3-D Mammography Coming Soon

Mammography-back2The Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation and the Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Auxiliary have started fundraising for a mammography suite at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital. It is estimated that a new digital 3D mammography machine and suite renovations will cost just over $400,000. We will be one of two 3-D machines in Idaho. Plans are to secure the equipment in the Fall of 2016 and take appointments in November.

Currently, the only mammography services available to the residents of Bear Lake Valley is a mobile unit that comes once each month. For the past twenty years, this service has been provided by Portneuf Medical Center. While Portneuf Medical Center has been good to work with and very accommodating, the fact is that one day per month does not fit all schedules. The mobile unit that we have been using has equipment that is outdated and will be discontinued in the near future. This will leave Bear Lake Valley with no local mammography services.

Idaho women are among the Nation’s lowest obtaining annual mammography screenings. Bear Lake County is ranked 34th out of the 44 counties in Idaho.

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital feels confident that making this service available on a full-time basis could significantly increase the number of women getting their annual scans performed. History shows when a neighboring hospital opened their in-house mammography unit their utilization more than doubled.
Let’s work together to catch breast cancer early!

To Sleeve or Not Sleeve? – Weight Loss Surgery


Dr. Joseph Podany – General Surgeon
New Hope Weight Loss Clinic

Being a Fellow of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery and a General and Bariatric Surgeon, people come to me with the perception that surgery is a risky decision that should be avoided at all costs. But when it comes to treating obesity, the benefits far outweigh the negative long term effects obesity places on an individual. Obesity has a major effect on a person’s quality of life such as immobility, high blood pressure leading to heart disease, and diabetes. With both the LapBand and Gastric Sleeve procedures, there are risks involved, but these procedures are both performed laparoscopically, which means the incisions are fewer and much smaller than in past techniques with abdominal surgeries.


Some additional advantages of these procedures include: They both promote weight loss through restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at one time. The process of the digestion system is not altered and will continue to function normally.  There are differences that can help make the choice between LapBand vs. Gastric Sleeve. First, the cost on average for a LapBand procedure is around $16,000 while the Gastric Sleeve is around $12,600. Another thing to consider is the LapBand is reversible and adjustable. While on the other hand, the Gastric Sleeve is a permanent alteration to the stomach, which means part of it is removed completely. With that removal the hormones that produce the feeling of hunger are reduced as well.  While both have success rates of approximately 40% weight loss after two years, the LapBand does initially have a slower weight loss rate than the Sleeve.


To get started on the process the patient would need to schedule a consult appointment with their physician/surgeon. Then, they would want to contact their insurance about payment options and coverage. Note, some facilities offer cash price discounts which could result in a quicker pre-surgical process. At the consult appointment, they will review the patient’s health history and assess their eligibility for surgery. They will also go through a mental and physical health assessment. A goal setting session with the nurse and registered dietitian may be required as well. Every surgeon and facility has a slightly different approach to the weight loss surgery process but the end result speaks volumes to the impact and increased quality of the patient’s health and life.

Volunteer for the Health of It!

Donating time or resources benefits both the giver and the receiver. Studies have shown that giving releases similar chemicals to when you eat a great meal or falling in love. Other benefits include: Developing new skills and experiences (especially if you have been out of the workforce for a while), keeps the mind and body active and occupied warding off effects of age, and finally can make you feel wealthier and like you have more time.

No one ever regrets time spent serving others. Though giving often goes unrecognized, those that freely share their talents with others see that being acknowledged and praised isn’t why they do it.   Patience and kindness go a long way in helping others. Through serving others, we gain understanding; we concentrate less on our own short comings; and we have more opportunity to grow as individuals. Here are a couple ways you can start:

  • Reach out to organizations that interest you. It will be easier to relate to those involved and stay motivated in different projects if you genuinely care about the cause.
  • Start out slow! It’s easy to burn out with too much involvement. Attend meetings or groups as an observer first. It’ll be easier to volunteer when you truly understand where the need is and how you can help.

Service is simple. It can be challenging to get motivated but like many things it takes time and practice to develop.  For opportunities and more information about volunteering locally contact Lott Crockett, Director of Volunteer Services for Bear Lake Memorial Hospital at 847-4445 or apply online at http://goo.gl/mQKxih.

