ICHS expands free legal services for patients

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) today announced the expansion of a program that gives access to free legal services for ICHS patients. Low income patients referred from ICHS’s Shoreline Clinic can now meet with ELAP’s attorneys for free legal advice. The announcement follows the launch of similar services at the ICHS Bellevue Clinic in October 2018.

“We’ve seen a positive impact for patients at our Bellevue Clinic and we are thrilled to work with ELAP to bring the same to Shoreline,” said Kimo Hirayama, assistant medical director at the ICHS Shoreline Clinic. ”Many of our patients are immigrants or refugees who face unique challenges or vulnerable circumstances. In providing access to qualified legal experts, we hope to address issues that put families’ health at risk and threaten our communities.”

ELAP experts can help patients on a wide range of civil matters, including those related to public benefits, housing, education and employment, legal status and family law issues.

“The Medical-Legal Partnership was founded on the idea that the most effective health care services target health problems at the source,” said Dorothy Leggett, ELAP MLP staff attorney. “We know that legal issues are stressors that can negatively impact a patient’s health and the community’s wellbeing. By working alongside health care teams to help patients assert their legal rights, we hope to increase access to free civil legal aid and improve overall health outcomes.”

Services are available to qualifying King County residents who fall below 200% of the federal poverty level, which was $50,200 for a family of four in 2019. The health care teams at ICHS work closely with ELAP’s legal aid attorneys to identify patients who qualify. Referred patients will meet with an attorney for sessions that can be scheduled at either the ICHS Bellevue or Shoreline Clinic.

For more information about free legal help available to ICHS patients, please call 206-788-3700.

$70K grant helps ICHS inspire a new generation of health care leaders

Program prepares youth of color for future careers while meeting workforce demand for culturally competent health care

A $70,000 grant from the Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation is helping International Community Health Services (ICHS) prepare youth from diverse backgrounds for a future in health care. This fall, ICHS launched the Building Leadership: Building Healthy Communities program at Seattle World School. The two-year partnership between Seattle World School and ICHS will give students hands-on experience and training in medicine, as it helps ICHS address a growing demand for culturally competent care.

“ICHS is committed to training the next generation of health care providers,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “What better way to do this than by partnering with our school-based health center. By supporting youth of color, we expand who has access to education and jobs in this sustainable and desirable field, as well as create new leaders who can provide transformative health care in their communities.”

The program combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning, job shadowing and mentorship. The Vietnamese Friendship Association will provide career counseling so students can apply for health care jobs and secondary education programs. Ninety-eight percent of Seattle World School students are immigrants or refugees, and 97% qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“While students at Seattle World School are extremely motivated to pursue their dreams, they may lack awareness of their options,” said Kate Ceronsky, nurse practitioner at ICHS and one of the program’s founders. “We are giving them tools for exploration, as well as a stepping stone for the future.”

Additional training programs at ICHS
Students 18 and over who complete the program can apply for additional ICHS professional training programs and opportunities that lead directly into a career in health care. For example, ICHS, in conjunction with Washington Association Community Health, offers a one-year registered Medical Assistant Apprenticeship, a full-time, paid position that combines formal instruction with on-the-job training. After completion, graduates take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam to obtain state credentials. Apprentices are contracted with ICHS for an additional year after obtaining certification. ICHS plans to become a training site for a similar apprenticeship for dental assistants in 2020. Both programs help ICHS build a pipeline of qualified health professionals that reflect the communities in which it serves.

Closing a cultural gap in health care
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care will add 2.4 million new jobs and grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, more than any other occupational group. The agency says this projected growth is due to an aging population that is placing greater demand on services. As a result, many areas of the U.S. are experiencing a shortage in primary care physicians, registered nurses and other certified health workers.

This labor shortage is occurring as minorities continue to face health care disparities. Research suggests that medical providers who give patients culturally competent care — which respects a person’s heritage and values — often see improved patient outcomes.

“In increasing the numbers and diversity of qualified health professionals, ICHS is helping close persistent cultural gaps to create more vibrant communities that benefit us all,” said Batayola.

National Health Center Week 2019: Rooted in communities

International Community Health Services (ICHS) celebrated National Health Center Week from Aug. 4-10. This year’s theme was “Rooted in Communities,” as part of a nationwide campaign highlighting health centers’ success helping people and communities stay healthy and thrive.

We celebrated with our patients, partners and community members at each of our four full-service clinic locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline.

