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Northwest Colorado Health: Helping women achieve their best health


Jaclyn McDonald
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Diana Hornung, MD, is a family medical physician and chief medical officer for Northwest Colorado Health.
Courtesy photo

For many women, having a medical provider that they are comfortable discussing sexual and reproductive health with can be a barrier to receiving comprehensive care. Establishing a trusted medical home with a provider that you can be open with is vital to not only preventing sexual health issues, but also supporting your overall health and well-being. 

At Northwest Colorado Health, our low-cost, integrated health services help women achieve their best, whole-body health at any age.

The first step to overall health is to establish your medical home. This is your home base for essential medical care — where you go when you are sick, need a physical or health screening or have health concerns. Patients at our clinics are always seen by the same provider team. Your care can include behavioral health support and dental care, if needed.

You can also get help with health insurance enrollment, resources to help pay for prescriptions and health services and arrangements for specialty care. Having a medical home can make you more confident in seeking healthcare especially for sometimes uncomfortable topics, and improve your chances for good health in the future. 

Important screenings for women

Annual well-woman visits are crucial for testing for potential health problems. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women receive cervical cancer screenings with a Pap test starting at age 21. Pap tests can detect abnormal or precancerous cell changes in the cervix and have helped make cervical cancer — once the leading cause of cancer death in women — one of the most preventable and successfully treated cancers. 

In addition to the Pap test, when medically appropriate we offer HPV screenings, a common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer, sexually transmitted infection and HIV testing, breast exams and pregnancy tests. 

Prevention

Beyond testing, we also support the prevention of medical conditions. We offer important immunizations, including the human papillomavirus vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends girls and boys receive the HPV vaccine between ages 11 to 12 and anyone up to age 26 should receive the vaccination. 

When appropriate, we offer both women and men PrEP, medicine to lower risk of getting HIV; PEP, medicine to prevent HIV after possible exposure; and birth control, including low or no cost long-acting reversible contraception LARCS. 

Treatment

We know that medical conditions can affect our emotional health. When you establish our clinic as your medical home for primary care, you also have access to behavioral health support. Behavioral health providers work hand-in-hand with medical providers to promote the health of patients who may be struggling with chronic medical problems, stress, sadness, substance use, sleep problems and weight management. Patients often work with both medical and behavioral health providers during the same visit. By working together to treat the whole patient, we help you achieve your best health. 

Additionally, our patients have access to integrated dental care, including cleanings and screenings.

We know that caring for the whole person extends outside of our clinic walls. You’ll have access to low-cost programs and services that can support women of all ages with the tools and resources to prevent disease and injury and live as healthy as possible.

These include tobacco cessation, access to health insurance enrollment and nutrition assistance, support for first-time moms and parents of young children, fitness and health programs for seniors, diabetes and cardiovascular disease screening and education, and home health to recover from an illness or injury.  

Take control of your health. Make an appointment at one of our clinics. Call 970-879-1632 in Steamboat Springs or 970-824-8233 in Craig. Visit northwestcoloradohealth.org to learn more. 

Jaclyn McDonald is marketing coordinator at Northwest Colorado Health. She can be reached at jmcdonald@northwestcoloradohealth.org or 970-871-7642.


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