Monday Medical: Top 10 things you may not know about YVMC

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Editor’s note: This column has been updated since it was first published on July 19, 2010

“I didn’t know the hospital had that!”

We hear this comment frequently. Health care in our community has come a long way since Doc Willett started operating the town’s hospital in 1914. Yampa Valley Medical Center’s physicians and care teams now provide such a broad spectrum of services that it is no wonder people are continually discovering new programs.

The first thing you may not know about YVMC is that we are a nonprofit hospital. We consider it our responsibility to serve the community. In addition to medical services, YVMC offers many other benefits to the community either free or at an affordable cost.

Our most popular community benefit is the Fall into Health Community Health Fair that provides free and low-cost health checks. However, there are so many other services you might not expect from a hospital in a rural community. Here are just 10 items you may not (yet) know about your community hospital:

■ Taking Care of Me free programs: Fourteen years ago, YVMC held its first program focused on women’s health. There were 160 people in attendance. Today, YVMC’s long-running community benefit covers a variety of health topics. The series allows the community to learn about health issues from local physicians in a comfortable setting at no cost.

■ Community Health Resource Center: This excellent benefit has more than 1,500 free resources. In addition to health textbooks, the center has cookbooks, books on nutrition, fitness books, memoirs/biographies and novels related to health and healing. The library’s volunteers do free Internet searches for anyone who requests them. Open to the public Mondays through Fridays, the resource center is near the YVMC lobby across from SportsMed.

■ Financial assistance programs: We are committed to meeting community needs for health care. In 2009, YVMC provided more than $3.7 million in charitable care to patients who applied and qualified for financial assistance. Additionally, our billing department assists patients in setting up payment plans.

■ SportsMed Concussion Management Program: In 2010, SportsMed added its newest service. The ImPACT baseline test can be used to evaluate a concussion later on and tell the athlete when it is safe to return to play. The baseline test is available to athletes ages 10 to 59 for $15.

■ YampaWorks/occupational health: YampaWorks provides employers and their employees with a multitude of services designed to prevent, treat and manage care for work-related injuries and illnesses. Co-located with our outreach laboratory in the Medical Office Building, it is the only health clinic in Northwest Colorado that specializes solely in occupational health. Another fact you may not know: walk-ins are welcome.

■ Diabetes Education Program: For the past decade the goal of this service has been to help individuals live successfully with diabetes. Through education and support, we give people the tools to independently manage this condition.

■ Cardiology Services: YVMC continues to increase its cardiology diagnostics, therapy services and education. The newest high-tech addition is a 256-slice Siemens Somaton Definition Flash CT scanner. Two full-time cardiologists now are practicing in Steamboat Springs and Craig. Our expanding, free educational programs are focused on awareness and prevention of cardiac disease.

■ Infusion/Chemotherapy Center: This center offers a wide variety of infusion services including chemotherapy, allergy shots and IV infusions for chronic disorders. YVMC has been providing chemotherapy and oncology for 20 years. We continue to expand our cancer care services, helping patients navigate through what can be a confusing and frightening process.

■ Digital Mammography: Women cheered when this service arrived at YVMC in October 2009, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Penguin Plunge fundraiser and generous contributions from many local residents helped to make this vital service a reality.

■ Integrated Health: YVMC’s newest service, added in May, offers complementary and alternative medical practices alongside conventional medicine. By integrating the two philosophies, YVMC provides patients the most holistic approach available within a hospital setting. Services include but are not limited to acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy, counseling, massage therapy, yoga classes and nutritional counseling.

We do our best to communicate our services and programs through this column, newspaper and radio advertising, our e-newsletter Thriving Together, and other methods. Yet we know there are many people who haven’t connected with some of our most vital medical programs and community benefits.

The No. 1 way to access more details and get the latest news about your community hospital is to bookmark our website, www.yvmc.org, and visit it regularly. We encourage you to “yvm-see us” online and find us on Facebook.

Riley Polumbus is communications specialist at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at riley.polumbus@yvmc.org.

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