SMC Gets Ready For Affordable Care Act

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The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's sweeping health care reform, will roll out beginning October 1.

Watertown's Samaritan Medical Center is making necessary changes.

"What the government is telling us is that we want less people in the hospital and more treated outside the hospital with their primary care doctors," said SMC spokesperson Krista Kittle.

As the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," nears, officials at SMC are focusing on their Family Health Network where those primary care doctors work.

Samaritan has opened appointment slots at its outer Washington Street office.

"Not only additional time and availability for our established patients who might get sick and need an immediate appointment - that is now available. But, also we've opened up slots to see new patients," said Kittle.

When patients come to the Samaritan Family Health Clinic, they'll be more likely to be observed by a nurse or physician assistant.

Doctors want to let patients know they will still be getting good care.

"Our greatest opportunity for growth is through our physician assistants and our nurse practitioners," said Dr. Joseph Wetterhahn, medical director of the Samaritan Family Health Clinic.

"We work collaboratively with our physicians. We have the fortune of having excellent supervising physicians here in the office," said Gina Wetterhahn, physician assistant.

The point of treating more patients at the clinic is to keep them from ending up in the hospital.

Officials say it's better for patients and it keeps costs down by keeping people healthy.

Friday, December 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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