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.

Samaritan Medical Center Announces Change in Emergency Support Persons

Watertown, NY – After careful consideration, and because the COVID-19 hospitalization rates remain stable, Samaritan Medical Center announces an update to the visitation policy for Emergency Department Support Persons.

As of Monday, January 9, 2023, Emergency Department patients may designate two support persons for their emergency care visit, with only one person being present at any given time. 

Please read the full policy and how the change will be managed in our visitor policy online at:

For safety purposes, all support persons and visitors must be in good health and screened. Driver’s license and photo ID are 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 handwashing 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.


Walker Center for Cancer Care Announces Opening of Second Linear Accelerator

Watertown, NY – The Walker Center for Cancer Care announces the opening of a second linear accelerator (LINAC) to its Radiation Oncology services.  The additional LINAC system will allow for greater access to this personalized, precise radiation therapy in a timely manner for patients of the Cancer Center. 

“The opening of a second linear accelerator (LINAC) will increase patient access to radiation oncology treatments in our region” said Dr. Justin Budnik, Radiation Oncologist at the Walker Center.  The number of patient radiation treatments has increased from 5,702 in 2020 to 7,102 in 2022.  It is anticipated that in 2023, the increase in patient treatments will continue.  “The need for a second LINAC has been driven by unprecedented growth in the practice here at the Walker Center for Cancer Care, and will ensure that all patients who are in need of radiotherapy will have timely access to treatment, whatever their diagnosis is.”

For patients, this increase in specialized services means less time waiting from their first visit to the start of treatment, which is critical in cancer care.  The second LINAC will ensure that radiation therapy for patients with high acuity lesions (such as those causing pain, or pressing on critical body structures, or blocking airways or blood flow, etc.) can start treatment within a matter of a few days, rather than a few weeks.

“Our hope is that with two LINACS in service we will be able to better meet the needs of our community, and that treatment outcomes and patient satisfaction with the care furnished at our center will improve as a result” states Dr. Budnik.


Samaritan Celebrates October 2022 DAISY® and BEE Award Recipients 

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

Rachael Kaban, a Registered Nurse on 4 Pavilion, received the DAISY Award. Jon LaFontaine, Clinical Discharge Planner in the Emergency Department Behavioral Health Unit at Samaritan Medical Center, received the BEE Award. 

Sherin Washburn, Graduate Nurse, Samaritan Medical Center, nominated Kaban saying:

“I was having a busy shift from the moment I got report. I felt overwhelmed. Rachael was very calm, helpful and instructive.  She let me ask all the questions I had and did not make me feel bad for not knowing. She helped me tremendously the entire shift even though she was not always caught up. I am so grateful she was here because I don’t know what I would have done without her help. Having an experienced nurse available to use as a resource who doesn’t make you feel dumb and is willing to help and doesn’t seem irritated or disinterested is amazing and makes all the difference.”  

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

Jacqueline Dawe, RN, Chief Nursing Office/Vice President of Patient Care Services, Samaritan Medical Center, nominated LaFontaine.  

“John emulates what it means to be EXCEPTIONAL.  This year has been very challenging in healthcare as all of you are aware, especially for our patients with mental health issues. We have seen an unprecedented number of patients needing our help.  Jon is a calm individual that helps the staff in an uncertain environment also stay a little calmer when he is working. Even when the situation is getting really heated and patients are in crisis, Jon remains calm. He speaks calmly to patient’s time and time again that are probably living one of the worst moments of their life, and he treats them with empathy and a caring attitude.  Jon is mostly seen with a smile on his face, and you can tell even with wearing the mask that he’s smiling from ear to ear.  He speaks with a tone that is positive and professional. I have seen the trust in John that has developed from many levels of the healthcare team with regards to his assessments and recommendations for patients.” 

LaFontaine 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

Community Information: Closings Due to Weather and Holiday Hours

December 30, 2022: Please be advised that Samaritan clinics and medical practices will be closed on January 2nd in observance of the Holiday. This includes all Family Health Centers – Adams, Cape Vincent, Clayton, Evans Mills, and Watertown-Plaza, and Services such as Dermatology, Pain, Gastroenterology, Urology, WoundCare, Orthopedics, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care, Behavioral Health, Rheumatology, and some Lab and X-Rays locations. 

Lab and x-ray services will be OPEN at Samaritan Medical Center, Registration entrance from 8 am to 4 pm.

COVID testing site will be OPEN on January 2nd. For more information about it, please click HERE.

Samaritan Medical Center is open 24/7. 

For emergency health situations, please call 911. 

We want to remind you not to drink and drive; don’t socialize if you are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.  

