Free health screenings Saturday in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Free health screenings Saturday in Steamboat

YVMC health fair offers variety of tests, information

Margaret Hair

— More than 150 volunteers will be on hand to direct an anticipated crowd of more than 1,000 people Saturday during Yampa Valley Medical Center’s “Fall into Health” community health fair.

Local healthcare providers will offer free health screenings and low-cost blood tests at the event, which also features dozens of informational booths about a variety of health topics. The community health fair is from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

“We want to give back to the community, and we want people to take charge of their heath, and this is just a wonderful opportunity to bring together health care providers and people in the community,” said Christine McKelvie, director of public relations for YVMC.

YVMC has sponsored a community health fair for almost 30 years, said Lisa Bankard, wellness and community education director at YVMC. Health fair screenings are not meant to take the place of a yearly check-up, but are a way to supplement it, Bankard said.

Health fair organizers moved the event to the Yampa Valley Medical Center campus from Steamboat Springs Middle School in 2008, changing the date of what was previously known as the 9Health Fair from the spring to the fall. Lab results once processed in Denver are now done locally, allowing residents easier access and the ability to share those results with their doctors and trend them over time, McKelvie said.

Four available blood tests are the only thing at the health fair that require payment, and they are offered at greatly reduced prices, Bankard said.

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“If you were to get a combination of a couple of those tests without health insurance, you would probably see a bill up in the $300 to $450 range,” she said.

Several screening or education booth topics are new this year, including acupuncture, asthma and exercise, nicotine addiction counseling, pain management, peripheral artery disease, radon testing and stress management, according to the YVMC Web site. A hemoglobin A1C blood test for diabetes management also is new.

Saturday’s health fair is an hour longer than in past years. Still, Bankard recommends looking at a list of available tests and services at yvmc.org before attending. Some of the most popular services are foot, skin, vision, hearing, cardiovascular and various preventive screenings, Bankard said.

“The more preventive people can be, the better. If they can pick anything up early, that’s always a good thing,” she said.

Bring unused drugs

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide will collect unused prescription drugs during the health fair at the Steamboat Mental Health booth.

The goal is to get unused drugs out of homes and disposed of properly to avoid any danger of them getting into the hands of youths who might misuse them, said Ronna Autrey, suicide prevention coordinator for Steamboat Mental Health and REPS. Autrey said she is aware of instances in which prescription drugs left in a household have been misused by local teens.

“People just forget, and they forget they haven’t taken it all, but kids are getting into this stuff,” Autrey said.

Flushing drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash are not safe methods of disposal, she said. YVMC has agreed to dispose of the drugs in a safe manner, she said.

For more information about REPS or the drug drop-off, call Autrey at 875-2941 or 846-8182.

– To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

If you go

What: “Fall Into Health” community health fair

When: 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday

Where: Yampa Valley Medical Center, 1024 Central Park Drive

Cost: Free screenings and education about various health topics will be available; blood tests cost $15 to $30

Call: 879-1322

For more

– Pre-registration for the tests ends at noon today; walk-ins are welcome Saturday.

– Anyone planning to take a blood test should fast for 12 hours before the test and drink lots of water to help get a good blood draw, said Lisa Bankard, wellness and community education director at YVMC. There will be food and drinks at the event. Coffee is allowed before blood tests, but it must be black, Bankard said. Anyone on prescription medication should continue taking it as directed, she said.

– For a full list of health fair offerings and providers, go to http://www.yvmc.org.

Know before you go

Yampa Valley Medical Center offers four blood tests at its health fair:

– Full “health profile” measuring 31 components including cholesterol, glucose, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, liver function, kidney function, electrolytes and iron; $30

– Complete blood count of red and white blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets; $15

– Prostate specific antigen for men only; $25

– Hemoglobin A1C giving an estimated blood glucose level during the past few months, helpful for diabetes management; $25