High blood pressure is a common medical concern. It’s often referred to as “the silent killer” because it causes much damage to the heart before symptoms are felt. Luckily, it’s easy to diagnose with regular wellness checks. Annual wellness exams are generally covered by insurance, too.
What is normal?
In a normally healthy person, high blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as > 140 (systolic value)/ 90 (diastolic value) from two random readings. Mild hypertension is defined as systolic value of 140-159 and diastolic value of 90-99.
Systolic pressure measures the peak pressure in the arteries when the ventricles contract, and diastolic pressure measures the minimum amount of pressure in the arteries when the ventricles are filling with blood. Both numbers are important, and any elevation in either number is used to diagnose hypertension.
If you have mild hypertension, you may wonder if you should start prescription therapy. Evidence shows that treating mild hypertension reduces your risk for a heart attack in the future. But you have options to try before starting one of the many pharmaceuticals.
Yoga has shown to improve blood pressure if practiced regularly once daily for 6-12 months.
Monitoring your blood pressure is an important aspect of staying healthy. Everyone should have at least one general wellness check (which screens for medical problems such as high blood pressure) with a provider annually.
With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, most insurers are now required to cover an annual wellness exam. Check with your insurer to confirm you benefits prior to making an appointment.
Anna Gunderson, PA-C is a nationally certified Physician Assistant. She works at the Driggs and Victor Health Clinics and is currently accepting new patients. Call (208) 354-2302 to make an appointment or visit tvhcare.org for more information on the services offered at Teton Valley Health Care.
I’m approaching my two year anniversary with the hospital and the hospital just passed its 75th year anniversary. This is the perfect time to share the latest news about our hospital and clinics and talk about some of the changes we have seen.
It’s been a busy two years, with a lot of positive growth and change. For those of you who have visited recently, you will have seen a number of physical changes. We have a new X-ray unit and fluoroscope along with a completely remodeled X-ray room. Our lab draw room has a new adjustable draw chair (courtesy of the Teton Springs Foundation) plus new paint and cabinets. We have repainted and re-furnished the Driggs Health Clinic waiting area. Our Victor clinic has a new ramp. The exterior of the hospital has been spruced up with plants and mulch to replace the gravel. The OR will be painted this weekend.
There are some less visible changes as well; a new ice machine for patients, a pharmacy hood allowing us to support chemotherapy, a new OR bed, and new OR lights. These are not just cosmetic changes; these are investments in your County-owned building. We continue to maintain and improve the hospital, extending its life and making it a more valuable asset for you. Thank you to our Hospital Foundation, multiple charitable groups, the TVHC employees, and others for helping to fund these items.
We’ve added new service lines for cardiology, expanded pain management, general surgery, orthopedics, and neurology. More and expanded offerings are coming this year. Telemedicine is in use; we have been supporting tele-psychiatry, and we just added tele-burn and tele-stroke. These telemedicine additions enable patients to stay here and get care from experts who are based at the University of Utah Health Center and other larger hospitals. We’ve built good working relationships and formal affiliations with UUHC, and with our regional hospitals that enable better pricing on things we buy (by buying jointly), expand the service lines we offer, and improve clinical quality.
We’re focused on our clients and patients. We have required all staff to take training on how to improve their customer service skills. The painting and improvements have been chosen carefully to reflect a standardized design and color palette to offer an atmosphere that is soothing and healing. We’ve achieved a higher, measurable level of accuracy and speed in our patient billing. Your comments and suggestions have generated a number of these process improvements.
We continue to help people understand how to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act and enrolled over 129 families in health insurance. We have increased our outreach to the Hispanic community by employing more bilingual staff and offering awareness programs and materials that focus on their needs. We’re also reaching out proactively to our community with a Community Paramedic Program, providing preventive care to patients in their homes. We are working with Fire on this program to maximize the use of local resources. We’ve also announced to the Ambulance Service District that we would jointly bid with Fire for the next contract to provide ambulance service in the county. By working together we can maximize our training and capabilities, while not increasing our cost to the taxpayer.
Many people were worried when hospital leaders and the Board of County Commissioners agreed to convert the hospital from a county operation to a private non-profit. As we have demonstrated, we have kept the doors open, increased the services we provide, continued to invest and improve in the building that the county still owns. We publish operational statistics and community reports on our website for public review. Our IRS-990 (think of that as the 1040 tax form that a non-profit files) is now complete and will be posted on our website. On that form, you’ll see a list of TVHC’s charitable expenditures that have been made on behalf of our community.
Teton Valley Hospital first opened its doors May 7th 1939. Seventy-five years later, we have a terrific facility, great staff and a strong, supportive community.
Thank you for continuing to show the spirit that built TVHC so many years ago. As always, we welcome comments and suggestions. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-354-6355.
Rubi Valdez is the newest gem at Teton Valley Health Care. As she fills the hospital’s new role in the Community Relations and Patient Services Development Department, one of her biggest goals is helping the community better understand the Affordable Health Care Act.