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      Free heart screenings for city employees

      The health screenings are part of the Better Me Employee Wellness campaign, which looks to educate employees about preventative health. / Ashleigh Messervy

      City of Columbia employees received free heart screenings in hopes of preventing future complications.

      The screening included a risk factor assessment, blood pressure check, 12-lead EKG, ultrasound of carotid arteries, echocardiogram and a cardiopulmonary evaluation. Organizers said several individuals found potential health hazards, like plaque buildup, making this experience priceless.

      "We had very young employees that were stunned to find out that they were at risk," said Wellness Coordinator Ray Borders Gray. "This screening doesn't cost the employee anything, it doesn't cost the city anything."

      This is one of several health-related activities through the citys Better Me Employee Wellness campaign aimed at educating employees about the importance of preventative health screenings.

      The heart screenings, a $2,000 value, are sponsored by St. Jude Medical of South Carolina and Advanced Diagnostics. Screenings are conducted by nurses or certified technicians. The results are reviewed by a volunteer cardiac physician, and discussed only with the employee.

      Additional screenings are scheduled for three days each month. The next screening is scheduled for March 22-24 at Columbia Police Headquarters, One Justice Square from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.