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Heartbeats Health Fair to offer key screenings


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GREENFIELD ­— While hitting the early-morning garage sales this Saturday, you might consider getting a good deal on a bone scan.

That and more than a dozen other low-cost or free health screenings will be available at the 31st annual  Heartbeats Health Festival at Hancock Regional Hospital.

Many routine medical tests can be expensive. When ordered by a physician, even simple blood work can cost several hundred dollars.

The health fair, designed to reach those who need screenings but might not be able to afford them, will offer a litany of inexpensive medical tests and screenings, said Linda Garrity, hospital community education coordinator.

The tests include everything from a comprehensive blood chemistry profile to thyroid tests. Prices range from $15 to $30.

The fair also offers diagnostic imaging tests by appointment. Those include carotid, abdominal aorta and lower extremity arterial evaluations ($35 each or $100 for all three); lung screens ($99); bone density tests for women over 50 ($35); and others.

Appointments for some of the image screenings are filled. However, openings are available for others, and Garrity encouraged interested residents to call to check on availability.

In addition to the low- and no-cost screenings, nearly 40 vendors will have booths set up to offer services and screenings.

Garrity said the festival continues to be popular with local health care providers and vendors.

New this year will be advice and counseling on advance health directives and living wills.

The hospital’s hospice and palliative care department will help residents decide how to approach the difficult decisions surrounding end-of-life treatment.

“We have a private space this year where people can sit down, ask questions and get help with those issues,” Garrity said.

Though organizers are expecting a strong turnout once again this year, hospital lab team leader Janet Strauch said the festival will be fully staffed and ready for the crowds.

A number of hospital personnel and technicians are volunteering time at the event, and those who come for the screenings should expect to wait a maximum of 90 minutes to get through the process.

Last year, lines started forming outside hospital doors as early as 4:45 a.m., but Strauch said that isn’t necessary.

“If people come in when they get up, it tends to run pretty smoothly,” she said. “Most people won’t have to wait much more than an hour or hour and a half, depending on the test.”

The hospital will not submit any invoices to insurance carriers for the tests; however, residents can use their health care savings accounts to help cover costs, Strauch said.

A good part of Saturday’s traffic may well be driven by the recent move toward higher deductibles contained in many health insurance polices to curb costs and the volatility generated by the Affordable Care Act, Garrity said. 

“It will be interesting to see in the years to come how this works, but for the near future, I think we’ll be seeing more and more people,” Garrity said.

 

IF YOU GO

What: Heartbeats Health Festival

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

When: 7 a.m. to noon Saturday

 

SOME TESTS REQUIRE PREPARATION

 Certain screenings at the Heartbeats Health Festival require advance preparation. You may need to fast (water or black coffee only) for 12 hours prior to taking some tests such as the general blood chemistry test. Some tests, screenings or scans may also require an appointment. Call (317) 468-4600 to make an appointment.

For more information: Call (317) 468-4383 or visit www.hancockregionalhos pital.org. Click on “Wellness-education” at the top of the page, then look for the Heartbeats Health Festival link.

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