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Samaritan Summit Village announces leadership changes, recruits CNAs

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As Samaritan Summit Village says goodbye to one leader, it welcomes another.

Dennis C. Casey, who has been interim administrator of skilled nursing since Samaritan Summit Village opened this spring, will leave Friday. He is the former administrator of the now closed Mercy Care Center of Northern New York.

Samaritan Summit Village Nursing Director Elaine O’Brian also is no longer with the organization.

According to a Samaritan news release, Samaritan Assistant Vice President of Compliance Barbara E. Morrow will assume the skilled nursing administrator role until there is a permanent replacement. Barbara Fargo, a registered nurse, has been appointed nursing director of the 288-bed assisted-living and skilled-nursing facility.

“These leadership changes were necessary in order to move the Samaritan Summit Village forward in the wake of the unprecedented change that is on the horizon with health care reform,” Anthony E. Joseph, Samaritan vice president of long-term care, said in a prepared statement. “These two very experienced professionals will help us navigate through these challenges to ensure that our residents and the community have continued access to the exceptional level of care offered at Samaritan Summit Village.”

Samaritan spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said Mrs. Morrow will continue her vice president role while handling the additional responsibilities as skilled nursing administrator. The original intent was to search for a replacement for Mr. Casey before now, but Samaritan had to get its feet wet in operating the 17.1-acre complex.

“We were not moving forward with the recruitment when he was interim,” Ms. Kittle said. “We’ll be looking for a full-time, permanent position to fill that role.”

Samaritan also is recruiting more staff, she said, so it can fully open the remaining two units: the third floor of the assisted-living component and the fourth floor of the skilled-nursing component.

Ms. Kittle said Samaritan has struggled to fill needed positions, which mainly are certified nursing assistant.

“CNA is a very high-demand position,” she said. “We’re in the process of recruiting and training CNAs for those roles.”

Both Samaritan and the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services have CNA training programs. Some of the 42 Samaritan staff members who will be reassigned as part of the overall organization’s workforce restructuring plan may fill some of those open CNA positions at Samaritan Summit Village.

Samaritan job opportunities can be found on its website, www.samaritanhealth.com.

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