New Kaiser facility to host Family Fun and Fit Day

Food, games, free medical screenings, a chance to meet Ravens running back Ray Rice and more will be available to community members from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Kaiser Permanente's Family Fun and Fit Day.

"Our goal is to introduce ourselves to the community," said Geb Buchness, Kaiser's vice president of strategic business development, on the June 8 event at Kaiser's new facility on Twin Springs Road off Washington Boulevard.

"We've been planning this event to let the community know that we're there for them," he said.

The event is free and open to everyone, not just Kaiser members.

In addition to autographs by Rice, there will be live musical theater performances, moon bounces and rock climbing. Kaiser will offer free health screenings such as body mass index (BMI) screenings and blood pressure testing.

"We may think these (health) things are very basic. But some people might not have had their blood pressure checked in a long time because they haven't gone to a physician," Buchness said.

"We actually save lives during these events in many instances because people just weren't aware that they had an issue that might turn up as part of our basic screening," he said.

Though he currently lives in Marriottsville, Buchness grew up in Catonsville and said this event holds special importance because it is so close to home.

"It's even a little bit more near and dear to me because I grew up in those communities and near those communities," he said.

The facility, which boasts more than 20 specialized services ranging from primary care to an overnight Clinical Decision Unit, opened April 8 and, according to Buchness, has been done well since the start.

"It's gone really, really well," he said. "I think people are very pleased with it. I noticed that traffic is picking up with patients.

"We really couldn't be off to a better start," Buchness said.

The Clinical Decision Unit, a unique diagnostic care unit designed to allow patients to stay in the facility for 23 hours and 59 minutes without having to be admitted to a hospital, is doing especially well, he said.

"It's interesting because it's almost working exactly as we designed it," Buchness said. "If they're receiving their care, that means they're not across the street at St. Agnes (Hospital) waiting in the emergency room for hours and hours."

He said the number of patients served is "increasing daily" and that the Saturday event will be a way to show the community what a great asset the new center can be.

"It's really informative, but I think the other thing that we hope to accomplish by hosting the community is that people will see what a great facility they have," Buchness said.

"And maybe it will make people who haven't been really active in managing their health care, it might inspire them to start taking good health seriously," he said.

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