December 26, 2022: Samaritan Clinics and Medical Practices will be closed in observance of Christmas. This includes all Family Health Centers – Adams, Cape Vincent, Clayton, Evans Mills, and Watertown-Plaza; and services such as Dermatology & Mohs, Pain Management, Gastroenterology, Urology, WoundCare, Orthopedics, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care, Behavioral Health, Lab and X-Rays, and Rheumatology.

Samaritan COVID Testing site is CLOSED today, December 26. Click here for more information: COVID Testing

Samaritan Medical Center is open 24/7.
For emergency health situations, please call 911.

December 24, 2022: Please be advised: Samaritan Medical Center’s Main Registration is closed today for all walk-in services.  We will open again for walk-in labs on Monday, December 26, at 8 a.m.

Patients who need a lab done stat, per their physician, should call 315-785-4131 when they arrive on campus, and a registrar will help them.

Please be advised of our Holiday Hours:

Samaritan Clinics and Medical Practices will be closed in observance of the Holiday Weekend. This includes all Family Health Centers – Adams, Cape Vincent, Clayton, Evans Mills, and Watertown-Plaza; and services such as Dermatology, Pain Management, Gastroenterology, Urology, WoundCare, Orthopedics, Women’s Wellness and Breast Care, Behavioral Health, Lab and X-Rays, and Rheumatology.

Samaritan COVID Testing site will be open on Monday December 26, and January 2nd. Click here for more information: COVID Testing

Samaritan Medical Center is open 24/7.
For emergency health situations, please call 911.

With the Holidays approaching, we want to remind you not to drink and drive; don’t socialize if you are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; be mindful of portions, and enjoy the Holidays!

December 23, 2022: Due to weather conditions, the following are Samaritan Health updated hours for today, Friday, December 23, 2022.

Samaritan Lab and X-Ray Services at Coffeen Street in Watertown, NY


  • Adams Family Health Center
  • Clayton Family Health Center
  • LeRay Family Health Center
  • Watertown – Family Health Center
  • Women’s Wellness & Breast Care
  • Pain Clinic
  • General Surgery
  • Samaritan Orthopedics
  • Samaritan Rheumatology
  • Samaritan Plastic Surgery
  • Samaritan Pulmonology
  • Samaritan Dermatology & Mohs
  • Samaritan Gastroenterology
  • Samaritan ENT
  • Wound Care Services
  • Samaritan Urology


  • Walker Center for Cancer Care

Samaritan Outpatient Behavioral Health and Addiction Services will only offer telehealth appointments after noon.

Samaritan Welcomed 17 New Physicians in 2022

Watertown, N.Y. – The COVID-19 pandemic may have changed many facets of healthcare, but it did not deter the tenacity of the incredible Medical Staff and recruitment team at Samaritan to bring highly-trained physicians to this community. Samaritan was once again, after a three-year hiatus, able to celebrate and welcome its new physicians at the annual New Physician Reception, which was held on November 9th. We are proud to introduce these fine physicians.

For most of our new physicians, this is their first experience in the North Country. This may also be their first experience in rural healthcare. One brings their talent to our area through our close relationship with Fort Drum.

Please join us in welcoming the following physicians to our community, and our medical facilities. Click on any physician to learn more.

Community Information: Closings Due to Weather

Watertown, NY – Please be advised that the following Samaritan clinics and offices will be closing at 2:00 pm on 11/18:

  • All Primary Care offices – Adams, Clayton, LeRay, and Watertown Plaza locations
  • Lab and Imaging centers – Watertown Plaza and Coffeen St. locations
  • Dermatology & Mohs Surgery
  • Ear, Nose, and Throat
  • Gastroenterology
  • General and Vascular Surgery
  • Orthopedics
  • Pain Management
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Pulmonology
  • Rheumatology
  • Urology
  • Women’s Wellness and Breast Care
  • Wound Care

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 Medical Center Announces Practical Nurse Community Sponsorship Program

 Watertown, NY – After months of collaborative planning, Samaritan is excited to announce a new partnership with Jefferson-Lewis BOCES to offer financial sponsorships for nurses who wish to further their careers. 

The 10-month practical nursing program is offered at the Bohlen Technical Center in Watertown. Upon completing the program, graduates are eligible to register for the New York State Licensing Examination for Practical Nurse. 

The Practical Nurse (PN) Community Sponsorship Program is open to all community members. With up to $10,000 of additional support from Samaritan, many applicants may be able to pay for the PN program with little to no student loans. The Sponsorship can help with other expenses beyond tuition.

Samaritan will require a 2- or 3-year work commitment for those who apply for and receive funds through this sponsorship program. Samaritan LPN’s have so many options for employment—in our Clinics, Home Health, Surgical Services, Long Term Care, and more. There is room to grow with opportunities to be mentored and develop your nursing career.

Full details and the online application are available at