Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today sent a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) to correct a longstanding administrative mistake that has reduced the number of Medicare-supported resident physicians that are able to train at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.
“Rural hospitals like Samaritan Medical Center offer a critical lifeline for our North Country communities,” Stefanik said. “Because of a CMS administrative oversight years ago, Samaritan Medical incorrectly lost part of its Medicare-resident cap. Now, fewer medical residents are being introduced to serving our rural communities. I’m working to right this wrong, so Samaritan Medical can receive the support they deserve to be properly equipped to continue serving the North Country.”
During initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Samaritan Medical Center’s cap for medical residents subsidized by Medicare was erroneously reduced by CMS from 10.08 residents to 7.37 residents. Rural hospitals with fewer than 250 beds, like Samaritan Medical, were supposed to be exempt from this reduction. Before this incorrect reduction could be reversed however, Samaritan Medical’s slots for medical residents were already distributed to other hospitals. Stefanik has proposed CMS finally address their mistake by prioritizing hospitals they previously wronged, like Samaritan, as CMS continues rulemaking for distribution of additional residency slots.
"The importance of Medicare-supported residency slots to us here in Watertown and across the North Country cannot be understated. Congresswoman Stefanik's efforts advocating to correct this CMS administrative mistake are further evidence of her commitment to strengthen rural health care, and we thank her for her continued work on this issue," said Thomas Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center.
Read Stefanik’s full letter here.