As well as with employee appreciation events.

The Bellevue Clinic also hosted a tree-planting and clothing drive that resulted in more than 200 winter clothing items being donated to the Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique and Acres of Diamonds.

Thank you to all who made this year’s National Health Center Week a success! Click here to see more photos.

HBCW in D.C. to advocate for hepatitis b-related care

The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW), which is sponsored by International Community Health Services (ICHS), participated in the World Hepatitis B Day summit held from July 23 to 25 in Washington, D.C. The summit focused on innovative strategies for education, testing and linkage to care, as well as on national and global efforts to eliminate hepatitis b.

The trip was highlighted with a visit to the offices of U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D., Wash.). Coalition members discussed how hepatitis B continues to impact communities and asked elected officials to join the Hepatitis B Caucus and support HR3016, known as the “Liver Act.” The legislation would authorize $100 million over five years for liver cancer prevention and awareness grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $45 million for hepatitis B and liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.

ICHS PACE at Legacy House: Now accepting applications

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is now accepting participants into its new Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at Legacy House. PACE services allow patients to “age in place,” meaning they can stay in their homes as they grow older instead of living at a nursing home. A team of doctors, therapists and specialists work together to provide and manage care, most or all of which is provided at the PACE center or at home. Transportation to and from ICHS PACE at Legacy House is also included.

“PACE is team based,” said Dr. Ric Troyer, ICHS PACE medical director. “The team talks together about patients and their concerns. A team-crafted care plan that is individualized is a much more robust way to take care of a person to help them meet their goals. The beauty of PACE is that it is inclusive of medical, social and long-term care services.”

PACE is geared specifically for people who are nursing-home eligible, having difficulty staying independent and need assistance with their daily function or activities. It is open to seniors age 55 with disabilities, or those age 65 or older, who reside in the PACE service area and are able to live safely in the community with PACE services. There are no costs or out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare and Medicaid-eligible participants. The first step is meeting with an enrollment specialist.

“You’ll complete paperwork and we’ll talk about the program and if it fits your needs. After that, we’ll arrange for a home visit to determine if modifications at home need to be made,” said Dr. Troyer. “The entire interdisciplinary team meets as a group to determine if you can safely live in the community, including the number of caregiving hours, when you will come into the center and if you need durable medical equipment.”

Preparing for a silver wave
ICHS took over the operation of Legacy House, a 75-room assisted living facility, from the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) earlier this year. The facility is the center for the ICHS Healthy Aging and Wellness program, which manages PACE along with the assisted living center, an adult day care program and daily meal program at the Bush Asia Center.

“It’s been exciting to bring the two organizations together,” said Dr. Troyer. “ICHS’s medical expertise has enhanced the great programs already in place at Legacy House, as well as creates new opportunities to increase services.”

ICHS is helping Washington state prepare for an upcoming “silver tsunami” as the population becomes older and more racially and culturally diverse. The U.S. Census estimates nearly 25% of King County’s total population will be 65 years or older by 2040 — up from about 18%. ICHS plans to meet the area’s needs for affordable and culturally competent senior health services by establishing additional PACE programs. These include AiPACE, a new non-profit organization that partners Kin On and ICHS to open a $20 million PACE center in North Beacon Hill.

“ICHS is stepping up to serve the needs of a multicultural and aging population,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We recognize the best way to care for people is to consider their full spectrum of needs, and especially for services to be delivered in a culturally and linguistically competent way.”

 For more information about enrolling in ICHS PACE at Legacy House, call: 206.462.7100.

Congratulations to ICHS family medicine residency program graduates

On June 19, Lisa Chan, MD, and Tiffany Ho, MD, became the first graduates of the International Community Health Center (ICHS) family medicine residency program. Established in 2016, the program trains residents to practice in a community health care setting via a partnership with the Swedish Family Medicine Residency at Cherry Hill. It offers physicians three years of training alongside the medical staff at the ICHS International District Clinic.

“Lisa and Tiffany have done an outstanding job caring for our patients, building trust, compassion and advocacy,” said Jessica Guh, a physician at ICHS’s Holly Park Clinic and the program’s site director. “They have formed positive, collaborative relationships that have encouraged patients to be more involved in their health care decisions. They have helped the International District Clinic increase access and reduce barriers to patient care.”

