Call for Nominations: ICHS 2018 Bamboo Award for Health

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and the ICHS Foundation today announced that nominations are open for the 2018 Bamboo Award for Health. The award recognizes the outstanding work of people and organizations supporting ICHS and its mission to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health and wellness services, and promote health equity. These works and achievements may have resulted in:

  • Increased access to health services for ICHS patients, clients and local underserved communities.
  • Improved measurable health outcomes for ICHS patients, clients and local underserved communities.
  • Increased resources that allow ICHS to serve or expand its patient and client populations.

Nominations will be accepted until March 5, via the 2018 Bamboo Award Nomination Form or the Google form here. Awardees will be contacted by March 16. The 2018 Bamboo Awards for Health will be presented at the ICHS Bloom Gala on May 5.

2017 Bamboo Award winners: Dr. Allen Muramoto and Country Doctor Community Health Centers

 

2018 Bloom Gala

More information about the ICHS Bloom Gala, which raises funds to support uncompensated health care, can be found here.

Invitation to share a favorite ICHS story or memory

This year’s Bamboo Award recipients will be honored as ICHS celebrates its 45th anniversary and origins within Seattle’s Asian American community. Founded in 1973, ICHS got its start providing in-language health care for mainly elderly Chinese and Filipino patients living in single room occupancy hotels in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Volunteer doctors, interpreters and mental health staff operated the clinic and it was one of the nation’s first to focus on the health care needs of a diverse Asian American population.

As ICHS preserves the past and helps uncover the narrative of Seattle’s diverse communities for its 45th celebration, local community members are invited to share their stories, photos and memories by contacting: foundation@ichs.com.

ICHS leadership in Olympia to advocate for health safety net

ICHS in Olympia to advocate for health care
From left to right, Gildas Cheung, Hiroshi Nakano, Teresita Batayola, Kelli Nomura and Lee Marchisio

International Community Health Services (ICHS) leadership was in Olympia on Feb. 1, for Joint Legislative Days. They joined 82 CEOs, board members and senior staff representing 20 community health centers, at the state capital to advocate for a shared legislative agenda, as organized by the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers and Community Health Network Washington.

This was a chance for health centers to advocate directly to legislators on behalf of patients.Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO, and ICHS board members Gildas Cheung, Hiroshi Nakano, Kelli Nomura and Lee Marchisio participated in 18 meetings with state legislators and their staff, representing the key districts where ICHS patients live.

In these meetings, Batayola and ICHS board members thanked legislators for their leadership in passing the state’s capital budget, which will fuel the ICHS Shoreline Clinic’s dental care expansion and new AiPACE senior care program. They reiterated the importance of protecting the health safety net, and reminded lawmakers that Washington Apple Health and the Children’s Health Insurance Program keep people healthy, productive and employed. Most importantly, they made sure those in Olympia heard the stories of ICHS — our patients and their families, our providers and our communities.

Book your eye exam with the ICHS Vision Clinic!

Appointments are now open with optometrist Dr. Andrea Liem at the ICHS Vision Clinic, located in Seattle’s International District.

Comprehensive eye exams are more than checking your vision to see if you need glasses or contact lenses. During an eye exam, Dr. Liem examines the health of your eyes to look for diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. Regular eye checks help ensure a lifetime of healthy vision.

We accept most insurance plans, including Medicaid. Ask about our sliding fee scale.

Call the ICHS Vision Clinic to make an appointment: 206-788-3505.

ICHS ranked Washington’s No. 1 community health center

The Washington Health Alliance’s Community Checkup recently ranked International Community Health Services (ICHS) among the state’s top performers for excellence in care for Medicaid-insured patients. In 2016, 59% of ICHS patients were insured under Medicaid, the federal government health insurance program for low income individuals.

ICHS was compared to other community health clinics, medical groups and hospitals across Washington on measures including monitoring and screenings for conditions such as high blood pressure, breast cancer and diabetes, and the number of patients who take required medications.

“These results reflect what we already know – that ICHS and community health centers across the state deliver tremendous value to patients and society,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “Our patients, many of whom are among the most vulnerable and underserved, are low income, immigrant and minority community members. Yet, they are healthier and more productive because they receive affordable care that is high quality, effective and proven. ICHS is proud to be ranked highly as helping the state raise standards for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, as well as for counseling and health education.”

ICHS clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were rated on 22 measures for Medicaid insured, performing “average” or “better than average” on 21 when compared to other report participants. Among the areas where ICHS demonstrated excellence in treating Medicaid patients was in the effective treatment of heart disease; diabetes; and colon, cervical and breast cancer screenings.

The results of the Community Checkup, now in its eleventh year, reflect the care provided to approximately four million patients in Washington and is based on more than 100 measures of health care quality, using data supplied by more than 25 entities including health plans, self-insured employers and union trusts, and state agencies. To view the most recent Community Checkup, visit here.

