When it comes to health care, the word free is rarely used, but the exception is the 9Health Fair taking place this Saturday at the Cortez Recreation Center from 7 a.m. to noon.
People attending will have access to a variety of consultations, health services and medical screenings for no cost or at greatly reduced prices. The goal is to encourage preventative health-care opportunities using local physicians and medical specialists.
“It’s a way to get people quality care who otherwise might not be able to afford it,” said Robyn Bragg, event organizer and director of clinical information services at Southwest Memorial Hospital.
“People can talk to doctors without paying for anything, and it’s a convenient way to have annual lab work done.”
A popular service is blood screening at a reduced cost. Twenty blood drawing specialists will be on hand to provide the service to minimize waiting times. The basic screening costs $30 and provides baseline information on cholesterol, blood glucose, liver, kidneys, thyroid and more.
Those planning to have blood drawn should not eat anything for 12 hours prior (beginning their fast by 7 p.m. Friday) and should not drink liquids with sugar or cream in them. However, participants are encouraged to drink plenty of plain water during the 12-hour fast and continue to take medications. Diabetics, however, should not fast. Drinking water and dressing warmly makes it easier for practitioners to draw blood.
Bragg advised people to arrive early. Last year 800 took advantage of the Cortez event, and more than 500 people attended the Mancos fair April 13.
“We have set it up so that while you are waiting in line to get blood drawn, you will be passing by doctors and booths to ask questions and get information,” she said.
For men older than 40, a prostrate screening is also available for $25 — a blood test that detects prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein that is only produced by the prostate. Elevated PSA levels may occur in men with prostate diseases or prostate cancers.
Patients receive results in layman’s terms in the mail within two weeks, and are encouraged to go over the results with their physician.
Free screenings are available for a variety of health issues including auditory, body mass index, breast screenings, lung function, nutrition, oral health, sleep apnea, skin, spinal and others.
To avoid waiting in line at the event to register, participants can register on line at 9healthfair.org. Results for blood tests for those who register on line will be delivered electronically and will be available sooner than results that are mailed.
Those who miss the Cortez health fair have one more chance to take advantage of the service on May 4 in Dove Creek, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the high school.