Matthews & Dier, Decorated by Nancy Storino, Lisa Ruggiero & Beth Arthur
  • “Merry and Bright” – Sponsored by Complete Family Care & Laser Center, Decorated by Donna Trumbo

Most Traditional

  • “Peace, Love, Joy and Be Merry” – Sponsored by SBS Rentals.  Decorated by Watertown Lions Club
  • “Cozy Country Christmas” – Sponsored by The Kellie and Joseph Sanzone Family Living Trust.  Decorated by Alisha Lafex, Mariah McNeely & Kimberly Rizzo

Most Elegant

  • “Girls Night Out” – Sponsored by The Heather Freeman Foundation.  Decorated by Karla Stefanini & Karen Nevills
  • “Sisterly Love” – Sponsored by The Paddock Club.  Decorated by Kathy Dyer, Chris Rickett & Michelle Leo

Most Innovative

  • “Furry and Bright” – Sponsored by The Animal Doctors.  Decorated by Julia & Lola Stoddart, Lynn & Danel Godek
  • “Adventure Awaits in NYS” – Sponsored by Carthage Savings & Loan Association.  Decorated by Carthage Savings & Loan Association

Judge’s Choice

  • “Holidaisy” – Sponsored by BCA Architects & Engineers.  Decorated by Karla Stefanini & Karen Nevills
  • “Merry and Bright” – Sponsored by Knowles Family.  Decorated by Lisa O’Driscoll & Liz Culbertson

Jim Henry Most Whimsical

  • “Operation Yellow Ribbon” – Sponsored by Colello Air Technologies.  Decorated by Tillie Youngs, Judy Gentner, Ashley Shepherd, Nancy Datoush, Alisson Gorham & Marry Corriveau
  • “Love the Lake” – Sponsored by Cheney Tire.  Decorated by Brenda Sipher

People’s Choice

  • “Holidaisy” – Sponsored by BCA Architects & Engineers.  Decorated by Karla Stefanini & Karen Nevills
  • “Donate Life in Loving Memory of Tyler R. Christman” – Donated by Christman Fuel Service.  Decorated by Faith Parks & Lillian Buck

    Honorable Mentions
  • “For the Love of Being Outdoors” – Sponsored by Slack Chemical Company.  Decorated by Shari Simmons
  • “Waltz of Angels” – Sponsored by Knowlton Technologies.  Decorated by Stacey Bristow
  • “No Peeking” – Sponsored by Northern Radiology.  Decorated by Jean Goodfriend, Kimberly Roberts & Cherie Schneckenburger
  • “Candy Can Christmas” – Sponsored by King & King Architects.  Decorated by Jeff Pawlowski, Rich Baldwin & Michelle Fuller
  • “ReJOYce! For he is Born” – Sponsored by North Country Family Health Center.  Decorated by Kevin Kitto.

Did you know that next year’s Festival of Trees theme will be “It’s a Wonderful Life”?  We can’t wait to see what our decorators will come up with next!

NYS Approved FREE Coronavirus Testing at Samaritan’s Drive-Up Location


WATERTOWN, NY – The New York State Department of Health has partnered with Jefferson County to open a free COVID-19 testing location, as the positivity rate remains high across the region. Samaritan will use its Drive-Up Testing Site, located at 1575 Washington Street in Watertown, to offer 100 free appointments per day. All appointments must be made online at: www.samaritanhealth.com/covid-test.

Appointments will begin on Monday, December 6, 2021, and will initially be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The testing site will be closed Tuesdays and Sundays. This schedule is subject to change.

Free PCR COVID-19 testing will be prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis and any community member with an interest to be tested can be scheduled as long as supplies are available. Requests for testing must be done online at www.samaritanhealth.com/covid-test.

Test results are available within three to seven days, as this is not rapid testing. However, PCR testing is the most accurate test available, and it is highly recommended that any person with COVID-19 symptoms have a PCR test done. Community members who provide a cell phone number and email will be notified of their negative results via text message and email message.  All positive results will be provided by public health.

The state partnership allows Samaritan access to a third-party laboratory service, BioReference, which will process the COVID-19 test specimens at no cost to patients or Samaritan. The state will provide additional testing supplies and test kits to Samaritan, and Samaritan will provide the staff needed to collect the specimens. The Drive-Up Testing Site has been in operation continuously to provide tests to surgical patients and patients with symptoms.

