BILLINGS – Families enjoyed the 4th annual Kids Fun Day at ZooMontana on Sunday. The event started four years ago at Grand View Park and has been at the zoo for three years.
It is a collaboration between St. Vincent Healthcare and Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. The partnership has brought in pediatric specialists and uses telemedicine to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real-time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site.
“Collaborating with a bigger hospital, it gets the physicians out here,” said Tina Stinson, St. Vincent NICU manager. “So our Montana families can stay here and get really great care here in the state as opposed to traveling to Denver or Salt Lake or Washington; any of those bigger areas.”
“This celebration started four years ago and it’s been such a great success that they’ve continued it so it’s something we look forward to coming to every year,” said Marilyn Morris, Primary Children’s Hospital Pediatric Community Outreach Specialist. “Being able to take care of more medical needs here at home, locally where you’ve got family support, it’s crucial for families.”
“Our collaboration has brought so many specialties to our Montana patients and has really grown our program at St. Vincent,” Stinson said.
Morris works on safety topics for Primary Children’s and shared some of that information in Billings.
“We have a program called “Hold on to Dear Life” and we talk about water safety and helmet safety, ATV safety, safety in and around cars,” Morris said. “We’re baking cookies in and around cars to show why children shouldn’t be left in a car. We’re talking about helmets and the importance of the right gear when you’re riding ATVs and of course water safety.”
The celebration includes lunch for the children, fun, games and a chance to see the animals.
“Just a way for us to really let the community see how great this collaboration is,” Stinson said. “It’s so fun to celebrate the kids and show off all the fun gifts.”
Primary Children’s sends doctors in several specialties and a pediatric general surgery program is planned for the fall.