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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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OCTOBER 21, 2015


Screenings Critical to Diabetes Prevention

Louisa, Kentucky, (October 20, 2015) – Each year, more than a million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. And though the condition can largely be managed through proper diet, exercise and medication, many individuals with diabetes will develop serious health complications during their lives.

That’s why diabetes screenings are so important. With early detection, most individuals can make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid developing the disease.

“Often patients who have prediabetes aren’t even experiencing symptoms,” said Dr. Spencer Harris, D.O. at Three Rivers Family Practice - Riverview. “If we can test at-risk patients and catch the condition early, we can often help them avoid diabetes and associated health problems, such as glaucoma, kidney disease and heart disease.”

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. Individuals with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million Americans aged 20 and older had prediabetes in 2012 and more than 29 million Americans had diabetes.

In the past, physicians tested for diabetes and prediabetes by administering a glucose tolerance test, which required patients to fast for several hours before having blood drawn for a lab test. The test would give patients a score, with those scoring higher than 100 considered prediabetic and those scoring 126 or higher considered diabetic.

Recently, physicians have begun favoring a different method of diabetes testing, called the A1C test. This test can provide a more accurate assessment by measuring the average level of glucose in the blood over the previous two to three months. An A1C level of 5.6 or is considered normal, 5.7 is considered pre-diabetes and 6.5 or higher is considered diabetic.

“We recommend individuals who are at elevated risk for diabetes, particularly those with a family history, be tested annually,” said Dr. Harris.

Although genetics can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes, individuals who are overweight, physically inactive, have high blood pressure, certain racial heritage (African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian-American and Pacific Islander) and a history of gestational diabetes are among those at increased risk.

Individuals who are concerned about their diabetes risk, or who have been diagnosed with the disease, should see their primary care physician, Dr. Harris recommends. By working closely with their physician, the condition can be managed or even prevented.

If you need assistance finding a doctor, call 606-638-9451 or visit


About Three Rivers Medical Center

Three Rivers Medical Center is your community healthcare provider; a 90-bed acute care facility accredited by The Joint Commission. We believe in the power of people to create great care. We provide essential hospital essential hospital services and are proud to house an accredited Chest Pain Center and a Sleep Disorders Center. And we work hard every day to be a place of healing, caring and connection for patients and families in the community we call home.

About Dr. Spencer Harris, D.O.

Dr. Spencer Harris


Dr. Spencer Harris is a board certified physician trained in treating illnesses and injuries, providing preventative care to help keep you and your family healthy. Dr. Harris treats people of all ages at Three Rivers Family Practice – Riverview, located at 203 South Water Street in downtown Louisa. 

Call 606-638-4505 for a same- or next-day appointment.

OCTOBER 9, 2015

Preparedness has a New Champion

Debbie Miller, Lawrence County Health Department Director, presenting Shirley DeLong, left, RN with 2015 Preparedness Award

Shirley DeLong, RN is the River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps winner of the Be Ready Preparedness Challenge for 2015.

The challenge was part of our September preparedness month activities. Each MRC volunteer was asked to speak to, and collect signatures from, non MRC members who would pledge to make a home readiness kit.

Shirley obtained 60 signatures and brought in five potential new members to our MRC community. Shirley DeLong has been an active member of our unit since its founding in 2005. In addition to her work as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department, Shirley DeLong has volunteered her time as medical mission’s worker in Latin America and with numerous other local charities. Her energy is electric and her attitude towards helping others stellar.

When asked once why she did so much for others, her reply was straight to the point, “We should think about helping others as naturally as we do eating and sleeping. It’s what keeps us human.” 

Shirley’s humanity certainly shines bright and we are proud to have her as a member of our River Run Regional Medical Reserve Corps family and as the Nurse Supervisor at the Lawrence County Health Department.

Medicare Wellness Exams at TRMC


Have you reached the point in life where you have more time for the activities you enjoy?  Make these years your best by taking care of your health to promote better energy, vitality and longevity. 

Your annual exam – a valuable benefit of your Medicare coverage – can help maintain good health or manage any chronic conditions.  The exam is 100 percent covered by Medicare Part B for established Medicare participants.  Medicare will pay for one annual physical for all Medicare beneficiaries who are no longer within the 12 months of their effective date of Medicare coverage, and who haven’t’ received an initial exam for new Medicare enrollees or an annual wellness exam within the past 12 months.  

What’s Included?


Your annual Medicare wellness exam focuses on either establishing or updating your medical or family history, monitoring your current health and early detection and diagnosis of any chronic medical conditions.  Services include:

* Blood pressure check

* Body mass index (BMI)

* Home safety and fall prevention screening

* Immunizations, as needed

* Mental health screening

* Personalized health advice

* Preventive screening or tests (cardiac, diabetes, cancer screenings), as needed

* Referrals for health education or preventive counseling services or programs

* Vision, height and weight checks

You’ll receive information about preventative health benefits available to your through Medicare, such as a checklist of recommended health screenings and health services.  Your health care provider may also talk with you about future health care needs, such as advance directives.  

