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brbrSchumer Highlighted that Watertowns Samaritan Recently Lost Three Critical Medicare Residency Slots Their Funding Samaritan Is Critical to Community and Treats over 240,000 Patients Annuallybrbr In Senate Hearing With Potential New Head of Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services, Schumer Urged CMS to Reverse Course Give Samaritan Back the Funding and Spots for Graduate Medical Students to Treat Jefferson County PatientsbrbrSchumer: Samaritan Is Critical to Civilians Soldiers Healthcare A


Today, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to be the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer highlighted several top priorities, including the unfair situation facing Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown because of a 2011 misclassification of its medical residency program. 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.


However, the hospital has faced a critical issue recently, because Samaritan was misclassified as not rural and subsequently lost Medicare reimbursement for more than three residency slots. In the spring of 2011, CMS notified the hospital that the equivalent of more than three slots for graduate medical education funding would be reduced. Since that time, Samaritan Medical Center has fought to rectify this unfair determination on its own, with little success. Schumer stated that those three slots are crucial in Samaritan's efforts to train new doctors in this rural, but very busy hospital.


Samaritan treats approximately 11,000 admissions and 232,000 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.


"Samaritan Medical Center in Jefferson County has the extraordinary responsibility of providing topnotch care for Ft. Drum's military community and civilians alike, and the federal government must give it all the resources possible to be successful," said Schumer in a Senate hearing for the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner. "I am urging the federal government and CMS to work with Samaritan Medical Center to resolve this misclassification that could rob them of three lifesaving residency slots, so that this hospital can continue to provide quality healthcare in Jefferson County."


Ahead of her Senate confirmation to be Administrator of CMS, Schumer urged Marilyn Tavenner to make resolving this issue for Samaritan Medical Center a top priority. The loss of three slots would be 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 for the long haul. Schumer noted that this issue, going 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 in the hearing that the resident program is central to Samaritan's efforts to provide excellent care to our 10 th 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 there is no method of appeal for a wrong decision and the hospital must absorb the cuts. In the Finance Committee hearing, Schumer simply stated that this is unacceptable, and urged Tavenner to help address this misclassification.