ELIZABETH HIGGINS The Daily Mountain Eagle Published November 03, 2007 3:17 AM CDT
Due to pleasant weather and the high number of vendors, Walker Baptist Medical Center had the largest health fair in several years on Friday at the Jasper Mall. “We’ve had an enormous turnout,” said Renae McKinney, the hospital’s director of public relations. “We were screening people before we actually opened. Before 11 o’clock, we did 100 cholesterol screenings. We’ve had great participation from local vendors and health providers.”
All participants giving screenings conducted more than last year’s health fair.
The largest increase was in the number of prostate cancer screenings. McKinney said numbers were so low last year she contemplated not having it this year, but on Friday the prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) booth did more than 20 screenings.
“I think there has been a heightened awareness for cancer in men,” McKinney said.
The cholesterol screening booth, which has been the most popular in previous years, did 300 screenings this year compared to last year’s 250.
Both the cholesterol and PSA booths did more screenings than it has in three years, according to McKinney.
Representatives from Perry Eye and Vision Center did more than 75 vision screenings.
“The people coming here know that they need a vision screening,” Brandie Taylor, optician, said. “They’re looking for us because they know they have problems driving or reading.”
Taylor said about half of the people screened showed signs of needing vision correction.
“If they don’t have a current eye doctor or they don’t have insurance, we give them a $20 coupon to come in,” she said. “They can take that off of their eye exam.”
Many of the other booths saw a large number of people wanting to receive information on services each provides.
Sue Parnell, director of community relations at Northwest Alabama Mental Health Center, and Sheila Story, RN with the WBMC behavioral medicine unit, said they gave out 350 stickers that turn colors to measure stress levels.
“People don’t always want to talk about stress or anxiety because it’s mental health,” Parnell said. “It’s not a bad thing to have a depressive disorder or to have a stress or anxiety disorder because we can work with the client and help them overcome those situations. There are a lot of people that have those feelings. We hope we’ve made it a pleasure for somebody to come and see us about these things.”
Sarah Long, WBMC patient access supervisor, said they gave out a lot of forms and information on registering for Medicaid and AllKids, but did not get to sign anyone up for the insurance assistance programs.
“We tell them we can help them, but there are parts of it we send with them,” Long said. “They have to have payroll stubs and things like that, so they had to take these forms home anyway. A lot of them have just stopped and said, ‘hey, we need a form.’ We explain it to them and they take them home.”
Also, Dr. Carol Adams spoke to people about a new varicose veins treatment she will be offering soon. The treatment is done by inserting a fiber optic probe into the vein to close it off making blood flow to healthier veins, therefore minimizing the appearance of varicose veins.
“It’s really nice. We’re really excited about it,” Adams said.
There were several first-time vendors who did well at the health fair this year. One of these was Respiratory Associates, which provides respiratory home medical equipment.
“It’s been great. We’ve had a wonderful turnout. We ran out of flyers early. We’ve given out 115 pens. They were gone in no time,” said Steve Henderson owner of Respiratory Associates. “A lot of people have the breathing machines we carry. They’ve been wanting information on them and on what their insurance will cover.”
Another newcomer to the health fair was The Arc of Walker County. Joanna Brand, Arc administrative director, said she gave out plenty of information on the Arc’s Early Intervention, Early Head Start, Pre-K and Day Habilitation programs.
“This is a way for us to inform the community on what we do and the services we offer and make new contacts in the community, which promotes the programs,” Brand said. “We’ve talked to several of the vendors. We’ve been able to make several contacts in the community. It’s been really nice. It’s a good environment. It’s been a good experience.”
Brand said The Arc will definitely be back next year.
There were several people that attended the fair who found out about medical problems that they need to see a physician about, like Pam Rhodes, who, after having a vision screening done, learned she needed glasses.
Others were just there to receive information to stay healthy, like Maggie Robinson.
“I think it’s really nice,” she said. “I really appreciate it and all the information. You learn things you never knew before. It’s very informative. I like coming to it.”
Robinson, who attended last year’s fair, said she thought there was more information available this year.
The information on the Carol Adams, M.D., P.C. web pages is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The information is not medical advice and should not be taken as medical advice, should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care. You should consult a qualified health care provider or schedule an appointment if you have a question about your particular medical condition or suspect you have a health condition or serious medical problem.