FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Residents Saved $600,000+ with Prescription Discount Card

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

December 18, 2013

Residents Saved $600,000+ with Prescription Discount Card

Joining the ProAct Prescription Discount Card Program in February of 2013 has proved to be a pennywise proposition for Putnam County residents. This week, County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that since Putnam joined the Pro-Act Prescription Discount program, residents have had more than 10,000 prescriptions filled and have saved over $600,000.

“Activating this program has proven to be a financial success story for many of our residents,” said Odell. “This program helps not only those who are uninsured, but those who are under-insured which is all too common these days. With the rising costs of health insurance, many individuals and families are choosing catastrophic policies to save dollars in premiums and have to pay full price for prescriptions which can cost our constituents hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year. I strongly urge every resident, regardless of their health care coverage, to keep a card on-hand to ensure they will not have to pay full cash price for a prescription.”

In working closely with ProAct, Putnam has, since 2012, been able to provide residents, regardless of age, income or existing health care coverage, access to affordable prescriptions.  All residents are eligible to utilize the program. Although the discount card cannot be used in conjunction with any form of insurance to discount co-pays or deductibles, every prescription is eligible for a discount, including some pet medications.

All a resident has to do is present the discount card at a local pharmacy when having a prescription filled.  Residents typically see savings ranging from 10 to 20 percent on name brand medications and 20 to 70 percent on generic medications.

To ensure the discount card is accepted at a local pharmacy, or to compare prices of certain medications, residents may visit or contact the ProAct Help Desk at 1-877-776-2285.   

This Prescription Discount Card Program does not require applications or enrollment fees to participate.  The program is completely free to taxpayers, the county and to participating residents.  If a resident has lost their card or if they need an additional one, extras are available at the Department of Social Services, the County Health Department and County Office Building or at any participating pharmacy in Putnam. Residents with access to the Internet, can obtain a discount card by visiting,

County Exec MaryEllen Odell Supports Employee Wellness For All: Putnam Community Health Improvement Plan Involves Businesses in Employee Health

Brewster, NY— Workplace wellness increases employee productivity, reduces absenteeism and streamlines health care costs and Putnam County’s recently completed Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) takes advantage of these well-researched benefits. Submitted to the NYS DOH last week, the CHIP has the broad support of the County Executive’s Office, working with the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH). One of the major goals of this plan is to involve the business community in promoting wellness strategies among Putnam workers.

“Employee health promotion is an excellent investment to make,” says Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health. “It helps Putnam County keep health care costs in line, and it can help other businesses do the same. Workers spend a significant amount of their waking hours at work,” Dr. Beals continues. “Involving the business community is a logical and effective way to improve health. Our community partners, together with the strong support of our County Executive MaryEllen Odell, have taken the steps to incorporate this into our county’s health improvement

County Executive Odell has also been a proponent of the County’s own employee wellness program from the start. She participates in the programs herself, getting her annual flu shot and having her blood tested for various health risk factors. Blood screening usually involves a simple overnight fast, followed by a blood draw to measure cholesterol and other blood lipids, as well as sugar levels. These tests can provide information on risk of cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes and diabetes, as well as other problems. Knowing one’s risk factors can help individuals take further
steps, if necessary, to prevent or halt more serious consequences.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is required by the NYS DOH and outlines plans, goals and objectives that the PCDOH and its community health partners will work toward. The plan is available online at For more information on how the PCDOH can help business organizations launch an employee wellness program, please call 845-808-1390, Ext. 43258, or email For general Health Department information, visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.



Brewster, NY – Sunday, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to increase awareness of the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic around the world. To commemorate this international observance, the Putnam County department of Health is offering special hours on Tuesday, December 3, from 12 to 5 p.m., for free, rapid HIV testing and counseling at 121 Main Street, in Brewster, NY. Free testing for STDs and Hepatitis C will be available at the same time. HIV and Hep C results take just 20 minutes. A raffle will be held and light refreshments will be served. No appointment is necessary.

Although new technologies have been developed in the fight against AIDS, such as a rapid HIV test, and new treatments have slowed the progression of HIV to AIDS, the disease remains a major health threat both in the U.S. and worldwide. People with the infection are living longer, healthier, more productive lives, but there is still no vaccine or cure.