“Samaritan is pleased that the NYS Department of Health listened to our concerns about a lack of free and accessible testing in our region,” said M. Andrew Short, vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Samaritan. “This is a major benefit for our community and Samaritan is proud to be part of the solution and supplying this testing service to the community.”

Once patients arrive at the Drive-Up Testing site, signs will instruct them where to go, to keep car windows closed as they enter the garage bay, and to hold identification up to the window so intake staff can validate name and date of birth during appointment check-in. This is a fully drive-up process, meaning patients will never leave their vehicle. This site is not for walk-in traffic.

Samaritan’s Drive-Up Testing Site was a NYS free testing location once before, from July 2020 through July 2021.

Samaritan Medical Center to Pause Visitation and Support Persons Due to Recent Increase of COVID-19 Positive Cases in Local Region

WATERTOWN, NY – Samaritan Medical Center is compelled to pause inpatient visitation and support persons in outpatient settings (lab, imaging/radiology tests and more), all Clinics, the Emergency Department and Surgical Services because of the recent increase in positive cases and hospitalizations in the local region.  This takes effect Monday, August 23, 2021.  This is out of an abundance of caution to minimize additional people in our facilities to help keep patients and staff safe.

This is also in response to Jefferson County Public Health’s recent report that the COVID-19 virus is present at higher levels in the City of Watertown’s wastewater, which in an indication we can expect to see more positive cases in our region.   We will continually reevaluate the positive cases locally to determine when we can safely implement inpatient visitation and support person presence.

This pause in visitation does not impact our end-of-life patients, patients under the age of 18, nursery/neonatal intensive care unit patients or patients that require a support person due to an intellectual and/or developmental disability (I/DD) or a cognitive impairment, including dementia. These visitors need to continue to use the Rotunda entrance at the hospital.  This does not impact our obstetrics/maternity patients.  These patients need to continue to use the Car-Freshner Center for Women and Children entrance. 

To see all visitation policies and protocols, please visit our website. Please note, these protocols are likely to change as the pandemic shifts.  

Samaritan will continue to encourage our community to get the COVID-19 vaccine, maintain social distancing, practice proper face mask use and frequent hand washing.  Samaritan can report that 91% of our current COVID-19 inpatients have been unvaccinated. 

Samaritan to Expand Visitation for Inpatients

Watertown, NY – Samaritan will expand limited hospital inpatient visitation starting Monday, May 3, 2021.

Samaritan is pleased to expand visitors who are important to the care and recovery of our patients as our region’s COVID-19 infection rates continue to stabilize. However, some restrictions will apply to limit the number of people in our facilities on any given day, especially with limited waiting area spaces and the ability to social distance safely.

Please click here to see complete visitation guidelines.

Major patient groups impacted by these new changes:

Hospital Inpatients:

  • Two (2) designated visitors per day are permitted. Exceptions may be made for end-of-life visitation, with coordination arranged through the nursing supervisor.
  • NO visitation will be permitted for COVID-19 inpatients, COVID-19 Patients Under Investigation (PUI) or patients in quarantine (with compassionate exceptions for end-of-life).
  • Visiting hours are from 2:00pm to 6:00pm and all entry and exit will be through the Rotunda entrance, located between the Medical Center and the Samaritan Keep Home.
  • If you cannot visit, you can contact your loved one over the phone or through a scheduled video call. The patient’s care team can help schedule and make arrangements for the video call.
  • This guidance does not apply to Inpatient Mental Health Unit patients.

Campus Map

General Visitation Guidelines

If any of these requirements are not met the visitor or support person will be asked to leave or not be allowed to stay.

  • Visitors should refrain from coming to our facilities if they are ill.
  • All visitors and support persons must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Visitors and support persons will be provided with a face mask upon entry to the facility and must wear the mask properly at all times while inside the facility.
    • If a person refuses to properly wear a face mask, they will be asked to leave the facility immediately.
  • Visitors and support persons should self-screen for illness before arriving at Samaritan and before accessing patient care areas.
  • If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days, please do not visit our facilities.
  • Visitors and support persons must not be on quarantine or isolation for COVID 19 infection or exposure.
  • All visitors and support persons are required to comply with our screening checkpoint procedures; asked screening questions and have their temperature taken upon arrival. If you are unable to comply, you will not be permitted in our facilities.
  • Visitors and support persons must stay in the patient’s room, or designated waiting area identified by staff, unless otherwise directed by staff.
  • Visitors and support persons cannot accompany patients to tests outside of their room.
  • All visitors and support persons must practice social distancing, stay at least six (6) feet away from others, while in the facility.
  • Visitors and support persons should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.