Samaritan Medical gets $2.5 million in COVID aid

Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 10:28 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown is getting $2.5 million from the federal government to help it weather financial losses due to COVID-19.

The announcement was made late Friday afternoon by north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Samaritan Chief Executive Officer Tom Carman.

Other rural hospitals have already gotten money from Washington, but because Samaritan’s population includes Fort Drum, it was left out - it wasn’t considered “rural.”

Stefanik helped rewrite the rules so that Samaritan could qualify for federal money, money Carman said is very much needed. Samaritan was losing $250,000 a day at the beginning of the pandemic, and the hospital is looking at a $15 million loss this year.

“It was unique,” Stefanik said. “Of all the hospitals in my district, it was unique because of that urban designation, because of the number of soldiers on Fort Drum with no hospital on post. “

"And I spoke with the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services who oversees rural health ad walked him through this.”

“It’ll allow us to make payroll, allow us to pay bills” Carman said of the money. “Yes, we will bring back additional staff once the volume supports that, but we still need to be cautious.”

Samaritan has brought back 87 of the 230 employees it furloughed this spring.

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