“Early diagnosis and prompt, appropriate treatment can make the difference in quality and length of life,” said Allen Beals, M.D., Commissioner of Health, “and it is also the key to protecting others from becoming infected.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Atlanta estimates that one in five infected people do not know they are HIV positive. Chances are they have never been tested because they do not believe they are at risk. Prevention efforts have helped keep the rates of new infections stable in recent years, but the opportunity for infection increases as more people live with the disease. For more information about HIV, STD, or Hepatitis C testing, or disease education and prevention, contact the Health Department at (845) 808-1390.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health is to improve and protect the health of our community, made up of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealth.

CAC implements new workshop to prevent child sex abuse

On Friday, November 15, the Child Advocacy Center conducted their pilot for a new workshop, “Protecting Our Children:  Lessons Learned from Sex Offenders” to over 50 professionals and stakeholders in the community. Team presenters were CAC Program Coordinator Marla Behler, Assistant District Attorney Danielle Pascale and Detective Gerald Locasio from Kent Police Department. The workshop is tailored for parents, caregivers, and child care professionals to educate them about sex offender’s tactics and the grooming techniques used to entrap children. The CAC’s goal is to roll this out to the community targeting as many people as possible by presenting this workshop at local agencies and organizations, service clubs, schools, daycares, camps, etc. and can either be open to the public or done as a private staff training. 

If interested in scheduling a workshop, please contact the CAC at:  845-808-1400.

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Brewster, NY— Dozens of Putnam County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers from all walks of life—including nurses, carpenters, lawyers, doctors and retired married couples—were in attendance for the Annual Dinner Meeting held on November 7 at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac.

The dinner, organized by the Putnam County Department of Health, is held each year to thank these loyal neighbors and celebrate the work they do in support of Putnam County’s existing emergency response infrastructure. This year’s event provided an opportunity for Allen Beals, MD, Commissioner of Health, to personally recognize the volunteers for their efforts.

“Your dedication to the health and welfare of the County’s residents is invaluable, “Dr. Beals said, “not only during emergency situations such as we had last year during Hurricane Sandy, but also in our preparatory drills and activities.” Dr. Beals credited the outstanding efforts of his staff and the contribution of the MRC for his ability to expand services to the Putnam community and at the same time decrease his budget two years in a row.

Dr. Beals highlighted some of the recently expanded activities of the health department, such as new Hepatitis C testing; onsite flu immunization clinics in all Putnam County school districts; HIV and STD testing; availability of low-cost radon testing kits; expanded rabies control, with the success of the Feral Cat Task Force; heightened emergency preparedness following the crank radio and movie night event; progress toward national accreditation; greater engineering services for our homeowners due to the improved housing market this past year; intensified outreach by maternal child nurses supporting every pregnant woman in the county, and the launch of his Commissioner’s Column in the local newspaper dispensing useful medical information.

Volunteers, both non-medical and medical, continue to be needed for Putnam County’s MRC. Interpreters, amateur radio operators, mental health professionals, chaplains, pharmacists, infectious disease specialists, dentists and veterinarians are just some examples of welcomed personnel. Interested residents can find out more information by visiting the Putnam County website or calling Keiren Farquhar, the MRC coordinator at 845-808-1390, x43136.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Happy Veterans Day from Putnam County


The Row of Honor graces Carmel, New York by lining the shore of Lake Gleneida and Route 52 with 100 American Flags. These flags are flown twice a year with your loved ones names attached on Memorial Day & Veterans Day. This historic observance has drawn national attention to Putnam County.



PCDOH Staff Present at National APHA Conference

Brewster, NY—The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) has the distinction of being one of the few local health departments invited to present at the recent 141st American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting & Expo. More than 10,000 national and international physicians, researchers, educators and related health specialists attended the event, which ran from November 2 to 6 in Boston, Massachusetts.

PCDOH Supervising Public Health Educator Barbara Ilardi and Supervising Public Health Nurse Kathy Percacciolo presented on the health department’s success in developing a strategic plan by partnering with a public health training center (PHTC).

The PCDOH has been partnering with the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s NYC-Long Island-Lower Tri-County PHTC to enhance training for national accreditation. The strategic plan helps focus the efforts of the health department to better evaluate and serve the health needs of the community.

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

United for the Troops:

united for the troops

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Retired Putnam County Highway employee and member of PC Volunteer Firemen’s Association member Walter J. Swarm

Walter J. Swarm, a lifelong resident of Mahopac Falls, NY passed away on Friday November 1, 2013 at the age of 86. He was born in Baldwin Place, NY on March 21, 1927, the son of Carl and Anna Johnson Swarm.

