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Free Health, Dental and Vision Screenings at Hamilton Health Center on May 2 Will Help Harrisburg Area Children and Adults
Date:4/24/2009

Highmark Blue Shield, Davis Vision, United Concordia and the Harrisburg Area Dental Society Team Up With Dauphin County Partners for a Healthy Community

CAMP HILL, Pa., April 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dauphin County Partners for a Healthy Community will host a day of free health and vision screenings and dental care on Saturday, May 2 at Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg. The public is invited to participate in this day-long community event which is open to children and adults who are uninsured or have minimal health or dental coverage, and no pre-registration is required for medical or vision screening.

Event partners include Highmark Blue Shield, Davis Vision, United Concordia Dental, the Harrisburg Area Dental Society, and Hamilton Health Center. A variety of screenings and services will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at no cost to participants.

Additional participants to date include:

  • Highmark Caring Place
  • CHIP, The Children's Health Insurance Program
  • Hamilton Health Center's Baby Love, OB/GYN and WIC programs
  • Community Check-Up Center
  • Dauphin County Department of Drug & Alcohol Services
  • Catalyst, a cancer support advocacy group
  • Family Health Council of Central PA
  • Penn State Cooperative Extension
  • Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging
  • Pathstone, a community development and human service agency
  • American Cancer Society

Screenings and services will be provided at Hamilton Health Center, 1650 Walnut Street, Harrisburg. Medical professionals will be available on site, and will provide free consultations. Information on Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), adultBasic and Medicaid programs administered by Highmark will also be available. For more information, call (717) 302-3851. Dental services may be scheduled by calling (717) 230-3957.

"Since many families do not have insurance or have limited funding for care, professionals will volunteer their time to bring this important service to the community to ensure those who participate receive the care they may need," said Hamilton Health Center Chief Executive Officer Jeannine Peterson. "We are pleased to be included in this inaugural partnership to help our community with their heath, dental and vision care needs and services."

Good dental and vision health is important to a child's development and overall health, and the community-based screening offered by the participating Partners for a Healthy Community will provide Dauphin County children and their parents with a better understanding about staying healthy.

"Without adequate insurance, people tend to put off seeking medical treatment, which can potentially contribute to more severe health problems," said Highmark's Director of Program Implementation and Development, Charles Gladney. "Partners for a Healthy Community provides people with an opportunity to learn, to be screened, to receive services and information that will help midstate residents to live longer, healthier lives."

"Oral disease is a growing epidemic in the United States," says Harlon L. Robinson, United Concordia corporate vice president of Human Resources and Administration and Corporate Diversity chairman. "Dental decay can cause pain, loss of time from school or work and lower self-esteem. Our goal is to make sure everyone has the opportunity to see a dentist so they can achieve optimal oral health no matter where they live. We also teach them healthy dental habits that they can carry with them through their lives."

"Vision care professionals agree that fewer than 20 percent of children in our country are adequately screened for vision problems which affect one in 202 preschoolers and one in four school-age children," said Laura Dyer, Davis Vision's assistant vice president, Community Outreach and Media Relations.

Free health screenings include:

  • Glucose/sugar
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Body mass index
  • Vision

And, free dental services for children and adults will include:

  • Screenings
  • Cleanings
  • Restorative procedures

In December 2008, the Highmark Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Hamilton Health Center, a federally-qualified health center, to expand dental services to low-income and uninsured individuals in Dauphin County. The grant is funding an expansion in hours the clinic will be open, including a new Saturday clinic. The grant also has provided the financial resources for the addition of a new dentist, a new dental assistant, and a new front desk staff member to serve the additional patients expected to receive services. Services offered include general dentistry, dentures, examinations, cleanings, tooth extractions, and x-rays. Nearly 6,500 dental patients accounted for over 10,000 dental encounters in 2008.

About Highmark Blue Shield

As one of the state's leading health insurers and with nearly 70 years of community involvement, Highmark Blue Shield helps members live longer, healthier lives by ensuring access to affordable, high quality health insurance and services. Highmark offers the widest range of products, access to all area hospitals and the most responsive customer service. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. Employing more than 5,000 people in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, Highmark provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information about Highmark Blue Shield, visit www.highmark.com.


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SOURCE Highmark Blue Shield
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