By Andi Bourne

Free Health Screenings and Mobile Mammography Coach Coming to Condon


Photo provided

Four different tests will be available at the Free Health Screenings April 29 at the Swan Valley Community Hall.

SWAN VALLEY – The Seeley-Swan Hospital District (SSHD) and ImProving Health Among Rural Montanans (IPHARM) from the University of Montana are offering free health screenings Saturday, April 29 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Swan Valley Community Hall. The following week there will also be a Special Mammogram Event at Swan Valley Connections May 4 from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Both events are an outreach to the Swan Valley. However anyone in the area is welcome to attend as long as appointments are available. Call Alyson at 258-4168 to make an appointment.

Condon was chosen for the screenings and the special mammogram event because SSHD board member and Condon resident John Addis requested the services for the area.

"There was a sense that the [Swan Valley] community would welcome the convenience of a screening in their area, especially if people have transportation barriers.  It's a great way to collaborate on health concerns in the valley," wrote Mary Jane Nealon, Director of Innovation for Partnership Health Center (PHC). Nealon added IPHARM from the University of Montana is specifically designed to bring services to the more rural communities in Montana.

There are four health screenings that will be offered April 29: bone density, hemoglobin A1C (blood glucose), cholesterol and blood pressure.

The peripheral bone density test (heel scan) can help determine if someone would benefit from further bone density testing. The results of the test should be discussed with an individual's health care provider to determine if follow up is necessary. For more information visit

The blood glucose test measures the average level of a person's blood sugar over the last three months. It can help diagnose Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. If someone already has diabetes, it can help monitor their condition. For more information about diabetes visit

The cholesterol test, also called a lipid profile, will give medical providers information about someone's total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This test helps determine someone's overall risk of heart disease and decide if treatment is needed. A nine- to 12-hour fast is needed for this test (no eating or drinking anything but water). For more information visit

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. Having blood pressure checked regularly can assure it is in a healthy range.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers; systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the measurement of pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure is the measurement of pressure in blood vessels when the heart is resting between beats. This gives the two numbers, such as 120/80, which is considered normal blood pressure. For more information visit

"Preventative health measures (such as these health screenings) can improve and extend your life. Through preventative health measures, we can detect and prevent many chronic diseases-such as heart disease and diabetes," wrote Seeley-Swan Medical Center Physician Dr. Todd Fife. "A good plan to stay healthy includes eating right, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco AND taking advantage of these types or preventative health services."

Those who sign up for the screenings can do all four or pick which screenings they would like to have done.

Program Coordinator Montana Geriatric Education Center Michelle Salois wrote that as a general rule, the IPHARM team will perform Bone Density for those age 30 and older, lipid screenings for adult age (not teenage or younger), blood glucose can be done at most ages and with parent consent necessary for minors. Blood pressure is checked on everyone.

IPHARM typically asks for a contribution of five dollars per test to help pay for the cost of the testing supplies. Thanks to the SSHD, these screenings are free to the community.

"The Seeley-Swan Hospital District Board would like to give residents of the hospital district the opportunity to be tested without concern for cost and, for this reason, voted to cover the cost of the screening," wrote Addis in an email.

The Winkley Women's Center Mobile Mammography Coach will be at the Swan Valley Connections the following Thursday, May 4 from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends women of average risk start getting screening mammograms at age 50. This may vary based on family or personal history. Medical providers can help decide when to start regular screening mammograms. 

Mammograms are available for women regardless of their health insurance coverage. Funds from the Montana Cancer Screening Program and Tough Enough to Wear Pink of Montana ensure women are able to get a screening mammogram. 

Photo provided

The Winkley Women's Center Mammogram Coach will be at Swan Valley Connections May 4 from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.


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