Summit County welcomes 9Health Fair for 26th year
Saturday, April 23, 7 a.m.-noon
Summit High School
16201 Highway 9
Frisco, CO 80443
Health-care costs in Summit County might remain high, but everyone’s yearly chance to get discounted screenings and information arrives this upcoming weekend.
The 9Health Fair, a longtime annual tradition in the community and sponsored by Summit County Rotary, is back at Summit High School this Saturday, April 23 from 7 a.m. to noon, providing more tests and medical guidance than ever before. Aside from standard blood tests as in years past, the focus is now on comprehensive resources for living well locally.
“In general, I think a lot of people used to use the 9Health Fair as a stop in to get your blood drawn and walk away,” said Suzanne Lifgren, marketing manager for St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, another main sponsor. “We’ve really worked hard to create a Wellness Zone as well as add 10 other screenings to this event, so that you can stay a little bit and understand all of the parameters that can affect your health.”
The blood chemistry screening, of course, is still the bread and butter of the fair, and participants can take advantage of the test at a fraction of the regular rate. What would normally cost as much as $350 including the office visit with a primary care physician or at the hospital comes in at just $35. Many other screenings are also available for free or deeply reduced prices.
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As for other event offerings based on education and health-care alternatives, for example, volunteer staff will be on hand to assist with such needs as managing pre-diabetes questions. Specific to this inquiry, representatives from Natural Grocers, Mountain River Naturopathic — a holistic medicine practitioner on Main Street in Frisco — and registered dieticians will be available to help those interested in more natural blood-sugar management methods.
“You get a bigger base of knowledge than just your screening results,” said Lifgren. “That really could help people develop a health and wellness plan that works within their lifestyle.”
This year’s theme of overall health education also has the Summit County Sheriff’s Office partnering with the county’s social services to provide training to residents on the proper collection and destruction of unused pharmaceutical drugs.
“There’s a huge problem in this country and in Summit County with opioid addiction that often starts with prescriptions that progresses to heroin use,” said Don Parsons, president of SASMC’s community advisory board. “A lot of those prescription drugs hang around in medicine cabinets after just a couple uses and are then diverted by kids and others, and causes a huge source of the problem with controlled substances.”
Parsons, a retired general surgeon with Kaiser Permanente, has been involved with the 9Health Fair since its inception in Summit County about 26 years ago and has seen its notable growth. Now into its 38th year in the state overall, the local version has seen changes through that more than quarter century, and the resources delivered continue in their importance even if the nation’s increased attention on health care now provides similar options elsewhere.
Subsidies and no-cost preventative medical services through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers are more common today since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Employers that provide health insurance have also stepped up involvement in workers’ wellness plans to help them manage their health. Regardless, as many as 1,000 attendees and hundreds of volunteers participate in Summit’s 9Health Fair as a matter of habit, and to take advantage of the low costs.
“It’s a busy day,” said Parsons. “It’s like an annual high school reunion where people see each other there (whom) they haven’t seen for a year. It’s not as it once was as a unique provider, but it’s still quite valuable and a lot of people show up.”
The casual atmosphere is by design. Whether it’s that the average, healthy individual may not take the time or make the effort to get in for recommended yearly testing, or that others might think of a visit to the doctor or local clinic as somewhat intimidating, the 9Health Fair furnishes a community-centric and welcoming setting for all.
“It is almost a social, fun environment,” said Lifgren, “and I think that kind of takes the pressure away from normally getting (tests) done at a hospital. An educated patient is always more apt to get the outcome that they’re looking for, so we always encourage the public to take charge of their health and know their numbers.”
From tutorials and instruction on physical therapy and body balance and strength, body mass (BMI) index testing, oral health and optometry screenings, and a stepped-up dermatology evaluation this year, there is almost certainly something for everyone. High Country Healthcare is also helping to again provide a previously discontinued blood glucose test that had gotten too expensive for the event.
And for those still only interested in getting the routine blood test, there’s good news as well — no more fasting. Recent studies show that avoiding eating before a general blood chemistry test is no longer necessary as of last year. But, one more, the event is about more than simply fingers getting stuck by needles.
“There’s much more there than just the blood screening,” said Parsons. “This is an opportunity for whole community to be engaged, and thinking about their health and health care. The more people can do to take charge and own their own health care, I think that will be good for all of us.”
Registration for the 9Health Fair in Frisco at Summit High School (16201 Highway 9) is currently open online, or those who wish to attend may also just drop in this Saturday morning, April 23. For more information, to register for screening, or to also sign up as a volunteer, visit: http://www.9healthfair.org.
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