9Health Fairs in Grand County begin Saturday in Kremmling
April 7, 2010
Bonifacio Pasillas of Kremmling didn’t think “cancer” when he went to the 9Health Fair last year for a $35 PSA blood test.
Although the 58-year-old had some minor pain – which in hindsight could be construed as a symptom related to a prostate condition – prostate cancer was not something he expected.
But his 9Health results raised suspicion. A note on the results said Pasillas should see a physician as soon as possible.
He went to his family doctor with results in-hand, and that doctor immediately referred Pasillas to a specialist, who from a biopsy, confirmed for Pasillas that he had cancer on a small part of his prostate.
A few weeks later, Pasillas was undergoing treatment, which he completed six months ago.
From follow-up testing, the doctor has since told him the cancer is gone, with only a 10 percent chance of returning.
“I do appreciate that I went to the 9Health Fair,” Pasillas said. “I’m doing all right. I had this problem, and I did the best I could to cure it.”
From a severe back injury 16 years ago, Pasillas lives on a fixed income of just $1,168 per month in disability benefits with health care coverage under Medicaid.
The health fair, he said, allowed him to take an affordable test that otherwise would have cost hundreds of dollars.
“I have told friends of mine, go to the 9Health Fair,” he said.
“The 9Health Fair realistically can end-up being a life-saving event for some people,” said Granby 9Health Fair coordinator Ray Jennings, chief of Grand County Emergency Medical Services.
“It allows you to be empowered with your health care.”
For example, some people from past Fairs have found out they are diabetic, he said, others may have find out their cholesterol numbers were in a red zone for pending heart attack or stroke.
Besides blood analyses, such as a 31-component blood chemistry screening, some or all of the Grand County health fairs this year will be providing vision, hearing, body and balance, height and weight, blood pressure, breast cancer, breathing and dermatology screenings free of charge.
There will also be information booths about agencies such as the Red Cross and Victim’s Advocates.
Perhaps for this affordable opportunity to speak to medical personnel, the popularity of the local fairs has grown about 7 percent to 10 percent a year, according to coordinator John Erwin.
About 600 people are expected to attend the Granby fair alone. Fraser may see a similar number of participants. And last year, Kremmling had about 400 people at the fair, during a blizzard.
“Everybody’s pinching pennies,” Jennings said. “The 9Health Fair is a great way to save. You spend less than $100 and can get about $500- (or more) worth of chemistry work done.”
There are many beneficial reasons for registering online, according to Erwin.
For one, online registration allows one to pay with a credit card, whereas on-site registration does not.
Another benefit to online registration is that it guarantees correct input of information, since the computer will not allow a person to skip over needed data.
Blood testing is interpreted according to a person’s sex and age, so “getting quality information is important,” Erwin said.
But perhaps the largest benefit is the ability to access test results wherever there is a computer. “Data is stored in a medical vault that meets all the criteria of retention of medical information under the Federal Privacy provisions,” Erwin said.
Computer data storage accessed through the 9Health Fair website allows patient and doctor to track test results over time. Remembering one’s own ID and password is important in order to access the information.
And, those who register online receive their results about a quarter of the time faster than those who went through the paper-registration process, Erwin said. That is because information on paper registrations must be keyed in at the laboratory before paired with the blood test results. Paper results take about a month to receive.