Benefits of Community Blood Screening program

CHI St. Francis Health and the Wahpeton Breckenridge Rotary Club partners with Essentia Health and Sanford Health lab technicians twice a year who draw specimens from approximately 250 patients during the Community Blood Screening program in the Twin Towns. Besides benefitting patients who take part, the program also supports Rotary Club initiatives.

Spring has sprung, and then briefly left us during our Community Blood Screening efforts with the Rotary. Many of you know of this valuable service in our communities and some of you are unaware. For those of you who are aware, keep on being proactive in your own well-being! I’m proud of you! For those of you that are unaware, I’m hoping to give you something to think about.

Each April and October since 2006, the Wahpeton-Breckenridge Rotary Club and CHI St. Francis have enlisted help from the Essentia Health Clinic and Sanford Clinic to draw lab specimens from about 250 patients. The Rotary Club volunteers take appointments weeks in advance, call you to remind you, and stuff envelopes with results the following day to place the mail.

What you don’t see is this. You are an actual patient that just has to “show up.” The CHI St. Francis Laboratory staff works diligently to ensure that you receive an accurate report with valid results in a timely manner allowing you to help your provider care for you in the best way possible.

For a $50 fee, you are receiving a CBC, which includes your White blood cells (those that respond to infection and injury) and Red blood counts and your Hemoglobin (Oxygen carrying content in blood) and Hematocrit (amount of red cells per unit volume) and your platelets (cells that initiate the clotting process). A CMP which gives your provider a visual of what’s going on inside your body with liver functions, kidney functions and balance of fluids. A lipid profile includes the total, good, bad and the ugly cholesterol as well as a cardiac risk ratio. As of fall 2020, we added TSH test. This is used to help diagnose thyroid disorders and monitors treatment of such disorders.

From 2015-2020 this Community Blood Screening Event has served in excess of 2800 patient appointments in the tri-state area.

Fall of 2020 the laboratory found greater than a dozen undiagnosed critical values by adding the TSH. Spring 2021 we found patients that had undiagnosed life threatening critical liver function tests and critical thyroid tests. When these results are found in the laboratory, the Medical Lab Personnel contacts the Pathologist on call, who contacts the patient directly to inform them immediately. It is not unrealistic to have your blood drawn at 9 a.m. and a phone call from the pathologist by noon to relay the critical results.

Your $50 is providing you with crucial blood measurements that can help you care for yourself and at the same time as benefiting the community.

How does $50 benefit the community besides keeping you healthy? The W-B Rotary use this fundraiser to help with the R-W County Youth programs, the dictionary project, Student of the Month, Scholarship funds to NDSCS and to help support the back pack program with the R-W County Food Pantry. This does not only benefit you, but the entire communities where we live, work and play.

Annette VanHovel, MLT, ASCPcm, is with CHI St. Francis Health.

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