News

Samaritan Medical Center Awarded $5,000 to Expand Home Monitoring Program

Published on: May 4, 2021

Funds from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Award will purchase pulse oximeters, allowing certain patients to monitor and manage conditions at home

WATERTOWN, NY – Samaritan Medical Center has received $5,000 from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Award to expand its home healthcare monitoring program.

Through a competitive application process, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards help fund programs that improve the health or health care of a specific population, programs that aim to improve the health status of the community, closes the gaps in health disparities, reduces the incidence of specific diseases, promotes health education and assists our communities in dealing with COVID.

Funds awarded to Samaritan Medical Center will be used to purchase up to 40 medical-grade pulse oximeters, small devices which measure patients’ oxygen saturation levels. These instruments will be issued to outpatients whose oxygenation-related symptoms are not severe enough to require hospitalization, so that their conditions can be monitored at home.

In addition to being sent home with a pulse oximeter, a patient is issued instructions on device usage and a phone number to call should their oxygen saturation levels drop. A care team assigned to each patient provides ongoing follow-up care, including regular home and/or telemedicine visits during the patient’s treatment and recovery periods.

“We are thankful for this support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as we seek to enhance convenience of care for our patients,” said Dr. Mario Victoria, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Samaritan. “We recognize hospitalization is not something any of us want, and if we can safely monitor patients at home using devices like a pulse oximeter, along with the help of our well-trained staff from Samaritan Home Health, we will produce positive outcomes for these patients.”

Earlier this year, Samaritan successfully piloted a program issuing pulse oximeters to COVID-19 patients whose moderate-to-serious symptoms did not warrant hospital admittance. The Community Health Award from Excellus BCBS will allow the hospital to expand the program to other types of patients whose conditions require oxygen monitoring, such as those diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Excellus BCBS Community Health Award significantly expands Samaritan’s ability to provide timely, expert medical care that enables patients to recover in the comfort of their homes and avoid costly hospitalization. This helps ensure hospital beds and resources are available to more severely ill patients, easing pressure on hospital bed capacity during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The company’s Community Health Awards demonstrate a corporate commitment to support local organizations that share our mission as a nonprofit health plan,” said Eve Van de Wal, regional president of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “These awards complement our existing grants and sponsorships with agencies that work to enhance quality of life, including health status, in upstate New York.”

Improving access to quality, affordable health care services for our community is a continued goal of both Samaritan Medical Center and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in their mutual mission to strengthen the region’s overall health care system.

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 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.