Dr. Chan and Dr. Ho have also started a new tradition for future program graduates. At their graduation ceremony, they announced the Donnie Chin Memorial Mission Award, which will honor outstanding community service from an International District Clinic staff member. The inaugural award went to medical assistants Caiyou (Yoyo) Wu and Fengmei (May) Lin.

“We’re pleased to recognize Yoyo and May’s long-term commitment to the clinic and their dedication to our patients that goes above and beyond their clinical roles,” said Ho. “They’ve both been incredibly compassionate and have helped us tremendously.”

Family physicians are often a patient’s first point of contact. They care for patients of all ages and genders through all stages of life. They play a key role in overseeing preventative care, diagnosing new conditions and managing chronic illness. Residencies like the one at ICHS are important in ensuring there are enough qualified professionals to meet future needs.

“ICHS is taking a leading role in training the next generation of qualified health professionals to practice in community health,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Improving health care outcomes for underserved communities starts with well-trained providers who have experience delivering culturally and linguistically competent care.”

ICHS hosts dental and advanced nurse practitioner residency programs in addition to its family medicine residency. More information about ICHS’s family medicine residency program can be found here. 

 

Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visit ICHS Legacy House

On June 19, Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visited ICHS Legacy House in support of healthy aging programs to help Chinatown-International District seniors thrive.

The lawmakers helped International Community Health Services (ICHS) usher in good fortune at an open house event, helping “feed” red envelopes to Chinese lion dancers from martial arts master Tony Au and his Seattle International Lion Dance Team. The traditional Chinese dance ended with messages of good luck that unfolded from the lions’ mouths and a burst of confetti to scare away evil spirits.

ICHS held the open house to celebrate its takeover of the operation of Legacy House from the Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) on March 1, as well as its new Healthy Aging and Wellness Program (HAWP). Targeted to keep adults age 60 and older active and engaged in the community, HAWP includes assisted living at Legacy House, adult day services, a meal program at the Bush Asia Center and ICHS PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), which begins enrollment on July 1.

ICHS board members, staff, partners and community members enjoyed refreshments, tours and entertainment, including dance performances from Legacy House residents.

ICHS to create exhibit space with $80k Historic South Downtown grant

L-R: State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, Historic South Downtown ED Kathleen Barry Johnson and ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew

Historic South Downtown (HSD) has awarded an $80,000 grant to International Community Health Services (ICHS) to support development and installation of a permanent historical exhibition in its International District medical-dental clinic.

On May 13, ICHS was one of 19 organizations to receive grants in the Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square. The grants will fund projects that support small businesses and local nonprofits, improve public spaces, and protect and develop historic and cultural programs.

The ICHS multimedia exhibit will include photos, video and objects that highlight key moments in the 46-year history of ICHS as it has grown from a one-room storefront clinic into a regional health care provider that now serves over 31,000 patients over 50 languages at 11 service sites in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline. The exhibit will be located in the first floor lobby of the ID clinic.

ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew noted, “This exhibit will help newcomers and the next generation of patients and supporters understand how the institution came to be and the continuing relevance of our guiding mission of health equity.”

The ICHS: Our Story exhibit will be dedicated in August 2019 in celebration of National Health Center Week.

ICHS helping lead statewide efforts to protect kids against disease

Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue clinics recognized with 2019 Immunize Washington award

International Community Health Services (ICHS) continues to help lead efforts to protect children against disease and improve vaccination rates in Washington state. ICHS medical clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were recently honored as 2019 Immunize Washington award winners for successfully ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines.

“The current measles outbreak reminds us that protecting young people against future disease requires a community effort,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Parents, schools and health care providers must all work together to address vaccine gaps and help provide accountability. ICHS is proud of its success safeguarding the health of the youth in our communities.”

As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park, Chinatown-International District and Shoreline medical clinics respectively immunized 99% of toddlers and 84% of teens, 96% of toddlers and 84% of teens, and 92% of toddlers. This is the fifth consecutive year the Holly Park and Chinatown-International District clinics have been awarded Gold status, which is given to providers with a minimum 80% patient immunization rate. The ICHS Bellevue clinic was honored a Bronze provider for its immunization of teens.

The Health Plan Partnership, a cooperative alliance of the Department of Health, Health Care Authority, Governor Jay Inslee and all the major health plans in Washington, has annually hosted the Immunize WA provider recognition program since 2014. The award recognizes clinics reaching immunization rates of 70% or higher in child and adolescent patient populations. With progressive increases each year, this year was the most successful to date. See the full 2019 Immunize Washington awardee list (PDF).