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Samaritan CEO praised as ‘agent of change’ at Shapiro award banquet

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Thomas H. Carman, the 62nd annual Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award winner, was described by Lisa A. Weber Thursday night as “an agent of change” ever since he joined the Watertown community in 2004 as president and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center.

Mrs. Weber, chairwoman of the Samaritan Foundation and CEO of Timeless Frames, joined a crowd of about 230 people at the annual award banquet and dinner at the Best Western Carriage House Inn to honor Mr. Carman.

“Tom is a dedicated board member who listens to opinions and always decides what’s best for the community,” said Mrs. Weber, a past Athena Award recipient who nominated Mr. Carman for the Shapiro award. “Since he arrived in 2004, Tom has been active in the community and focused on efforts to make the community better. He doesn’t sit on the sidelines. He’s a doer and does things to make things happen.”

Mrs. Weber went on to praise Mr. Carman for leading a number of major health care feats in the region. In 2005 he was instrumental in launching the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, which has grown into a seven-hospital partnership with strong ties to the community. Most recently, he helped lead the restructuring of Mercy Care Center of Northern New York and North Country Children’s Clinic when both agencies faced uncertain financial futures.

“He helped develop plans to make sure patients were provided with uninterrupted service and benefits,” Mrs. Weber said. “Literally hundreds of jobs were saved as a result of those efforts.”

She added that the smooth rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act at hospitals in the region has also been guided by Mr. Carman, who led the creation of a management service organization allowing hospitals to establish “an unprecedented collaborative relationship.”

The banquet was hosted by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by My ABC 50 and North Country CW 14/31.

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