COLORADO SPRINGS — Last Saturday CSU Pueblo held a health fair, offering critical free and low cost health screenings for anyone who needs them.
As we continue to slowly return to normal after the worst of the pandemic, Gary Drews, President and CEO of this Colorado nonprofit whose mission it is - to make sure everyone has the opportunity to access critical health care - says, "It's more important than ever to be on top of your health".
“One of the things that has really changed over the last few years is that people have avoided going to the doctor and even more so avoiding getting screened. Even our public health department is talking about how it's almost become a second epidemic - discovering chronic disease.”
If there is one thing we have learned about COVID-19is that it hits people with pre-existing and chronic health conditions the hardest.
Gary says, “It's actually chronic disease that can make COVID-19 worse and makes people more susceptible to catching it. With COVID not going away anytime soon, and that it may morph into different variations this is a good time to jump in and make sure that the rest of your body is working strongly and your immune system is up to speed.”
You may also have noticed these health fairs have re-branded themselves. In southern Colorado in the past, they were known as the 5HealthFairs, and in Denver, as the 9HealthFairs, now they are known by one name across the state, 9Health:365.
Gary says the new focus of their branding is really important for people to think about.
“The idea is that as we are talking our health is happening whether we like it or not. Everything that we do all day long, everyday. So the notion that preventive care can also happen every day. Prevention really is key to work on. We are trying to help us all remember that preventive health is the lowest cost health investment you can engage in and it has the highest return on our health. We’re trying to make healthcare more accessible every day of the year, through Health education, through online free screenings, and we have added the capability of connecting with a telehealth doctor at an incredibly low cost. So if someone doesn't have access to a primary care doctor which is about 20% of the state believe it or not, we are trying to make it easy and accessible for anyone to be able to chat with a doctor and get answers to questions without incurring a huge expense.”
The next southern Colorado health fair is in Las Animas this Friday, April 20th, from 7 a.m. to noon, and in Trinidad on Saturday, April 21st from 7:30 a.m. to noon. The following weekend there will be health fairs in Manitou Springs and Canon City.
“You can go to our website nine Health 365.org and see the schedule (CLICK HERE) and see the screenings that are available at each of those locations because they do vary a little bit.”
If you haven’t been seen by a doctor for a while, many of these types of health screenings can literally save your life and these state-wide health fairs are the most inexpensive way to make it happen, especially if you don’t have insurance.
Gary says, “Just carve out a time to stop by. These screenings are incredibly inexpensive and are about a tenth of the cost of what you would pay through a doctor's office or lab directly. The health fairs have many free screenings available, everything from eye exams to women's health screenings and many of the fares will also have a COVID-19 vaccine available.”