BY BRIAN AHERN • firstname.lastname@example.org • November 9, 2009
ST. GEORGE,UT. - While Congress grapples with how to provide affordable health care to Americans, the Dixie Shrine Club continues to hold its no-cost annual screenings for children to receive free medical treatment.
The screenings, open to all children in Southern Utah, including Cedar City, will be held Saturday at the Doctor's Volunteer Clinic on 1036 E. Riverside Drive in St. George from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jim Summers, head of the Shriners' free screening program, said approximately 15 children are screened every year from Utah, Nevada and Arizona for treatment of ailments including scoliosis, neuromuscular disorders, hand and back problems, rickets and more.
Once the children are determined to be candidates for treatment, they are sent to the Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, at no cost, to receive their free treatment.
"The main thrust of the hospital is its orthopedics program," Summers said, adding that money is no object when it comes to helping these children. "There is no billing department in Shriners Hospitals."
Summers said there would be around 8 to 9 Shriners present Saturday to help people fill out paperwork. Dr. Doug Callahan and a nurse will be on hand to examine the children.
Former Dixie Shrine Club President Dick Weaver said the program has done wonders for the community.
"We have a lot of low-income people here," he said. "They have no other resource and this is absolutely free."
Summers said he's been working to make sure people know about the program and to know there are no strings attached.
"The biggest issue we have is getting the word out," he said. "(How many people are helped) all depends on how good our publicity is."
Summers added that people are very grateful for their help.
"I've had people come up to me and say our hospital saved their life," he said. "It's really gratifying to see the children who go up there and what the doctors do for them. It really tugs at the heart strings."