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Samaritan’s residency program may get Medicare reimbursement lost since 2011

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WATERTOWN — Samaritan Medical Center is one step closer to having Medicare reimbursement re-established for a few slots for its residency program.

A new rule by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would give back “critical residency slots” to the hospital, according to a news release Thursday by U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. Samaritan’s residency program was misclassified by the federal agency in 2011 as “not rural,” causing the hospital to lose about $250,000 in Medicare reimbursement.

“This much-needed fix is just what the doctor ordered for Samaritan hospital, and can fix the unfair misclassification that unjustly led to the loss of their essential residency slots,” Mr. Schumer stated in the news release. “If enacted, it will eventually return three life-saving residency slots so that this hospital can continue to provide quality health care for over 200,000 patients per year.”

In April, Samaritan spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle said the hospital has covered the cost of the error and paid for two additional residents, for a total of 12 residency slots.

The final federal rule is expected in August.

Samaritan’s medical-education program, which began in 1998, is the only such arrangement within 70 miles.

Mr. Schumer has followed the issue since it arose, and spoke about the matter during the nomination hearing for Marilyn Tavenner as CMS administrator in 2013.

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