International Community Health Services Opens New Vision Clinic

VISION CLINIC RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY

International Community Health Services (ICHS), the largest neighborhood-based health care provider for Asian Pacific Islander and immigrant communities in Washington State, held a ribbon-cutting service on Nov. 6, to celebrate the opening of its new vision clinic in the Chinatown-International District.

The 1,200-square-foot clinic, located in a storefront across the plaza from the ICHS medical-dental building in International District Village Square, was built with support from a $350,000 grant from the City of Seattle. Design began in October 2016, and the clinic was completed last month. The clinic includes two exam rooms and is expected to handle approximately 900 visits by its second year of operation.

Dr. Andrea Liem, optometrist for the new clinic, says she’s excited to start serving ICHS patients. She said the emphasis of the clinic will be providing primary eye care.

She pointed out that she herself has been going to see an optometrist since middle school. “I’ve worn contact lenses and eyeglasses in the past, and eventually had laser surgery to correct my myopia,” Dr. Liem said. “Based on my personal experience and my family’s need for vision care, I am able to empathize with and better serve my patients.”

ICHS currently provides primary care to nearly 29,000 patients in over 50 different languages at its seven clinic locations in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue.

The vision clinic concept arose out of discovery that only half of ICHS patients completed their referrals for eye care. Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, said, “Vision problems in the United States are the most prevalent disability among children and youth, and is one of the top disabilities for adults.”

Batayola noted that next year will be the 45th anniversary of ICHS. “It’s nice to finally have this sorely needed service in place as we celebrate our agency’s milestone,” she said.

Amanda Chin, a Beacon Hill resident, had strongly advocated for the vision clinic as a member of the ICHS patient advisory council several years ago. “For me to be able to voice this and now actually seeing it happen is amazing,” said Chin. She and her family—including her mother, father, two brothers and sister—are longtime ICHS patients. Members of the Chin family attended the ribbon-cutting.

Former Seattle City Council member Jean Godden, who helped secure the $350,000 grant from the City during the 2015 budget process, was also at the ceremony. The grant was one of Godden’s last pieces of legislation before she retired.

View pictures from the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHskwKqfnp

ICHS hosts U.S. Sen Maria Cantwell in support of Medicaid and the ACA

On Sept. 22, ICHS Holly Park Clinic and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola were honored to host a press conference for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell as she spoke out against the Graham Cassidy bill, the latest attack on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

The bill would block grants supporting Medicaid and redistributes funds to all states, hurting Washington state and the many who have benefited Medicaid expansion. The bill will also eliminate insurance subsidies for working individuals and families who are low income but don’t qualify for Medicaid.

In illustrating the bill’s harmful effects, Sen. Cantwell was joined by two patients — a mom who spoke of her 7-year-old child with a rare medical condition and a woman who is a four-time survivor of different cancers.

“Our state is fortunate to have Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray lead the fight for affordable, quality health care.  We all need to contact our friends, families and networks in other states, especially Alaska, to contact their own U.S. senators to defeat the Graham Cassidy proposal and to focus on bipartisan solutions to stabilize community health centers before our funding expires on September 30,” said Batayola.

View pictures from the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5yVpNL

ICHS names Rayburn Lewis interim chief medical officer

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced that Rayburn Lewis has been named interim chief medical officer, effective immediately.

Lewis, a board-certified internal medicine physician, most recently served as CEO of Swedish Issaquah. His tenure contributed to widespread recognition of Swedish Issaquah’s high quality and high patient satisfaction. Previously, he served as executive director and vice president of medical affairs at Swedish Ballard, and as COO at Swedish Cherry Hill

“ICHS’ mission to provide affordable health care for all, and its commitment to the underserved and uninsured strongly aligns with my professional and personal endeavors. I look forward to the opportunity to further make an impact,” Lewis said.

Lewis will continue ICHS efforts directed at improving health equity and achieving the best possible patient outcomes. He will also support ICHS’ 10-year strategic plan, focused on continuous improvements in infrastructure, customer service, human investment, sustainability and quality.

