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Hospital to offer free cholesterol screening, health fair

Michele Adams, Kathy Pidilla, Dr. Woody Jones, and Amy James Linton discuss a few of the models showing internal and external repairs of bones that will be on display at the Surgery Department’s booth at the MDMH Health Fair, Saturday. The free cholesterol screening registration provides results the same morning. The Health Fair will run until noon.

MICHELLEL MCCONNAHA – Ravalli Republic

It’s all about the numbers, and learning yours at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital’s free screening on Saturday is an excellent start.

This is national hospital week and to celebrate, MDMH has a free cholesterol screening, health and wellness classes, and a full health fair.

Sonny LaSalle is the Daly Hospital Foundation Steering Committee co-chair.

“The overall health of the community is really important,” said LaSalle. “It’s not that we want to put ourselves out of business by having healthier people. But it’s just smart to have people that care about their health and their family’s health and are interested in taking the time to learn about health. It’s not just a screening, there are educational opportunities going on at the same time.”

“The hospital is focused on serving the needs of the community and this is a preventative screening that we can offer that shines the light on your overall health,” said MDMH marketing director Amy James Linton. “It is information that people really need to know and we’ll help them understand what that information means to them. That is critical for identifying possible health issues that you have to get control over. We invite the community to come celebrate national hospital week with us, as we continue to work together to build a healthier community.”

Michele Adams is head of the hospital’s laboratory, which has a full-time staff of 19 people. The cholesterol event takes 11 staff members. The laboratory provides service to the hospital 24/7, so having 11 employees available to work Saturday morning is a challenge.

“We all do it with a smile,” said Adams. “It’s one of the few times we’re able to service the community in a positive setting – usually they aren’t feeling well, or are in the hospital and we’re the last people they want to see because we’re sticking needles in them. This is one time they are happy to see us, because we are doing about $100 worth of service, for free.”

Lipid profiles include cholesterol, triglycerides, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol and glucose.

Dr. Woody Jones said the screening is important.

“It will help us predict coronary artery disease,” said Jones. “It is important for patients with diabetes, for patients with high blood pressure and overall for general good health. Higher cholesterol patients have lots of disease processes that go on that, if you know what your numbers are, then you can address them and get your numbers down, so that you live longer and healthier and have less medical problems.

“Glucose is another test we are doing – you could be developing diabetes early and be totally unaware of it because not all people who are in the early stages of diabetes have symptoms yet. The earlier you can identify those factors by diet and weight loss, you can get your sugar down and your cholesterol down. Not everyone needs medication. Lifestyle changes can help with this. It helps to identify if you are at risk for these things.”

Kathy Pidilla, RN, BSN, is the MDMH head of surgery. She will be at one of the 22 booths at the Health Fair.

“The theme of the Surgical Services booth is Orthopedics through the Ages,” said Pidilla. “We have two great orthopedic surgeons here at Marcus Daly, and I wanted people to know that we don’t just take care of the older population, but we take care of the younger population as well.”

The surgery booth will highlight how they repair injuries. They will have models showing internal and external repairs of bones and hope to have cameras to show how they perform minimally invasive surgery for shoulders and knees. Also, the Rehabilitation Department will have a display next to surgery.

“Often after surgery, people have rehab – we have a fabulous rehabilitation center here,” said Pidilla. “They will be demonstrating exercises you may do after surgery or exercises that you can do to prevent the need for surgery.

“We’ll also have people sharing our quality assurance – we have great quality assurance here.”

Marcus Daly Memorial hospital has very low numbers compared to infection rates after surgery nationwide. MDMH has a .51 rate compared to the 1.9 national average.

“We are very proud of that – not only that the service is a wide-spread service but that we give quality care as well,” Pidilla said.

They will also have a list of 13 surgeons and other surgeries performed at MDMH. Bitterroot Valley Eye Care will also be at the health fair to discuss the surgeries they perform.

This is the second year of the health fair and they expect more than 300 community members will come. It is expanded to include a class to explain the cholesterol results handed to patients that morning. Dr. Rolf Holle, Marcus Daly Sleep Center medical director, will be available for an hour at 8 a.m. to answer questions about sleep apnea or other sleeping problems people may be experiencing.

Cholesterol screening registration opens at 6:30 a.m. and screenings are from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. They will have cholesterol screening results available and Cholesterol Class to decipher them, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., and the Health Fair will run until noon. New this year is they will have chairs for people waiting to be tested and a ‘take-a-number’ system to allow people to walk around and visit the fair booths.

Tests available include eye tests, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

“They estimate there are 7,500 people in this county that don’t have health insurance,” said LaSalle. “It is an opportunity to get a look at their health.”

“We have watched the community take an interest in their health,” said James Linton. “We’ve seen it through the classes we’ve offered and the educational programs. This is just one more step in that direction to encourage people to take control of their health. We are helping them do that.”

“That’s the only way that our federal health care system – called Medicare – is going to survive in the future is for people to be healthier when the turn 65 and need it less,” said LaSalle. “That’s the only viable economic solution for Medicare other than charging more or not kicking it in at 65. From a service standpoint to maintain the service that we have in Medicare is for people not to use it so much. The only way to do that is for them to be a lot healthier when they hit 65.”

“It is such a pleasure to work with each and every employee at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital,” said James Linton. “They demonstrate level of care for each other, our patients and family members. I am so excited for members of our community to meet the hospital staff at the health fair. These medical professionals take pride in delivering quality care daily to every patient and family member seeking health care services, as well as those being transferred via the ambulance. These people are inspirational in so many ways and truly dedicated to our community.”

MDMH recommends that residents participating in the free cholesterol screening drink plenty of water, and do not eat breakfast or drink caffeinated beverages for 8 to 10 hours prior to screening. Cholesterol screening participants must be 18 years or older, residents of Ravalli County and bring identification such as a driver’s license.

On Saturday, enter through the main entrance of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, 1200 Westwood Drive, Hamilton. For more information visit mdmh.org.

Reach reporter Michelle McConnaha at 363-3300 or michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com.

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Staff Reporter

Reporter at The Ravalli Republic