By ERIN MURDOCK/Montana State News

A price tag cannot be placed on good health, but it can be an extremely valuable savings account.

As part as an effort to promote good health throughout the community, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital hosted a Health Screening Day on Saturday, March 28, which provided over 500 Bozeman residents free health screenings and reduced-price lab screenings for children and adults. The event required no registration and was free to the public.

Accompanying the free or reduced-cost services, Bozeman Deaconess provided wellness tips and educational exercises. The event took place from 7 a.m. to noon at the Bitterroot room, located just inside of the hospital main entrance.

The Health Screening Day was especially beneficial for Bozeman residents without insurance, providing a more affordable alternative for health screenings and lab screenings.

“While I have insurance, it seems like the cost for certain screenings are sometimes be higher than I anticipated … Events like this are nice because it is cheaper and I know exactly how much I will owe – that is if I owe anything at all,” Randi White, a 20-year-old MSU student, said.

Of the 27 different screenings offered, some of the free screenings included: Asthma, hearing, heart rate monitoring, oximetry and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bone density, blood pressure/BMI (body mass index), glucose screenings and vision screenings for anyone older than 7 years-of-age.

Several lab services were offered at discounted rates. One of the reduced rate services was a Comprehensive Chemistry Screening, which was offered at a significantly reduced price of $35 as opposed to the regular fee of $175. This particular screening measured cholesterol (HDL, LDL), triglycerides and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels. Additional lab tests that were offered for a reduced rate of $20, which included: Colon cancer, Hemoglobin, Prostate Specific Antigen, C-Reactive Protein Screens and Blood Typing.

To promote safety, the hospital offered educational events that proved to be useful for the whole family. The events varied, as one of the events was a “Bear Attack Stimulator” while another event “Medication Review with a Pharmacist,” which provided medication users with a dialogue that allowed the user to ask pharmacists questions and voice any concerns they may have had.

A popular event was the “Alcohol Impairment Goggles,” where users were able to try on vision distorting goggles that mimicked the effect alcohol consumption has on the body. “Initially it was fun to try on the goggles and see how much they affected me, but it really does allow the user to realize how much, and in what ways, alcohol affects them,” said participant Genna Shaia.

Other events included the “Seat Belt Convincer” which stimulated the effects of a car crash on the body and “Fire Extinguisher Safety” which included training and safety tips for the home.

To ensure that they were catering to all constituents, especially families, the hospital had several activities specifically created for children. These included fun stations, such as egg decorating, meeting Spiderman and face painting, but also provided more serious options for children as well. Children were eligible for vision, asthma, and facial skin check screenings. Parents were also able to receive pediatric dentist oral health recommendations as well have their children undergo bike helmet fitting sessions and learn about proper car seat installations.

This year, the hospital has extended their services to provide optimum affordability for Bozeman residents and is offering rain checks for the free and reduced cost health screenings. Interested individuals have up to four weeks after the event in which they can have the screenings done at the same reduced or free cost.

For more information on the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and the services they offer, visit bozemandeaconess.org/.

– Edited by William Neville

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