Should you get tested for hepatitis C?

Understanding the nuances of hep C, its transmission, and the potential consequences is vital to reducing the burden of this potentially fatal disease, says Debbie Brown, SWLC, ACLC, RiverStone Health manager for Health Provision. Free, walk-in hepatitis C testing is available at RiverStone Health RISE Clinic, 123 S. 27th St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. RISE offers a finger-stick test and provides results in about 20 minutes. If you test positive for hepatitis C, treatment can be started right away. FDA-approved treatments usually involve 8–12 weeks of pills and cure more than 90% with few side effects.

Early prenatal care best for mother and baby

If you are about to begin your pregnancy journey and aren’t already taking a daily prenatal vitamin with extra folate, start taking one, says Dr. Marina Hansen, a family doctor at RiverStone Health Clinic. Schedule an appointment with an obstetric provider early in your pregnancy. For prenatal appointments at RiverStone Health, call 406-247-3350.

Caring community can prevent suicides

Our community can unite to prevent suicide, says Sarah Music, chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yellowstone Valley, and Population Health manager at RiverStone Health. To learn more, register for the free Sept. 22 suicide prevention conference at Participants may attend virtually or in person at the St. Vincent Healthcare Mansfield Education Center in Billings. Continuing education credits are available for virtual or in-person attendance if you are a nurse, teacher, LAC, LCPC or LCSW.

Know your A1c to reduce risk of diabetes complications

By controlling blood sugar and watching your A1c level, your doctor can provide guidance to help you avoid diabetes complications, Dr. Grace Rose, a family physician at RiverStone Health Clinic, explains in this Billings Gazette column. If you are diagnosed with diabetes and would like more information on how to better control your A1c or to see if this testing is right for you, contact your primary care provider. Appointments are available at RiverStone Health Clinic by calling 406.247.3350.

How do e-cigarettes affect teens’ brains?

Many Montana children are unaware of the harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes. Alli Kieckbusch, prevention health specialist at RiverStone Health, offers tips for parents to educate their children. Alli can be reached at

Smart fish choices for your healthy diet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions Americans to limit their consumption of some fish and seafood. To protect your health, it’s important to know the risks so you can make well informed food choices. In this Billings Gazette column, Chris Walker, a communicable disease case investigator at RiverStone Health, explains precautions that reduce metal exposure risks from eating fish caught in Montana waters and from commercial fish products.

Your Community Health Center welcomes everyone

During Community Health Center Week Aug. 7-12, RiverStone Health thanks our patients for entrusting us with their care and allowing us to be part of their journey to better health. We celebrate our dedicated staff, and we highlight our mission to improve life, health and safety for our entire community. If you would like to learn more, read this Billings Gazette column from Eric Owen, RiverStone Health vice president for clinic and public health services.

Rabies lives in Montana; prevention protects us

RiverStone Health has been averaging 10 animal bite reports a week. Most involve pets biting a person. Pet owners who keep their animals’ rabies vaccinations up to date are protecting their furry friends, people around them and other animals from risk of this fatal disease, says Casey Saul, communicable disease interventionist at RiverStone Health. Casey provides evidence-based recommendations on rabies prevention to bite victims. To report an animal bite, phone 406.247.2129 or email

How to help your student get ready for middle school

Starting middle school is a big transition that often brings worries for students and parents. Helping your child get ready for middle school can ease the stress on both of you. Brandi McFerran, LCSW, for RiverStone Health Clinic at Medicine Crow Middle School offers practical tips for a good start in middle school in this column. To reach the RiverStone Health School-based Clinic, call 406-247-3210.

Take stress out of back-to-school immunizations

Students starting kindergarten and sixth-grade usually are due for recommended vaccinations to prevent serious diseases. If your student isn’t up to date on vaccinations, now is the time to make an appointment with your child’s healthcare provider or with the RiverStone Health Immunization Program by calling 406.247.3382. Brenda Koch, manager of the RiverStone Health Immunization Program, offers tips to take the stress out of student immunizations in this column.

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