Other Exams and Services

Based on the results of your annual wellness visit, there are many preventive health services that may be recommended for you.  Some of these services may require a coinsurance or copayment and/or deductible.  For more information about these preventive health services and how these benefits apply to you, visit

To schedule your FREE annual wellness exam, you can call:

Three Rivers Family Practice – Riverview: 606-638-1100

Three Rivers Immediate Care: 606-638-7400

Three Rivers Family Practice – Inez: 606-298-2660

Three Rivers Family Practice – Crum: 304-393-6901

OCTOBER 5, 2015

Smile Savers Dental Program Begins Second Year in Lawrence and Martin Counties

Rhonda Collins, Dental Hygienist providing preventive dental care with Maddy Ann Wellman, Mrs. Pack 3rd grade class, at Louisa East Elementary School.

Lawrence County Health Department begins their second school year of the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Program.

The program is funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department for Public Health that aims to increase access and improve oral health standards in communities across the state.

Smile Savers provides preventive dental hygiene services for students preschool through 12 grade in both Lawrence and Martin County schools. The funding allows for a dental hygienist and assistant, portable dental equipment, dental supplies, a transport vehicle and transportation costs. 

The Smile Savers Team includes Rhonda Collins, Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist and Jessie Wellman, Certified Dental Assistant.

Rhonda graduated in 1998 from Prestonsburg Community College and has worked as a Dental Hygienist for 16 years. Jessie is originally from Lexington and has lived in Louisa for 10 years. Jessie graduated from The Lexington Academy of Dental Assisting in 2005.

“Jessie and I are thrilled to help protect the smiles of so many children and assist in the prevention of tooth decay, one of the most common preventable diseases in children,” said Ms. Collins.

Last school year, the Smile Savers Dental Hygiene Team got started in March 2015 and in just two months provided preventive dental services for 240 children.

“We are so pleased to provide preventive dental services for our students and this year our two devoted professionals will see even more children in both Martin and Lawrence Counties,” said Debbie Miller, Lawrence County Health Department Director. “Our Health Department also participants in the Kentucky Smiling School Oral Health Project which provides additional resources for fluoride varnishing for students first through fifth grade,” said Ms. Miller.    

The Smile Savers Program provides oral assessments, cleanings, fluoride varnish, and sealant placement on permanent molars. The program also provides counseling on nutrition, tobacco prevention and cessation and trauma prevention as well as education for personal oral health care.

Both of these preventive dental services, Smiling Schools and Smile Savers, are provided at no cost to parents.

Fluoride varnish is a protective coating applied on the teeth to help prevent new cavities and can help stop cavities that have already started. Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surface of the back teeth and also reduce childhood tooth decay. 

Good oral health is vital for success in school and all aspects of life. The goal of the Smile Savers Program is for each and every student to be comfortable and excited to visit a dentist on a regular basis for lifelong dental care. In addition to the Lawrence and Martin County School Systems, the team will be working in conjunction with local and area dentists to achieve this goal. 

Rhonda and Jessie are very excited to work with the students, schools and the community… Saving Smiles, One Child at a Time! 


Lawrence County was one of first to join effort...

Smiling Schools tooth-varnish program expands to 10 more counties; now in 40


No doubt Pat Machir and Carolyn McGinn of the Lawrence County Health Dept. are "smiling" these days as a much needed dental health program in Kentucky is growing and gaining momentum.

Kentucky's Smiling Schools program is expanding to 10 more counties and will now provide its free preventive tooth varnishing treatments to children in 40 elementary schools, most in Appalachia, according to a state press release.

Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, along with others, made the announcement at the Clark County Health Department on Sept. 22.

"Good dental health is a key component of good overall health,” the governor said, “Kentucky’s children deserve the best start in life, and the latest round of our Smiling Schools program will help even more children live up to their full potential in the classroom and beyond.”

Lawrence County dentists are advising and assisting in the program called "Smile Savers" featuring Mojo the mascot, which was one of the first programs of its kind in Kentucky. School visits and parental participation have been a big part of the local program.

Kentucky ranks 41st in annual dental visits; 45th in the percentage of children with untreated dental decay; and 47th in the percentage of adults 65 and older missing six or more teeth, according to the release.

Funding for the Smiling Schools program, which will now reach almost 18,000 students with the expansion, is provided by an $800,000 stream of funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Kentucky Oral Health Program.

The protective varnish treatments provided by the program are administered at the participating elementary schools by local health department nurses. Oral health educational materials are also provided to the parents of the children receiving treatment.

The 10 new counties joining the program are Clark, Edmonson, Green, Greenup, Johnson, Letcher, Lewis, Nicholas, Pike and Pulaski.

The counties already participating in the program are: Bath, Bell, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Estill, Fleming, Floyd, Hart, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Leslie, Lincoln, McCreary, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Metcalfe, Montgomery, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Powell, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Whitley and Wolfe.

Health Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said that the Smiling Schools program had reduced tooth decay and fillings by 20 percent, according to a study by the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry.

Posted by Melissa Patrick

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.