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Low-cost medical screenings are popular

TRI-COUNTY AREA—A number of area organizations and companies offer low-cost medical screenings and many people are taking advantage of the services.
People can test for a variety of health concerns including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and kidney and liver disease. Loree MacKerchar, community relations manager for Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hopsital, said the hospital cautions people about low-cost medical screenings when it comes to who is reading the test results and the facilities in which tests are done. She said a doctor or trained professional should help patients understand test results. Michelle Benjamin, community relations for Schuyler Hospital, also said, no matter what the low-cost screening, people need to make sure it is done professionally. She encourages people to go over the results with a doctor if possible.
Some of the area programs and events are:
Soldiers and Sailors Hospital offers free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings at their two health fairs. The next one is Nov. 7, Good Health Fall Fest, at the Penn Yan elementary School. The other is a spring program, the Apple Fest in Geneva.
AMBA (Annual Multiphasic Blood Analysis) Wellness Programs also helps set up low-cost medical tests. The events are organized by local groups. Testing is held February to November throughout the state. Yvonne McGuiness, with AMBA, said over the past several years the same number of people have been attending the medical screenings.
An AMBA blood screening program will be held Saturday, June 27 at the Dundee Fire Hall from 6 to 10 a.m. The basic package, which includes a 38-test blood screening, covers heart, kidney and liver disease, anemia, diabetes and calcium. Optional tests available will be for Prostate Specific Antigen, Thyroxine and Cardio CRP. The tests have different costs. Results will be sent directly to people’s primary care physician, who will contact patients. Walk-ins are accepted, but they must have an approved physician. For appointments and other questions, call 1-800-234-8888, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed from 12:30 to 1 p.m.).
Several other AMBA events are tentatively scheduled for this fall: Oct. 31 in Elmira, and Nov. 7 in Watkins Glen. Two in the area are confirmed, Sept. 26 in Horseheads and Oct. 31 in Bath.
Schuyler Hospital offers prenatal care and free or low-cost cancer services. The cancer screening program is open to women, age 40 and over, without insurance. Tracy Lewis, said Schuyler Hospital, said the program covers a women’s mammogram, breast exam and pap smear. If the patient is at high risk, the program also covers the colonoscopy. For more information call 607-535-9174 or 607-737-2028.
The Prenatal Care Assistance Program (PCAP) through the hopsital offers pregnancy check-ups, HIV counseling and testing, and hospital care to women, even those with insurance. For more information on the prenatal care call Indy Miner at 607-535-9276 or 1-800-522-5006.
Benjamin said the hospital has seen an increase in the number of people participating in their low-cost screenings in the last six months because of the economy. Before that, she said people were usually afraid to ask.
The state offers cancer screening help through the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program (CSP). It offers a cancer screening program providing breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening for uninsured and underinsured women and men. The CSP funds community-based partnerships to coordinate screening services in every county and the state. The CSP offers reimbursements for the uninsured and underinsured for mammograms; pap tests, pelvic exams, and clinical breast exams (CBE); Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)/Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT); and colonoscopies for men and women at an elevated risk for colorectal cancer. Marleen Cocchetto, program coordinator for the Wellness Council of the Southern Tier, said the program has a list of doctors who participate.
The statewide number for people to call is 877-442-2262. For Yates County, the number to call regarding cancer screenings is 315-536-5199; the Ontario County Community Health Services—Cancer Screening Partnership of Ontario, Seneca and Yates. For Schuyler County the contact is 607-535-9174; the Broome County Health Department—New York State Cancer Services Program Partnership of Chemung and Schuyler Counties. In Steuben County, the Wellness Council of the Southern Tier is the contact at 877-778-6857.
Another organization is Life Line Screening. According to their Web site, they hold clinics across the county to help find undetected health problems and “encourage (people) to seek follow-up care with their personal physician.” Life Line screens for stroke/carotid artery disease, stroke/atrial fibrillation, heart disease risk, type 2 diabetes, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, and osteoporosis risk.
Screenings will be held:
• Tuesday, June 23, at Bethany Village in Horseheads.
• Wednesday, June 24, at the Steuben County Veteran’s Memorial in Bath.
• Tuesday, July 7, at the Glen Baptist Church in Watkins Glen.
To schedule an appointment, go to Cost depends on the tests requested.
The Health Ministry of the Southern Tier is also available to residents in Schuyler, Steuben and Chemung Counties who are uninsured and have a family income 200 percent below the federal poverty guidelines. The guidelines per family size are available at The Health Ministry offers limited primary medical and dental care, physicals, health education, prescription assistance, tobacco cessation help, and specialty medical and dental referrals. It has a number of offices, in Watkins Glen, Elmira, Bath and Corning. The Corning office is the only one with the dental program.
The offices’ phone numbers and hours of operation are:
• Corning, Health Ministry of the Southern Tier, at 607-962-2032. Office Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
• Bath, Bath Community Care Center, at 607-776-8085 Ext. 218. Call for an appointment between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are scheduled in the mornings on first and third Mondays and evenings on second and fourth Tuesdays.
• Elmira, Family Health Center of Elmira, at 607-732-5431. Office Hours are 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday.
• Watkins Glen, Schuyler County Health Check, at 607-535-8145 for an appointment. Leave your phone number and they will call back. Office hours start at 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Walk-ins welcome from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
More information is available at

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