“I am pleased to welcome Rayburn and look forward to his leadership. His experience and knowledge will elevate ICHS as we continue to deliver affordable, high-quality health care services, while growing to meet our communities’ needs  as a vibrant and dynamic organization,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO.

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. 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, 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.

Ending the silence on hepatitis B

May is viral hepatitis awareness month and in its recognition the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW) hosted its’s annual forum on hepatitis B on May 23, 2017, at the New Holly Gathering Hall in South Seattle. This year’s theme was “ending the silence on hepatitis B”. The forum was highlighted by a showing of a documentary on hepatitis B titled “BE ABOUT IT” featuring two families’ struggle with the diseases. Following the documentary, those in attendance broke into small groups and discussed how the story related to them, their community/ and their work, what stood out the most to them in the movie, what lessons they take away and share with their respective communities, and how they could continue to raise hepatitis B awareness in their communities.

In addition to finding the documentary informative and an effective tool to raise hepatitis B awareness in the communities, attendees felt that it “put human face to the disease and felt that they could relate to the story in many ways such as its focus on family, family support, cost, loss, resilience, stigma, the emotional impact of the disease, the importance of vaccines and promotion of immunization. Many expressed the need for the documentary to be translated into languages spoken by the communities and for it to be shown on smaller settings such as community centers and households.

Before the showing of the documentary, attendees enjoyed taking pictures with the Hepatitis B United (a national partner of HBCW) mascot Oliver and visited information booths that displayed information about HBCW’s member partners.

ICHS patients share their stories with Sen. Patty Murray to fuel fight for affordable health care in Washington

While age, experience and background differed, patients and health practitioners at International Community Health Services (ICHS) were united in a single, important message today to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) – don’t let the Senate take away affordable health care. Murray will head to Washington, D.C., armed with this message and stories from ICHS patients, as she calls on Senate Republicans to end closed-door deliberations in exchange for public hearings on the American Health Care Act.

“Sen. Murray’s advocacy comes at a time when the stakes couldn’t be higher,” said ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola. “Six thousand ICHS patients benefit from expanded Medicaid and an additional 2,200 risk being priced out of insurance coverage if they lose medical subsidies and tax credits.”

During her visit to ICHS, Murray toured facilities, spoke with staff and doctors, and collected opinions and concerns from patients and the local community. Remarks from Batayola and Murray pointed to the progress made under the Affordable Care Act, as well as the high costs of rolling back Medicaid. Batayola also underscored community health centers’ value as part of the national health care safety net; saving taxpayers, on average, $2,371 (24%) in total spending per Medicaid patient, when compared to other providers.

“The concern I heard today in stories from patients at ICHS about how they might lose coverage for life-saving treatment if Trumpcare is enacted was moving and powerful,” said Murray. “The last thing patients and their families should have to worry about is Republicans taking the care they rely on away or forcing them to pay more – and that’s why I’m doing everything I can to make sure their voices are heard in back in Washington, D.C., and fighting to keep Republicans from jamming this harmful bill through.”

“Our message to Congress is – preserve coverage for those currently covered. So many fear the loss of life-saving and the most basic of health care services, including doctor visits, maternity and prenatal care, hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health and ambulance rides,” said Batayola. “We thank Sen. Murray and those like her, who are leading the fight for us in Congress. But we also have a job to do in making sure those who would suffer under the Senate’s ‘in the dark’ health care bill are heard.”

Among those Murray listened to were two members of the local community. Douglas Hathaway, a Medicaid recipient with Parkinson’s disease, shared how affordable health care was vital to being able to work; and Kelly Hill, a behavioral health worker talked about seeing two sides of the coin in the national health care debate, as her son has special needs that requires costly medical care.

More than 600,000 Washington state residents risk losing health care coverage under the state’s Medicaid program with passage of the American Health Care Act; while another 72,000 to 100,000 risk losing their current private insurance.

 

Click to view pictures from Sen. Patty Murray’s visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHskXnL7Ue