News Release #13-017 September 16, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Krista A. Kittle (315) 785-4504

SMC EXPANDS PRIMARY CARE CAPACITY TO CARE FOR MORE PATIENTS Plaza Family Health Center in Watertown Accepting New Patients
Watertown, New York ----- In anticipation of the increased demand for primary care services as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Samaritan Medical Center’s Family Health Network has expanded its ability to care for more patients. With increased appointment availability, the Plaza location in Watertown is now accepting new patients. “As providers, we expect to see a dramatic increase in the demand for healthcare services – especially in primary care – because more people will be insured as part of the Affordable Care Act,” explains Joseph Wetterhahn, MD, Family Practice Physician with Samaritan’s Plaza Family Health Center. “We know this is coming, and we want to ensure that Samaritan is positioned to provide high quality care to as many people as possible. We’ve made many proactive improvements in our schedule and in the way we deliver care within our primary care network.” Samaritan is planning to make similar changes in all of its primary care clinics; however, its busiest clinic at the Samaritan Medical Plaza on Washington Street in Watertown is the first to implement the improvements. In addition to increased appointment availability, the clinic is shifting its resources to offer a team-based healthcare model that effectively coordinates patient care across all healthcare providers and services. This approach means that the entire care team works together with patients to achieve the best possible care. Additionally, these improvements provide same day/next day appointments, timely access to healthcare professionals, electronic access to patient records, lab results and health information and more. Samaritan’s Plaza clinic in Watertown is one of four in the Samaritan Family Health Network that has received the federal government’s Level III Patient Care Medical Home designation, which requires each to meet and maintain rigorous standards in quality, access and coordination of care – ensuring patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time. The network’s two newest locations in Cape Vincent and Sackets Harbor are currently in the process of becoming designated sites. “Samaritan has already experienced tremendous change as a result of healthcare reform,” concludes Dr. Wetterhahn. “This is just one more way that we have responded. Ultimately, it means that more people in our community will have better access to improved healthcare.” The Plaza Family Health Center currently has ten providers on its healthcare team, including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The clinic is located at 1575 Washington Street in Watertown and offers a full range of primary care and family medicine services for people of all ages. For appointments at the Plaza Family Health Center, please call 786-7300. New patients welcome. ###

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