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Ribbon Cutting Celebration – Healing Power of Progress and Expansion

Published on: August 26, 2019

Watertown, New York — Samaritan Medical Center celebrated its most recent facility upgrade with an official ribbon cutting and open house event on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Since 2006 Samaritan Medical Center has embarked on a multi-year campus transformation and this next wave signifies the almost completed last step of the four phase process and progress of the most recent capital campaign, The Healing Power of Progress.

“Our Facility Master Plan has transformed the campus over the last decade to meet the growing health needs of this community and all with the help of our extremely generous supporters,” explained Thomas H. Carman, President and CEO. “The campus now includes a parking garage, patient pavilion, expanded as well as renovated space in existing buildings including the new Center for Women and Children and improved space that is much more patient centric for our mental health patients, plus a connector between the hospital and nursing home, as well as new services and specialties. This ribbon cutting and open house event allow us to share progress and excitement with the community and our staff, and reflect on what we have accomplished together.”

Part of the ribbon cutting event was the expansion and renovation of the new Center for Women and Children, which consolidates Maternity and Pediatrics onto one floor to offer an environment that appeals to the needs of women, children and families. It includes a new dedicated three-level entrance and parking lot that leads patients and visitors directly to the Center. The new space offers abundant natural light and a calm environment for mothers and families.  Once completed there will be 21 private mother-baby rooms and a dedicated Pediatrics unit with 8 rooms.  Areas already completed as part of this project include the Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the only NICU in northern New York, and Labor and Delivery Suite.

Guests at the event were able to see the beginnings of the updated Inpatient Mental Health Unit. This new space considers the unique healing needs of our patients in a more spacious, calmer and brighter environment.  The programming and activity space will feature the greatest enhancements for the patients and staff, including additional space for physical activity/exercise, improved group therapy/activity rooms with amenities, as well as quiet spaces designated for individual and group meetings.  The Unit will also see an increase in beds from 32 to 34 to help meet the demand in our community.  The project will be fully completed by 2022.

This project also includes improved space for the Medical Center’s Support Services including a new morgue with a family viewing area, a new loading dock and a new more functional store room.  Support Services has not been improved in over 40 years and is needed due to substantial expansion of services over time.

Samaritan Medical Center and its physicians are responsible for 95% of the care to Tricare patients in the North Country, including active duty Soldiers, retirees, civilian employees and their family members in our community, accounting for a significant percentage of patients in services, such as Maternity (46.5%), Neonatal Intensive Care (39.1%), Pediatrics (24.86%) and Inpatient Mental Health (27.5%).

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mr. Carman also provided an update on the most recent capital campaign. The Healing Power of Progress has surpassed its goal to date raising $6.1 million dollars.  Part of this campaign was support for the new Center for Women and Children.  Leading donors to this project were Children’s Miracle Network ($1,000,000); Kinney Drugs Foundation ($250,000); and M&T Bank ($100,000).  In addition, the Northern New York Community Foundation provided support to the Center for Women and Children and the Walker Center for Cancer Care ($150,000) and an additional $150,000 matching grant was made by the Community Foundation to establish formal partnership through the creation of an endowment within the Community Foundation for Samaritan’s benefit.

Samaritan also unveiled two special places on campus that honor contributions to the health system.  The Dr. Kim Memorial Garden was dedicated in honor of Dr. Moonjohn Kim, who was killed in a tragic motor vehicle accident in 2017.  He was a gifted physician respected and beloved by colleagues, staff and patients.  He left a legacy of tremendous medical skill, talent and true compassion. The garden was created completely by contributors to honor him and to know that his legacy will live on forever at Samaritan.  

With a successful year of fundraising, the Samaritan Foundation also unveiled an updated donor wall to show appreciation to those that contributed to the Foundation and the Healing Power of Progress capital campaign. The wall is located in the Patient Registration main hallway across from the Foundation office. Over 300 people attended the event.