In memory of Jon Sonoda

Thank you for honoring Jon Sonoda’s memory with a donation to ICHS. To make a gift, please:

  • Go to ICHS’ secure donation page here.
  • Fill in the required fields.
  • Under “Donation Information” please select “Annual Fund.”
  • Please select “Tribute Type” and “In Memory of.”
  • Please add “Jon Sonoda” and any other notes in the “Notes” field (please see below for an example).

  • Please click “Finalize and Process Donation” to complete your gift.
  • Questions about making an online donation? Please contact: foundation@ichs.com.

Remembering Jon Sonoda’s Aloha Spirit

Jon Sonoda, ICHS pharmacy manager, will be greatly missed.

In Hawaiian culture “Aloha” means more than hello and goodbye. Aloha is the island way of life based on love, compassion and friendship.

ICHS pharmacy manager Jon Sonoda passed away on Dec. 23, leaving family, friends, co-workers and patients saddened by the loss of his warm Aloha spirit. Jon led three full service pharmacies at ICHS’s Chinatown, Shoreline and Holly Park locations, pharmacy education, and pharmacy services at ACRS and Seattle World School.

Jon had a lot of plans to improve services to ICHS patients. He was the cheerleader, with always an upbeat word for others. While he felt embarrassed about any spotlight, he enjoyed it and always gave credit to his pharmacy team. He was extremely proud and protective of them and believed that his team was capable of anything. Jon’s love had no boundaries. Work or home, Jon’s generous nature was to reach out to and support whoever needed it, however they might need it.

Jon Sonada and members of the pharmacy team.

 

ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew said Jon’s generosity extended into the realm of charitable giving. “During our year-end fundraising campaign, he would come by my office and say, ‘Ron, give me a form. Who should I made a check out to?’ I never even had to ask. That’s the kind of person he was.”

Jon is survived by his wife, Zoe Sonoda, who has asked that charitable donations in Jon’s memory go to the ICHS Foundation. Please click here for instructions on how to designate a gift in Jon’s name.

Jon’s positive outlook, his passion for the ICHS vision and mission, and his service to others will be carried forward by all who knew him.

 

 

“There’s nothing to stand in the way of our dreams”

As newly arrived U.S. immigrants and refugees figure out the basic tools for survival, they have left important support networks – family, friends and community – behind. Not knowing the culture or language is intimidating and isolating.

Fortunately, there are those at International Community Health Services (ICHS) who work to serve as a bridge.

In 2015, Svetlana and Sergey Snigur, philosophy and political science university instructors, moved from their home in the Ukraine to Seattle, Wash., with sons Artem and Arsen. The family won spots in the green card lottery program, which gives just 50,000 people and their families the opportunity to live, work and study in the United States annually.

“It was not an easy transition for me, Sergey, or our sons,” said Svetlana. “Not really knowing anyone in the new country and not speaking English. Our family had no time to relax. Quickly, we had to find jobs, learn the language, sort out school for the children and find our own housing.”

High among the couple’s concerns was making sure they knew how to access affordable health care.

“In Ukraine, medical facilities are sponsored by the state,” said Svetlana. “In America, it is necessary to have medical insurance.”

Friends advised them to contact a Russian-speaking community advocate from ICHS, Aleksandra Poseukova. Using their native language, she helped them understand how their sons, who are now five and 17 years old, qualified for low cost health insurance through WA Apple Health. She helped Sergei and Svetlana sign up for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act that they purchased with a less than a $10 monthly premium.

“But what’s the point of having insurance if it’s not clear how it works,” recalls Svetlana. “I called Aleksandra many times with questions. There are still many incomprehensible terms, formalities and procedures. I am so glad I know I can call her and she can walk us through what we need to know.”

When Sergey got his first job in the United States and needed to fill out benefit forms, he turned to Aleksandra for help with the unfamiliar barrage of paperwork and choices.

“I called the company’s human resources manager and helped Sergey fill out the applications,” she said. “While Sergey understands that under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, he should include Svetlana on his employer-sponsored insurance plan, unfortunately, family’s budget does not cover her $200-a-month premium. Today, Svetlana is uninsured and lives in worry of getting sick or hurt.”

One of the casualties for the uninsured is an interruption in preventative health care. So, part of Aleksandra’s advocacy for the Snigurs included connecting Svetlana with resources that extended her health care beyond what she might receive in an emergency room.

She made sure Svetland knew about and took advantage of free preventative exams through the Breast Cervical Colon Health Program, which offers free breast cancer screenings and mammograms for low income and uninsured women.

“Svetlana gladly agreed and scheduled her first visit with ICHS’ Holy Park Clinic,” said Aleksandra. “She was so happy to see the quality of service and courtesy she received from ICHS’s doctors and staff.”

Since their arrival to the United States, the family has contacted Aleksandra on many issues.

“We know that we can trust Aleksandra to help with whatever challenge we are facing,” said Svetlana. “She makes us feel like we have an extended family here. She is aware of resources and help we would not otherwise know about. If she can’t answer a question, she knows how to find someone who can.”