Danger of Energy Drinks


Dr. Lance Hansen – Family Physician
Bear Lake Family Care Clinic
A recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that more than 20,000 patients (including many teenagers) visited the ER in 2011 with “energy drink-related” problems. Forty-two percent of these visits involved energy drinks and drug abuse.  The number of ER visits involving energy drinks doubled from 10,068 in 2007 to 20,783 in 2011.
Energy drinks are sold in large sizes and pack a potent dose of caffeine.  They resemble soft drinks in flavor and coloring, making them appealing to children and teens.  This gives the impression that there is no harm in consuming them, even though large amounts of caffeine can cause serious problems such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, muscle tremors, and seizures.  A 16-oz. can of Red Bull, Monster Energy Assault, and Rockstar holds about 160 milligrams of caffeine.   More than 100 mg. of caffeine, a day is considered unhealthy for teens. (A typical cup of coffee packs a punch of 100 mg. of caffeine.)  Many energy drinks contain sugar, ginseng, and guarana, which enhance the effects of caffeine.
Many young people frequently mix energy drinks with alcoholic beverages. The high levels of caffeine found in energy drinks can mask the symptoms of being intoxicated (i.e. being lethargic). Young people may incorrectly believe that energy drinks can “undo” the effects of alcohol consumption and that the energy drink makes it safe to drive while drinking. In addition, research has shown that, among college students, there is an association between energy drink consumption and behaviors such as marijuana use, sexual promiscuity, prescription drug misuse, fighting, smoking, and drinking.
Dr. Kwabena Blankson, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a lead author of the report on energy drinks said, “Energy drinks contain too much caffeine and other additives that we don’t know enough about. Doctors and parents need to intelligently speak to teenagers (and children) about why the energy drinks may not be safe.”
Find out if your children are consuming energy drinks and talk to them about safe alternatives such as getting adequate amounts of sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet.

Summer Safety Tips – Alex Moss, PA-C


Alex‘s practices medicine at

Bear Lake Family Care Clinic

and Bear Lake Physician’s Clinic


Sun Safety

  • The best line of defense against harmful sun exposure is covering up
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during 10a.m.-4 p.m.
  • On sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating. Remember that just a few sunburns can increase a person’s risk of skin cancer later in life.
  • Take a water break every twenty minutes while being active in the heat.
  • Wear loose, light-weight, light-colored clothing.

Water Safety

  • Never swim alone. Never leave children alone, even for a moment when swimming.
  • For younger children, use “touch-supervision.” Never be more than an arm’s length away from a small child who is near the water.
  • When boating, always wear a properly fitted life vest. Blow-up toys or devices should not be substituted for a life vest.
  • Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.

Bicycle Safety

  • To guard against serious injury, a helmet should always be worn, no matter how short the bike ride. Many serious injuries have occurred in the driveway or sidewalk adjacent to the person’s home.
  • Helmets should be fitted properly, not too large or small. The strap should be fastened so that two fingers can fit between the chin and the strap.
  • A bicycle should be the right size. Oversize bicycles are especially dangerous.

 All-Terrain Vehicles

  • Children who are too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate off-road vehicles. Children are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room treatments.
  • Because their nervous systems and judgment have not fully developed, off-road vehicles are especially dangerous for children younger than 16 years.
  • Never ride double. Most ATV’s are designed to carry only one passenger.
  • All riders should wear helmets, eye protection and sturdy shoes.

Lawn-mower Safety

  • Only use a lawn mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
  • Wear sturdy shoes when mowing.
  • Pick up objects from the lawn before mowing to prevent injury from flying objects. It is best to wear eye-protection when mowing.
  • Never attempt to remove clumped grass while the mower is on.
  • Never allow children to drive a riding lawn mower.

Bug Safety

  • Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water.
  • To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently back it out by scraping it with a credit card.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases.
  • The current CDC recommendation for children older than 2 months of age is to use 10% to 30% DEET. (The higher the concentration, the longer the duration of protection.) DEET should not be used on children younger than 2 months of age.
  • Always check for ticks at the end of the day when you have been in the woods. Check pets for ticks as well.

Campfire Safety

  • Adults, not children, should start campfires.
  • Children need to be supervised when using sticks, especially metal sticks, when roasting hot dogs or marshmallows. A hot stick placed in the mouth can cause serious burns.
  • Never leave a child unattended around a campfire.
  • A fire should never be left unattended.
  • Put out fires with water and/or by shoveling dirt on and around the fire.

Outdoor Safety

  • Never drink water from an outdoor stream unless an adult says it is safe to drink. Even water that looks crystal-clear can be contaminated. Bottled water is best.
  • Never eat wild berries. Some are poisonous and it can be difficult to know which are safe.  Take your own snacks when you are hiking or camping.
  • Wearing layers of clothing is a good idea. That way, you can take off some layers if you get too hot, but you will also have enough if the weather turns cold.
  • Stick with a group when hiking. Carry along a whistle and use it if you get separated or lost.  If you do get lost, wait in a safe area and stay there until you are found.
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