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SMC welcomes new internal medicine, family practice residents

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Samaritan Medical Center is providing a gateway for physicians to learn and practice primary care in the north country.

The hospital, 830 Washington St., recently welcomed four new residents to its doctor of osteopathy residency program in internal medicine and family practice. After they receive training, they could decide to practice locally, but that is not a requirement in order to participate in the program.

According to the National Institutes of Health, osteopathic medicine is “dedicated to treating and healing the patient as a whole, rather than focusing on one system or body part.”

Samaritan spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said Samaritan was able to recruit and retain about 12 physicians through its formal medical education program.

“The fact we have a training program at Samaritan Medical Center, especially for family practice residents, is really a recruitment tool that’s helping bring those residents back into the community,” she said.

The most recent success was Dr. Aaron Campbell, Ms. Kittle said. Dr. Campbell completed the residency program in June and recently joined Samaritan’s hospitalist group.

“That’s a perfect example, and we’ve seen several over the years, of doctors who have studied here and continue to work here,” Ms. Kittle said.

The four residents recently welcomed into the program include Dr. Kelsey McAnally, a 2013 graduate of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Dr. Yu Sung, a 2013 graduate of Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, who both joined the internal medicine program.

The family medicine program welcomed Dr. Caitlin Donagan, a 2013 graduate of Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Dr. Tad Lanagan, a 2010 graduate of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

According to a recent Samaritan news release, the hospital also welcomed eight third-year medical students from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic medicine and two third-year medical students from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Meanwhile, Ms. Kittle said Samaritan officials still are working with U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., on a solution to the 2011 misclassification of the hospital’s medical residency program that resulted in the loss of $250,000 in Medicare reimbursement. Ms. Kittle said the misclassification is based on the hospital’s bed count of 246. Samaritan was misclassified as not rural, and therefore lost Medicare reimbursement for more than three residency slots. Ms. Kittle said Samaritan’s attempts since 2011 to change the ruling have been unsuccessful, so the hospital sought help from elected officials to intervene on its behalf.

Since the misclassification, which was an error by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Samaritan has had to cover the $250,000 reimbursement loss.

“We’ve been in close contact with Schumer’s office,” Ms. Kittle said. “They’re continuing to advocate for us.”

She said that since some related programs closed downstate, Samaritan would like to have some of those residency slots moved here to solve the problem and alleviate the financial burden.

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