SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, AFTER HIS PUSH, FEDS HAVE PROPOSED PLAN TO PUT WATERTOWNS SAMARITAN MEDICAL CENTER AT THE TOP OF THE LIST FOR REGAINING RESIDENCY SLOTS THAT WERE UNFAIRLY TAKEN AWAY SENATOR URGES C.M.S. TO IMPLEMENT RULE THAT WILL PRIORITIZE SAMARITAN FOR CRITICAL MEDICARE FUNDING RESIDENCY SLOTS
brWatertowns Samaritan Medical Center Has Been Without Three Crucial Medicare Residency Slots, And The Funding That Goes Along With Them, For Three Years Due To An Unfair Decision By C.M.S.brbrSchumer Urged C.M.S. to Reverse Course Give Back to Samaritan the Medical Residency Slots The Funding It Had Lost Just-Released, Proposed C.M.S. Rule Would Finally Allow Samaritan To Bring On The Medical Residents It Needs To Better Treat 240,000 Patients Per YearbrbrSchumer: New C.M.S. Rule Would Make
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, after his push, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a new rule that would give critical medical residency slots back to Watertown's Samaritan Medical Center, slots lost over 3 years ago due to the hospital's residency program being misclassified. In 2011, Samaritan was misclassified as "not rural," which meant it subsequently lost medicare reimbursement for more than three of its residency slots. Since that time, Schumer has fought to rectify this unfair determination and find a way for Samaritan to regain its lost slots, which are crucial in Samaritan's efforts to train new doctors in this rural, but very busy hospital. The new provision, proposed by CMS as part of its larger inpatient hospital payment rule, states that, "additional consideration [will be given] to any hospital where slots were taken erroneously." This means that, if enacted, Samaritan will be prioritized for any slots that become available in New York State. Schumer stressed that this is a big win for Samaritan, and urged CMS to include this language as part of its final hospital payment rule, expected to come out in August.
"This muchneeded fix is just what the doctor ordered for Samaritan Hospital and can fix the unfair misclassification that unjustly led to the loss of their essential residency slots," said Schumer. "If enacted, it will eventually return three lifesaving residency slots so that this hospital can continue to provide quality healthcare for over 200,000 patients per year. Samaritan Medical Center has been providing topnotch care for Jefferson County residents for decades, including the entire Fort Drum community. But without three critical residency slots, it has not been able to operate at full strength. I applaud CMS for finding a way to remedy this situation, and urge them to enact this fix as soon as possible."
Schumer previously urged CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to remedy this situation during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in April 2013, when she was a nominee for the Administrator position. At the time, Schumer highlighted several top priorities for New York State, including the unfair situation facing Samaritan. Samaritan Medical is the primary hospital in the area serving over 120,000 New Yorkers, has 246 acute care beds, and operates a successful medical resident training program; the hospital is of the utmost importance to Watertown and the surrounding rural community. Samaritan treats approximately 11,000 admissions and 240,000 outpatient registrations annually. It has the only medical education program within 70 miles, which began in 1998. Currently there are 12 resident physicians and seven medical students in training at Samaritan.
The loss of three slots has been a serious issue for the hospital and for the training of physicians that serve the North Country, many of whom remain in the North Country and practice medicine there over the long term. Schumer noted that this issue, if it goes unsolved, would cost Samaritan the opportunity to recruit and retain talented residents to train at the hospital. Schumer also noted that the hospital relies on this important funding for overall patient care. Additionally, Schumer noted that the resident program is central to Samaritan's efforts to provide excellent care to our 10th Mountain Division veterans, both on the base and those returning from service to the growing community.
According to Schumer, CMS staff at one point agreed that Samaritan has been misclassified, but until this proposed rule, there has been no method of appeal for a wrong decision and the hospital has been forced to absorb the cuts.