The sixth annual Community Health Fair is approaching which gives local residents access to free or low-cost vaccinations, tests and screenings.
On Nov. 6, from 8 a.m. to noon, the old Payson High School gymnasium will be filled with health care providers and information booths to help area residents stay healthy.
The event, presented by the Mogollon Health Alliance, Payson Regional Medical Center, RTA Hospice & Palliative Care, Arizona Respiratory and Eastern Arizona Health Education Centers is open to anyone and many of the screenings are free.
For those who have little or no health insurance, some of the tests are one-tenth what they normally cost at a hospital or doctor's office, said Judy Baker, Mogollon Health Alliance executive director.
"We saw a need for this," Baker said. "There were so many people falling through the cracks. We want to raise consciousness about the importance of early detection. If you catch things early, it can save your life."
Baker recalled such an example. A woman had been attending the health fair for the past five years. A routine breast check led to a mammogram, which resulted in a double mastectomy, and saved the woman's life.
Local doctors, nurses and nursing students are volunteering their time to provide the services, Baker said.
"There will be local physicians, nurse practitioners and several students from the certified nursing assistant program at our college," Baker said. "You sign a release when you come in if you want tests and just go from booth to booth."
DJ Craig will be spinning CDs and the Pink Ladies from the MHA Auxiliary will be serving free refreshments.
Baker said the screening and exam booths will be around the perimeter of the gym to enhance privacy. In the center of the building, two dozen booths with plenty of free products will be set up by local health-related businesses, agencies and organizations.
A grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks is funding cost-free services for children, including dental checks, heart and lung checks and vision and hearing tests.
"We started doing the children's services three years ago," Baker said.
Staff from the Payson Police and Fire Departments will be giving out free car seats and bicycle helmets to those who qualify, and police volunteers will be doing fingerprinting for children.
Eyeglasses and hearing aids no longer in use can be donated and recycled.
"The Lion's Club will be there again," Baker said. "They do the vision and hearing tests and will be accepting any eyeglasses or hearing aids. They recycle them and send them to Mexico."
A pharmacist will be on hand to answer questions about medications.
"We will have brown bag inspections," Baker said. "People can bring in their medications and old ones can be discarded there and they can also tell people what medications interact with each other."
Baker said if a test or screening requires follow-up from a physician, there will be representatives of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and the MHA to provide guidance and resources.
For more information, call (928) 472-2588.
Community Health Fair
8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 6
Admission is free and open to everyone.
Spanish speaking health professionals available.
For more information call (928) 472-2588.