EVANSTON — The Evanston Recreation Center gymnasium was bustling with people early on Saturday, Sept. 30, as the Community Health Fair took place. Tables and representatives from numerous health care agencies and public service organizations were on hand for the morning event.
Representatives from Evanston Regional Hospital had multiple tables to provide information about services offered at the hospital and to promote general health and wellness. One table focused on the new soft-touch digital mammography offered at ERH and provided information on the $100 mammograms being offered as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Home health agencies were on hand to promote their services, as were Uinta County Public Health, local pharmacies and physicians, the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Task Force, Cancer Resource Services and multiple other local organizations. Flu shots were also available, and individuals were able to pick up the results of blood draws and speak to health care professionals about those results.
Numerous displays shared information on sugar, healthy diet, exercise, cancer, and other diseases and medical conditions.
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, himself a physician, also made a quick visit to the event. Barrasso said he had been attending the health fair in Evanston for about 20 years and made it a point to attend a health fair in Uinta County every year.
When asked about health care policy, Barrasso said he believes that decisions on that are better left to the states than the federal government. “We can do better if we have more authority,” he said.
Barrasso emphasized the difficulties in recruiting physicians in rural communities and the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) medical education program offered to help Wyoming students obtain their M.D. He also said that he was concerned about difficulties facing rural hospitals.
“Some of the big city hospitals are doing very well and have profits that are up,” said Barrasso, “but we’ve had 88 rural hospitals close recently. My focus is on Wyoming and making sure that our hospitals stay open.”
When asked about the possibility of finding a bipartisan solution to problems with the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, Barrasso mentioned the continuing talks between Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray as possibly being successful. However, Barrasso said Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democratic senators had signed on to single-payer health coverage legislation.
“Anybody who is considering running for president in 2020 has signed on to that bill,” said Barrasso.
The Wyoming senator also said that he expects a reauthorization of the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) to pass through Congress, and that his hope was that some Affordable Care Act fixes would be contained in that reauthorization bill.
Sen. Barrasso said he came home to Wyoming every weekend. “It’s always better in Wyoming,” he said.