Samaritan Medical Center awarded $5K to expand home monitoring program


From left: Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Utica Regional President, presents a check to Beth Fipps, Samaritan’s Vice President of Foundation and Community Relations, and Dawn Atwood, Samaritan Community Relations and Events Coordinator (photo: Samaritan Health)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Samaritan Medical Center has been awarded funding by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Award to expand its home healthcare monitoring program.

Earlier in 2021, Samaritan piloted its healthcare monitoring program, issuing pulse oximeters to COVID-19 patients who were experiencing moderate-to-serious symptoms, but did not require a hospital admit.

According to Samaritan, the $5,000 awarded by the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield award will now be used expand the program; purchasing up to 40 medical-grade pulse oximeters. Samaritan stated that these instruments will be issued to patients whose symptoms are not severe enough to require hospitalization.

This expansion will allow the hospital to provide this program to other patients whose conditions require monitoring such as COPD.

“We are thankful for this support from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as we seek to enhance convenience of care for our patients,” said Samaritan Chief Medical Office and Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Mario Victoria. “We recognize hospitalization is not something any of us want, and if we can safely monitor patients at home using devices like a pulse oximeter, along with the help of our well-trained staff from Samaritan Home Health, we will produce positive outcomes for these patients.”

In addition to oximeter, patients of the program are issued instructions on device usage and a phone number to call if their saturation levels drop. A care team is also assigned to each patient and provides follow-up care.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s Community Health Awards provides funding to programs that improve the health or health care of a specific population, aim to improve the health status of the community, closes the gaps in health disparities, reduces the incidence of specific diseases, promotes health education and assists communities fight COVID-19.

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