To the editor:

Spring time is the season for health fairs throughout the Eastern Oregon region. For more than 20 years St. Elizabeth Health Services has offered reduced fee laboratory tests during the annual blood draw. The administrators of St. Elizabeth and the medical staff took a hard look at national standards for community health screenings and made the decision to provide the same lab services we always have for this year's draw, and prepare the community for changes next year, which will reflect national standards.

The $50 charge for the lipid panel, CBC, CMP, TSH, LDH and uric acid was set by the hospital. The Health Fairs in La Grande and Halfway set their own blood draw prices. These two sites offer fewer lab tests which lowers the cost of the services. We have taken extra steps to ensure that our screening prices, when compared to others, are of value to our customers.

St. Elizabeth Health Services aims to provide an annual community health screening that is clinically recommended and that meets the unique needs of our population. This year's Health Fair will address the three main causes of death in Baker County, provide opportunities for free screenings, education for disease prevention and highlight resources for the needy.

We are excited about the improvements we have made to provide the best health care for our community. We appreciate the opportunity to provide quality health screenings.

Amy Dunkak

Direction of Communications and Business Development

St. Elizabeth Health Services

Baker City