Monday Medical: 10 things to know about YVMC

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“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 continually are discovering “new” programs.

The first thing you might 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 that are either free or at a very 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 might not know about your community hospital:

1. 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. A reminder: There is a program about sleep disorders at 6 p.m. today at YVMC.

2. Community Health Resource Center: This excellent benefit has more than 1,500 free resources. It is more than just health text books and articles. The CHRC has cookbooks, books on nutrition, fitness, memoirs/biographies and even novels related to health and healing. The library does free Internet searches on behalf of patrons and is open to the public Monday through Friday, staffed by volunteers. It is located near the YVMC lobby across from SportsMed.

3. 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.

4. 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 through 59 for an affordable cost of $15.

5. 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. It is the only health clinic in Northwest Colorado that specializes solely in occupational health. Its location in the Medical Office Building also is convenient for services needed from YVMC’s laboratory or diagnostic imaging. Another fact you might not know: Walk-ins are welcome at YampaWorks.

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

7. Cardiology services: YVMC has increased its cardiology diagnostics, therapy services and education. Two full-time cardiologists have started practicing in Steamboat Springs and Craig within the past three years. Our expanding, free educational programs are focused on awareness and prevention of cardiac disease.

8. 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.

9. 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 residents helped to make this vital service a reality.

10. Integrated Health: YVMC’s newest service, added in May, offers complementary and alternative medical practices alongside conventional medicine. By integrating the two philosophies, patients receive the most holistic approach available within a hospital setting. Services include but are not limited to acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy, counseling, massage therapy 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 about your community hospital is to bookmark our website, www.yvmc.org, and visit it regularly. We encourage you to “yvm-see us.”

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

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