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Neurosurgical practice to take referrals, new patients next week

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Neurosurgery will return to the north country next week, when Neurological Associates of Northern New York begins accepting referrals and new patients.

Associated with a Syracuse neurosurgical practice, the Watertown office will have one full-time neurosurgeon. Eventually, another will be recruited with the help of Samaritan Medical Center.

Those physicians will be credentialed on the medical staff at Samaritan, according to Samaritan spokeswoman Krista A. Kittle.

“I know there’s been a very strong and vibrant past with neurosurgeons in the community,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Chin, Upstate Medical University neurosurgery chairman. “One of the things I wanted to do was bring those services back to the area. In partnership with the hospital, we’re developing the latest state-of-the-art equipment.”

Both Upstate Medical, which is affiliated with Neurosurgical Associates of Central New York, Syracuse, and Samaritan have collaborated for the effort. Samaritan invested about $1 million in neurosurgical equipment for its hospital, including microscopes and various instruments, neuro-navigation software and training.

Dr. Chin said the same neurosurgical services offered at Upstate gradually will be made available at Samaritan. Jeffrey M. Smith, a physician assistant who will be the practice manager, said spine and intracranial cases will be seen locally. He said he hopes the local practice will appeal to Fort Drum, as “all of their intracranial cases are being sent to Walter Reed” National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Specialties of the Syracuse-based practice include brain tumors, spine disorders, radiosurgery, neurovascular and pituitary disorders and pediatric, general and functional, which involves epilepsy and movement disorders, neurosurgery.

The Watertown practice, housed on the second floor at 629 Washington St., will work toward trauma cases. Samaritan purchased the Magnetic Imaging Center building in December for $825,000 to accommodate the revival of its neurosurgery practice.

The 7,000-square-foot building is at Washington Street and Flower Avenue East, and was purchased from Washington Realty, Watertown. It is about one block from the main hospital, 830 Washington St. Upstate Medical rents the space from Samaritan.

Neurological Associates of Northern New York’s location previously was occupied by the practice of neurosurgeons Dr. John Krawchenko and Dr. Michael P. Owen. Their practice closed more than a year ago. In November, Samaritan entered into agreement with five neurosurgeons from the Central New York practice to fill holes in on-call rotations when Samaritan has its full-time neurosurgeons.

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