The Putnam Examiner

Open-Door Healthcare Facility Opens Doors Dec. 6

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After years of surveying the needs of the community, reviewing state requirements and obtaining permits, and finding and renovating an appropriate facility, Putnam County will see the first open-door healthcare facility open its doors to all residents come Dec. 6.

Lillian Jones of Visiting Nurses Services and Loretta Molinari of the American Cancer Society, both major players in the project’s healthcare task force, announced the official opening of the facility at the county’s health committee meeting on Nov. 15.

“This is a major endeavor we’ve anticipated for a very long time,” District 8 legislator and health committee chairman Sam Oliverio, Jr. said of the facility. “It’s hard to believe it’s here.”

During the meeting, Oliverio said discussion of an Open Door Family Medical Center for the uninsured and underinsured began in 2006. Since then, a task force took a careful approach in finding out who needs what in the community, receiving feedback from residents, building a network of physicians willing to provide their services, and navigating through the legalese and state-mandated requirements needed to construct a proper healthcare facility.

The outcome? The task force settled on 155 Main St. in Brewster, which is already home to Dr. Jay Zaslow’s medical practice. With a few renovations and updates made to the facility, Zaslow and his team will provide residents with what Jones called a “continuum of care”—medical, behavioral, dental—under the umbrella of the Open Door Family Medical Center federally-qualified program.

“It’s going to provide primary medical care as well as behavioral health,” Molinari said. “We’ve had a lot of conversations along the way so that there would be a lot of collaboration with what’s already here in Putnam to strengthen the services that we have by adding what we don’t have.”

Molinari added that dental health is of the biggest concerns of the county. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who also attended Nov. 15’s meeting, said that though families may have “top-of-the-line” healthcare plans, many still lack dental insurance and other additional services because they’re part of separate plans.

“People with the best healthcare plans tell me they don’t have dental for their kids or preventative treatment, vision or any additional care,” Odell said.

A community effort from the beginning stages of the task force in 2006, Molinari stressed the importance of taking stake in the health of fellow residents.

“We all need to be concerned about the health of our community because it’s going to be very costly to us,” Molinari said. “And we don’t want a community with illness.

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