Kiwanis Blood Screening saves money… and lives

Almost 1,000 people had their blood screened at a significant discount on Saturday.

The annual Kiwanis Blood Screening program drew a big crowd with the line out the door at St. Joseph School before 6 a.m.

With each of 988 people moving through one of 12 screening stations during the course of the four-hour event, each person was only at the front of the line for an average of three minutes.

Blood Screening Facilitator Mike Hostovich said he believes the event could handle as many as 1,200. That’s less than two and a half minutes per person at the current set-up.

A total of 15 phlebotomists from Associated Clinical Laboratories of Erie staffed the 12 stations throughout the morning.

A $35 charge covered drawing blood and analyzing it. Tests checked the chemistry profile for 30 chemicals, including sodium, glucose, and calcium, triglycerides, cholesterol, and high- and low-density lipoproteins and six factors of complete blood count numbers including white and red blood cells and hemoglobin.

An additional $25 charge added a prostate screening to the list of tests conducted on the blood.

Hostovich said some of the people who have their blood screened at the event, which has been held for more than 30 years, have told him they save dramatically by having the work done at the event rather than at a hospital.

“Last year, a gentleman was at the check-in service at Warren General Hospital to have a series of blood screenings ordered by his doctor,” Hostovich said. “This was a week before the Kiwanis blood screening event.”

The man, who did not have insurance, asked how much the procedures would cost. He was told the bill would be $536, Hostovich said.

When he said he couldn’t afford to have all of the tests done, and asked which tests were the most important, the hospital employee handed him a copy of the blood screening flyer, Hostovich said, adding, “He was able to get all 10 tests, plus 20 others, for $35.”

Saving money isn’t the only benefit.

“This year, as I was registering a woman during our sign-up at the mall, she told me she has this done every year and that two years ago, she really feels the screening saved her life,” Hostovich said. “One of the results showed that she had a serious abnormality that could be corrected after consultation with her doctor.”

“Countless men have told me that this screening gave indications of early prostate cancer problems,” he said. “I don’t know of any other health event in the area that is more important and more beneficial.”

“We have people who come from New York State, Ohio, and Pittsburgh to participate in the event,” Hostovich said.

Aside from the efforts of the phlebotomists and ACL, the event is a volunteer effort by the Kiwanis Club with help from the Key Clubs of Eisenhower and Warren high schools.

Despite the low price, the club profits from the event. Those profits will be given back to the community through Kiwanis programming “primarily toward youth activities,” Hostovich said. “It’s a win-win for the Warren communities.”

Walk-ins were accepted on Saturday, but about 700 people pre-registered online through the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry. “The Kiwanis Club would like to thank the WCCBI for providing their website for online registrations,” Hostovich said.

With construction at Beaty-Warren Middle School, organizers moved the drive to St. Joseph School.

“The Kiwanians would like to express their appreciation to Father (Richard) Toohey and his staff at St. Joseph for accommodating the program this year,” Hostovich said.