Proposed Wellness Center should help clients achieve better health

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Just as a blind man picks up his cane before he starts any journey, the people at the new Wellness Center want their clients to be equally prepared before they use the fitness center scheduled to open in May.

Lou and Steve Greenhaw are opening a dual concept of wellness evaluation and fitness technology in the old post office-naming their new fitness center the Health Post.

Within the walls of the Health Post will be the Wellness Center in an office manned by wellness coordinator Jeanne Rziha.

“Our goal is to help people in the Marion County community have better health,” said Rziha, a registered nurse for 32 years.

The Wellness Center and Health Post will be set up to screen for possible heart problems, diabetes and osteoporosis, and offer fitness programs and equipment.

Rziha has been trained on five machines designed to evaluate specific areas of medical concerns to help clients plan their fitness journey. These machines will be located in her office, but four of them are portable enough to be able to take off site when needed.

After the appropriate tests are completed, the staff will make recommendations, including doctor visits and a fitness plan to help prevent future problems for people between the ages of 30 and 65.

“I’m so excited about this,” Rziha said.

“I’ve been dealing with medical stuff for years and never seen the other side where we can prevent these things-the fractures and the heart attacks and the diabetes-and now I’m going to be able to help prevent these things.”

Rziha became involved in the program after she talked to Lou Greenhaw about a particularly hard day at work. A couple of weeks later, Greenhaw approached her about a position as wellness coordinator.

“I really hesitated because I like the people there (at Hillsboro Community Medical Center),” Rziha said. “But my husband said, ‘Think about this-no weekends, no holidays, no on call. So why not give it a try?'”

She agreed and quit her job at the local hospital.

Five days later, she and pharmacist Gina Edwards were on a plane for training at the U.S. Wellness Center Inc. in Gaithersburg, Md.

Edwards plans to buy into the fitness center in January and will help when needed with the testing at the local Wellness Center, Rziha said.

During their training earlier this month, Edwards and Rziha learned how to operate five machines. The last day focused on setting up the wellness program.

“The machines cost about $5,000 apiece, but Lou also had to buy into the franchise, which was $15,000 and included the laptop. We also had to buy a printer.”

Clients can choose to be tested by one or all of the five machines.

The potential risk for developing osteoporosis is evaluated on a machine called the Sahara.

“It determines the bone-mass density in your heel, which corresponds to your hip,” Rziha said.

By checking the patient’s heel with this machine, the results are the same as checking the spine and hip areas, and it’s less expensive, she said.

The cost of the test is $30, and in May the center plans to reduce that to $25 to encourage people to come in and get the test done.

And why is this information important?

Rziha has statistics that indicate 77 percent of the 21 million people in America with osteoporosis don’t know they have this medical condition.

A machine to measure blood pressure and the elasticity in the brachial artery is called the Cardiovision.

“If you’ve got plaque built up in there, you’re artery is stiffer and that’s what it tells you,” Rziha said. “If you’ve got a problem, you have to go see your doctor. So it alerts them to future heart problems.”

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 58 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, and the majority don’t realize they have the condition.

The cost of an evaluation on this machine will be $30.

A third machine, the MetaCheck, is designed to measure a person’s resting metabolic rate to determine how many calories they burn during a normal day.

“With people who get into the weight-management program, we are going to check this out so we know what calorie diet to put them on,” Rziha said.

The client’s current weight will be entered as well as their target weight. The machine will print out five different options that suggest the number of calories to be consumed in a day and the amount of exercise needed to reach their desired weight.

The MetaCheck procedure will cost $40. Rziha said the cost is a little higher on that machine because clients have to breathe into a disposable $10 hose.

A client’s body-mass index is analyzed on a fourth machine called the Tanita.

The client is asked simple questions such as their age, sex, body type, weight and height. The machine uses that information to calculate the percentage of body fat, lean muscle mass and bone mass, and prints these findings for the client- all for $10.

The fifth machine is called the Cholestec, which is used to measure the different kinds of cholesterol in the body.

Of the five machines, this is the only one that is invasive because it requires a drop of blood.

The blood is analyzed for a full range of blood work including cholesterol and triglicerides, and the information is printed out.

“We’ve talked to people that don’t get this done because their insurance won’t pay for it, but they would really like to know what their cholesterol is,” Rziha said.

The cost for this information will be $25.

The five procedures may not be covered by insurance, but clients will receive a receipt if they want to turn it in.

Rziha said the body scan at the nearest testing center costs about $180 compared to $40 for her clients.

The lab work for the cholesterol check can be done in any doctor’s office, she said. But it will usually cost more, and insurance will only pay for it if there’s a medical reason.

Rziha said she sees the teaming of a Wellness Center and Fitness center as a marriage of preventative medicine and physical fitness.

“People often get checked if they think there’s a problem, but then nothing’s ever done about it,” she said. “So we’re trying to be the link between finding something, helping correct it and helping them be physically better so the actual problem is prevented.”

In addition to the Wellness Center and fitness machines, the facility will have showers, heavy mats across the back for the weight-lifting equipment, carpeting across the front and mirrors.

Rziha said the nearest fitness centers are in Newton and Marion, but neither offers the Wellness Center concept.

Her enthusiasm spills over into promoting her new career as she talks to people about the future of disease prevention and fitness.

“Everybody but one person I’ve talked to has said they’re so excited we’re going to have this,” Rziha said.

“They want to know if you need a doctor’s prescription to get the test results, and I tell them, ‘No, you just have to make an appointment.'”

Until the Health Post is remodeled and open for business, information about the new facility is available at Greenhaw Pharmacy at 947-3784.

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