With the Panhandle’s percentage of uninsured patients the highest in the state, the Dirne Community Health Clinic is opening its doors to anyone who wants to check it out.
The clinic offers health care for people without health insurance, through the help of a federal program. It also offers mental health counseling and is working toward starting dental services.
The clinic will hold a health fair May 7 in which anyone can have expensive blood tests at about 10 percent of the typical cost. The health fair is in conjunction with Cover the Uninsured Week, a nationwide movement among health providers to spotlight the high number of people in the United States without health insurance. Organizer Karen Cotton helped plan the fair after learning that 27 percent of North Idaho residents have no health insurance.
Volunteer nurses will analyze blood tests to help people understand their overall health, said Cotton, the project manager for North Idaho Partners in Care.
People who wish to participate may have their blood drawn at the clinic, 920 Ironwood Dr., 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., Thursday through May 4. The blood test will cost $35.
Aging and Adult Services will pay $10 for each of the first 30 people older than 59 who show up any of the 10 days for the blood tests.
Dirne also will offer thyroid tests for $9, diabetes screening for $10.50 and a PSA test for prostate cancer for $10.
Cotton recommended that men older than 50 take the PSA. Nurses will discuss the results the day of the health fair. People can take their test results home.
No appointments are necessary for blood tests, Cotton said. They’re offered first thing in the morning because people have to fast overnight before the tests.
“If they eat after 10 p.m. the night before, it invalidates the tests,” she said.
The health fair will run 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7 and offer free screenings for asthma, blood pressure, vision and hearing, depression, bone density, body mass, foot problems and heart function.
Exhibitors will include people who can explain programs such as walking for life, smoking cessation, chair massage, diabetes management, senior fall prevention and nutrition. A safety expert will evaluate car seats.
For information on the health fair or blood tests, call Cotton at (208) 666-3742.
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