Svetlana and Sergei work hard to provide for their family. Each member has their own picture of the American dream.

“Both boys are attending schools. Artem brings home straight “A’s.” Arsen is preparing for college and has a part-time job,” said Svetlana. “I’m grateful we have access to health care, and that there’s nothing to stand in the way of our dreams.”

ICHS boosts work to level health disparities with chief medical officer appointment

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced that Rayburn Lewis, MD has been named chief medical officer after serving in an interim capacity since July. Dr. Lewis retired as CEO of Swedish Issaquah in 2016.

“We look forward to Dr. Lewis’ leadership as we continue to champion health equity, care and coverage for the most fragile populations who need affordable care – those who are low-income, uninsured and underinsured,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We are deeply honored that Dr. Lewis has chosen to bring his leadership acumen to ICHS and to continue his passion for service in our communities.”

Dr. Lewis brings valuable knowledge and perspective as a physician-leader and an active member of the African American community, who has worked at creating social impact. Dr. Lewis’ tenure of success at the Swedish Medical Centers is expected to fortify ICHS’ growth in meeting the needs of the communities around ICHS clinics, especially the underserved, Asian Pacific Islanders, immigrants and refugees.

Dr. Lewis’ focus on helping the medically underserved started early. While still a medical student, he served on the board of the Yesler Terrace clinic, which saw patients from the Yesler Terrace housing project and nearby neighborhood. He was also a board member for Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers, now Neighborcare Health. He was an active leader of area school and sports programs that encouraged young men of color to experience the outdoors.

“I believe in providing the health safety net to people – regardless of ethnic and racial background, nation of origin, language, gender or gender preference,” said Dr. Lewis. “My entire career, whether through work in the community or at Swedish and Providence has been built on this commitment. The work of community health centers reduces the need for many hospital visits. The prospect of serving our communities on such a deep and transformative level was an irresistible lure out of retirement. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn as well as contribute.”

Prior to his role as CEO of Swedish Issaquah, Dr. Lewis served as executive director and vice president of medical affairs at Swedish Ballard, and as COO at Swedish Cherry Hill. Dr. Lewis is a graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, where he completed his internal medicine residency and served as chief medical resident from 1982 to 1983. He also completed an assignment as a general medical officer in orthopedics with the U.S. Public Health Service in Seattle. Dr. Lewis joined the medical staff at Swedish Health Services and Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1984, while starting a medical practice in Columbia City. He joined the Minor & James Medical Group in 1987, practicing there till 1996, and subsequently maintained a practice at the Swedish Family Medicine/Cherry Hill campus residency clinic until 2008.

As the elected chief of staff at Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1995, Dr. Lewis was recruited as medical director for quality and medical affairs. Serving in this capacity from 1995 to 2002, he became Swedish’s vice president for medical affairs from 2002 to 2007, after the two hospitals merged. He also served as medical director of the Mother Joseph Clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill for specialty care of community patients.

Funding cliff FAQs from the NACHC

Grant Implications for Health Centers after September 30, 2017

1. When will the health centers program officially go over the Cliff?

Until and unless Congress allocates sufficient funding to replenish the Community Health Centers Fund, no new mandatory funds (which constitute 70% of total funding for Section 330) will be provided to HRSA after September 30, 2017. Therefore at the Health Centers program level, the funding expires October 1.

2. When will my health center feel the direct impact of going over the Cliff?

Without a fix by Congress, your health center will feel the direct impact (meaning changes to your grant award) of going over the Cliff at the start of your next budget period, when the amount of funding your health center receives will reflect any new limitations on Section 330 funds. No health center grant periods for FY18 begin until January. Current-year funding (FY17) is not affected.

3. When will my health center feel the indirect impact of going over the Cliff?

Health centers across the country are already reporting indirect impacts from just the threat of going over the Cliff, and the disruption caused by not knowing the stability of future funding. The uncertainty around long-term funding is impacting their ability to: recruit and retain providers and other staff, to obtain loans and extend lines of credit, to sign leases and contracts and to make longterm investments and plans. We expect these “indirect” impacts to increase the longer Congress goes without a funding cliff fix.

4. Which health centers will first feel the direct impact of going over the Cliff?

A total of 235 health center organizations (1 in 6) have budget periods that begin on January 1, 2018. (No health centers have budget periods that begin in October, November, or December.) That means the Notices of Awards these 235 health centers receive for their budget period starting 1/1/2018 will likely reflect limitations on Section 330 funds, including the possibility of monthto-month funding.

5. When will HRSA make funding decisions for the January 1, 2018 Notice of Award (NOAs)?

Mid-November – that’s when they must start preparing the 1/1/2018 NOAs. 6. When will HRSA run out of money without a cliff fix? Unless Congress acts to fix the funding cliff before then, HRSA would run out of all funds by early-to-mid 2018