How a Fernley woman is helping to lower costs of prescription medicine |

How a Fernley woman is helping to lower costs of prescription medicine

S. Mattingly
Special to the LVN
A Fernley woman is helping to reduce the cost of prescription medicine especially to vulnerable adults.

Catherine, a resident of Fernley, is someone you quickly realize after the first few moments of conversation, has lived an extraordinary life — one most of us only dream of. She is also one of the tens of thousands in her state who have faced their share of health related problems and near bankruptcy, the result of mounting hospital bills, and the high cost of prescription medicines necessary for recovery.

“I am back on track these days,” she said, counting her blessings. And when her friends ask why she hasn’t decided to retire, she is quick to point out, “Because I am the happiest when I am helping people.”

There were approximately 600,000 uninsured residents of the state prior to the ACA enrollment and Medicaid expansion going into affect. That number will most likely change dramatically. Even so, many thousands will still remain uninsured or underinsured and without prescription coverage — vulnerable, one medical catastrophe away from financial ruin.

These days Catherine spends her time working to help those in her state who, for a variety of reasons, can’t afford to pay for high priced prescription medicines. As a representative of Watertree Health, she has been able to enlist the support of local organizations and the medical community to help hand out the company’s free prescription discount card in places like Reno, Fallon, Carson City and Tahoe.

She likes talking with local pharmacists, working with them so that people don’t have to choose between skipping a dose of their medicines or simply not filling a prescription based solely on cost.

“I feel like I am doing my part to help people in my community get better,” she said.

And it seems to be working.

Regina McCreary, director of the Food Pantry in Fernley, one of the organizations helping to pass out the free card, says she has noticed the difference the card has made since they started handing them out.

“Many of our patrons look healthier and are feeling better.” And about the discounts, she added, “I know of a heart medicine that sold for $100 rather than $400,” using the card.

The cost of prescription medicines is on the rise. And for people with insurance, so are co-payments and list of medications not covered. One reason points to the simple fact that better, more advance treatments are more expensive. Others say more people now suffer chronic ailments and treating them has become a billion dollar industry. Whatever the reasons driving costs up, it is nothing compared to the health care cost we all share when people get sicker because they can’t afford to get better.

Gaining access to affordable health care is only one piece in the multi-layered and complex issue of improving America’s health care system. Access to affordable prescription medicines is a key component in bringing down the over $2 trillion dollar health care bill the country has been faced with.

Finding health care solutions was the catalyst behind CEO Matt Herfield, starting Watertree Health at the height of the financial crisis.

“We found a way to help people afford their medicines at a time when there was significant need,” he said. “Today, we think our prescription discount card is a perfect complement to the ACA because even with

insurance, you can use it to help fill in the gaps in coverage. And the discounted prices are often lower than co-pays.”

The card is also a great way to save if you have to meet a high deductible before your insurance kicks in to cover prescription costs. But Matt reminds that you should check with your insurance company to see if the medicines purchased using the card, count towards your deductible. Though it is hard to say that discounts will be the same at every pharmacy and on every prescription; on average the card does offer between 25 percent-75 percent savings and no medication is excluded, it is good on all FDA approved generic and brand prescriptions, including those for your pet. As well, the card is accepted at

almost all pharmacies.

For Catherine, the best thing about this card, aside from it being free, is how easy it is to get one and to begin saving on medicines immediately.

“The company,” she said, “has made it simple: there are no requirements, no paperwork, and the card is pre-activated. Plus one card is all you need for an entire family.”

To learn more about Watertree Health and the prescription discount card, visit In addition to the Food Pantry, the card is also available at C*A*R*E* Chest, Renown Regional Medical Centers, Northern Nevada Medical Centers, St. Mary’s Medical Centers, Sierra Surgery, Carson Valley Medical Center/Minden Family Medicine and the Lahontan Medical Center. For the complete list of health care providers distributing the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, or if you have questions and need additional information, send an email to