Health fest: Save the date, maybe your life

GREENFIELD — For more than 30 years, Hancock Regional Hospital has offered low-cost testing to Hancock County residents at a festive spring event aimed at keeping people healthy.

The Heartbeats Health Festival, scheduled for Saturday, has become a well-attended tradition, said Linda Garrity, hospital community educa-tion coordinator.

The cost of health care and insurance deductibles are on the rise, making the event more important than ever for the uninsured and underinsured, she said. Often patients say they put off important health testing because of the cost.

“It’s a day and age when people are encouraged to be accountable and to have knowledge of their own health,” Garrity said.

Comprehensive blood tests and screenings for skin cancer are among those being offered.

The tests cost between $15 and $50, which Garrity said is much less than what they can cost at a doctor’s office or hospital. For example, a simple blood test ordered by a doctor could cost a patient several hundred dollars.

She said the hospital absorbs much of the cost of the event.

Director of diagnostic imaging Lisa Wood said screenings are the best practice to catch disease early, but many patients aren’t able to pay insurance deductibles and wind up putting off screenings that could save their lives.

“It’s important to increase awareness, increase screening opportunities so we can save lives,” she said.

Organizers estimate about 1,000 people will come through the hospital’s doors Saturday during the event.

Though Garrity expects the day to be busy, staff members are ready to get patients in and out as quickly as possible.

She said many will come for the low-cost blood testing.

In addition to a variety of tests, more than 40 health and wellness vendors will offer services such as free massages and body mass index checks.

Attendees who wish to have lab screenings must register at the Hancock County Surgery Center entrance, and imaging screenings must be scheduled by calling 317-468-4600. Attendees who have scheduled appointments must enter through the main hospital.

Certain screenings at the Heartbeats Health Festival require advance preparation. You might need to fast for 12 hours prior to taking some tests, such as the general blood chemistry test.

Attendees can pay for the tests with cash, check, credit card or health savings account.

Staff will work to get them signed up for the hospital’s patient portal, which will allow them to view tests results online. Attendees who sign up for the patient portal will be able to view their results in as few as three days, Garrity said.

Once patients get results, they’re encouraged to take them to their physician for further evaluation. Staff members will be on hand, however, to point out any red flags.

Rob Matt, vice president of development, said the festival allows the hospital to advance its mission to provide preventive care.

“In the spirit of us playing a role of a more proactive health care provider, the Heartbeats Health Festival becomes increasingly important,” he said. “It gives us the opportunity to help people get in front of health-related issues they may be having and use our services to help them overcome those particular issues.”

If you go

What: Heartbeats Health Festival

Where: Hancock Regional Hospital, 801 N. State St., Greenfield

When: 7 a.m. to noon Saturday

Screening information

Lab screenings

  • $30 chemistry profile (requires 12-hour fasting)
  • $15 hemoglobin A1C
  • $20 cardiovascular risk marker
  • $25 cardiovascular risk screening
  • $25 prostate specific antigen
  • $15 thyroid stimulating hormone
  • $50 vitamin D

Diagnostic and imaging screenings

  • Free skin cancer screening
  • $49 cardiac score
  • $99 lung screen
  • $35 bone density scan
  • $35 each or $100 for all three arterial evaluations

EKGs

  • $10 and attendees must meet the following criteria to be scheduled: 40 or older, not currently under the supervision of a cardiologist, have a history of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and/or history of family heart disease.

Note: Some tests require appointments; call 468-4600 for more information.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.