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Samaritan Temporarily Suspends Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program

Published on: June 30, 2020

Watertown, NY – After a careful evaluation of its outpatient care physical spaces, Samaritan Medical Center has decided to temporarily suspend its Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program, effective immediately. The service has not been operational since mid-March when COVID-19 restrictions were put into place.

The program’s current location on the fourth floor of the hospital does not allow patients and staff to safely practice social distancing in order to minimize risk of infection to this vulnerable population. Samaritan will evaluate the potential to relocate the program to a different site in the future, but for now is focused on maintaining a safe environment for all during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the program suspended, all current and future cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients will be referred to similar programs at other facilities.

“We recognize this change will cause some inconvenience for patients and families, and we apologize for that,” said M. Andrew Short, vice president and chief operating officer. “Temporarily suspending the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program is the safest course of action during this pandemic, and we are working with our patients to find alternative solutions to continue their treatment and maintain their health.”

The program, which has been offered at Samaritan for nearly two decades, combines cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation to help people who have, or are at risk for, heart and/or lung problems such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, cystic fibrosis, or others.

In 2019, Samaritan served 162 cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients. All current patients have been notified, and all related staff have been relocated to other areas. No layoffs have occurred.

Patients or community members who have questions about this change may contact Kimberly L. Thibert, vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer, at 315-785-5131 or send a message through Samaritan’s website at

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