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Samaritan Medical Center Announces Plans to Resume Elective Inpatient Procedures

Published on: June 1, 2020

Watertown, N.Y. – Samaritan Medical Center will resume elective inpatient procedures effective June 1 after receiving further guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). This news follows the resumption of elective outpatient surgeries and procedures on May 4, for which Samaritan has consistently met and exceeded all safety metrics set forth by the NYS DOH and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

With additional patient safety measures in place, Samaritan feels confident moving forward with inpatient elective surgeries, which include procedures such as total hip and knee replacements and back surgeries.

“This is another progressive step to help our patients who have been waiting for their surgery,” said Andrew Short, vice president and chief operating officer. “Many procedures need an inpatient stay so patients can recover and rehabilitate safely. We will continue to adhere to and exceed all guidelines issued by the state Department of Health and other published medical guidance as we resume these inpatient procedures in the safest and most effective way possible.”

Short said Samaritan continues to recognize the delicate balance between resuming more surgeries and being cautious about the ongoing public health crisis. In addition, patients hospitalized are not permitted to have visitors at this point due to strict hospital visitor restrictions across New York State. This is very important to Samaritan’s staff and communication plans are in place to keep families updated on the progress of their loved ones.

Short added that the return of more surgeries and procedures will impact furloughs. Overall, 36 Samaritan staff members have already been recalled from furlough, many directly connected to the surgical services area.

Samaritan will continue to strictly adhere to NYSDOH guidelines, some of which include:

  • Testing all elective surgical and non-urgent procedural patients for COVID-19 three days prior to their scheduled appointment
  • Ensuring more than 30 percent vacancy is available in all staffed beds and 30 percent in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds
  • Creating a prioritization policy committee to ensure patients’ needs are being met as more cases are being performed
  • Ensuring more than a seven-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical surgical supplies is on hand
  • Ensuring proper staffing
  • Providing data on all metrics requested by NYSDOH

Samaritan’s plan will also include special instructions regarding counseling patients to ensure:

  • They take appropriate measures to prevent sickness prior to surgery
  • They enter the hospital through a dedicated entrance
  • They’re properly screened
  • They’re escorted to waiting areas
  • They understand how to manage the strict visitor restrictions set forth by the NYSDOH

“Overall we need to stress to community members not to delay their care,” Short said. “We have seen a greater number of sick patients coming to our Emergency Department and their primary care office which is concerning. Community members need to feel safe to come in for care.”

Traditional in-office appointments, including pre- and post-surgical appointments, plus preventive care visits, are available. Some services now also offer telemedicine with phone and videoconference options, providing patients with increased access to their providers.

Samaritan Medical Center continues to offer a Resource Line for the community at 315-755-3100, available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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