Walt graduated from Mahopac High School Class of 1947. He served in the US Navy during WWII and is a member of VFW Post 5491 in Mahopac. Walt retired as a shop foreman in 1995 after 37 years with the Putnam County Highway Department.

Walt was a life member of the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department, where he served in many capacities including being its youngest elected Chief and serving on the Board of Directors. He was a member of the Putnam County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, the Putnam County Fire Chiefs Association, the Hudson Valley Firemen’s Association as well as FASNY.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Dorothy. His daughters Enis Marie Bick of Passaic, NJ, Gloria (Jimmy) Troy of Newburgh, NY, Marion (Artie) Becker of Putnam Lake, NY and Shirley (Harvey) Wills of Cusseta, GA, grandchildren P.C., J. R., Matthew, Christina, Antoinette, Joe (Heather), Erin, Jennifer and Shelby and his great granddaughter Kayla. He is also survived by his step-children, Ronald and Joseph (Adrienne) LeBlanc and Renee Dazi, and his 7 step- grandchildren, Tommy, Deanna, Denise, Nicholas, Matthew, Juliette and Alexis. He was predeceased by his first wife, Edith, his son-in-law, Phil, his brothers, Oscar, Harry, Eric and George and his sisters Alice and Marian.

Visiting will be held on Sunday November 3 from 2-4 & 7-9 pm and Monday November 4 from 5-9 pm at Joseph J. Smith Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday November 5 at 11 am at The First Presbyterian Church in Mahopac Falls with interment to follow at Ballard-Barrett Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department.


Brewster, NY—Putnam County Department of Health officials were notified by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) last week that two Putnam residents were positively confirmed for Powassan (POW) virus, a tick-borne illness. The two affected individuals are recovering at home.

POW virus, like Lyme disease, is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer (black-legged) tick. The POW virus can be transmitted in as little as 15 minutes; in contrast, most Lyme infections require the tick be attached for at least 36 to 48 hours before the bacterium can be transmitted. Since POW is a virus, antibiotics are not effective, as they are with the bacterial Lyme disease. Signs and symptoms of POW infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. People with severe POW virus illness often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain that may occur.

Fortunately, POW virus is significantly less common than the Lyme bacterium. Since 2001, New York State has reported 16 known cases of POW; 5 of these were Putnam County residents. A recent study of ticks in the 7 Hudson Valley counties found that Putnam had the highest rate of POW virus infection. Still, the rate is low at only 3.84 percent of ticks. The research was conducted by the NYSDOH in collaboration with the Carey Institute of Ecosystem Studies, based in Millbrook, N.Y.

“Preventing tick bites is the first defense in preventing all tick-borne infections,” said Allen Beals, M.D., Commissioner of Health, “but especially important given the rapid transmission of the POW virus. This illness gives another reason to seriously consider applying a repellent containing DEET, which has been highly effective in preventing bites.”

People who frequent wooded and tall, grassy areas, such as hunters, campers, hikers, gardeners, and outdoor workers, are more likely to be exposed to ticks. The deer tick cannot fly or jump, but instead rests on low-lying vegetation and attaches to passing animals and people. The risk is greatest along trails in the woods and on the edges of properties with tall vegetation, where the higher humidity levels are ideal for tick survival. However, ticks are also carried into lawns and gardens by pets, mice and other small animals.

Decrease your chances of a tick bite by taking the following precautions:

  • Tuck pants into socks and shirt into pants when in wooded and grassy areas.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to spot ticks more easily.
  • Check for ticks on clothing or skin frequently. Brush them off before they can attach to your skin.
  • Do a thorough “tick check” of your entire body daily. Pay particular attention to the back of the knees, behind the ears, the scalp, the armpits and your back.
  • Repellents containing DEET have been effective in preventing tick bites. If you decide to use a tick repellent, apply carefully and follow all label directions. Bathe or shower and change clothes when you go back inside.
  • Do not apply repellents directly to children. Apply to your hands and then transfer it to the child. Never apply repellents to children’s hands or face.
  • No one should apply repellents near eyes, nose or mouth.

If an attached tick is found, remove it immediately. The Health Department recommends the following method: (1) Use fine-tipped tweezers to carefully grasp the mouth-parts—not the body—of the tick, close to the skin. (2) Gently and steadily pull the tick out without twisting or squeezing. (3) Wash the bite area thoroughly. (4) Apply antiseptic.

For more information about POW virus and other tick-borne diseases, call the Putnam County Department of Health at (845) 808-1390 or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

The Health Department’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our website at; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.