ICHS Foundation raises over $38,000 in the first virtual edition of the Lunar New Year 5k

Lunar New Year Virtual 5k Cover

ICHS Lunar New Year Virtual 5k

Participants from across the country joined together to raise money for free and low-cost health services for International Community Health Services patients.

ICHS Foundation raised $38,736 in the first-ever Lunar New Year Virtual 5k last week. Over 350 participants ran and walked courses of their own choosing, while practicing social distancing in this experimental fundraising event for ICHS Foundation. All the proceeds will fund free and low-cost health services for ICHS patients who otherwise would not be able to afford them.

Running together, safely apart

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events have been cancelled to decrease the spread of the virus. At the same time, many ICHS patients have lost health insurance at a time when access to health services are paramount. In order to continue this year’s Lunar New Year 5k to support our patients in a way that would keep participants safe, the planning committee pivoted to a new event format – a virtual 5k.

A new experience

As a virtual event, the Lunar New Year Virtual 5k was planned to provide flexibility for participants to run safely. Rather than a set course on a specific day, participants completed their 5k runs or walks along the course of their own choosing throughout the week. Some participants took a walk in their local neighborhoods, others ran along the old race course on the Interurban Trail in Shoreline, and others completed trail runs in Grand Canyon, Arizona.

The event reached two milestones. The first being the widest age range with participants age 1 to 93 joining in the event. The other, being the most wide-reaching participation ever for ICHS Foundation with participants running in 15 states!

To continue the camaraderie and celebration, the virtual 5k also connected with the community on social media. Participants shared selfies and course photos wearing their event t-shirts and using the hashtag #ICHSLNY5k. ‘Running together, safely apart’ became the central message of the race as social media pages filled with photos of participants sharing in their commitment to the cause and completion of the race.

As our communities continue to be resilient through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this February has also been a time of hope as ICHS has continued to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to our most vulnerable. Despite the challenges we all face together, ICHS Foundation continues to bring together the community to support the mission of health equity and access for ICHS patients.

We look forward to seeing you next year – the Year of the Tiger!

 

We extend our gratitude to our generous 2021 Lunar New Year Virtual 5k sponsors:

 

PLATINUM SPONSOR ($7,500):

Columbia Bank logo

 

GOLD SPONSORS ($5,000):

Super jock 'n jill logo

 

SILVER SPONSORS ($2,500):

Amerigroup

Arcora Foundation

Kaiser Permanente Logo

 

BRONZE SPONSORS ($1,000):

Denise Louie Education Center

Molina Healthcare of Washington

Rainier Vehicle and Vessel Licensing ($1,500 contribution)

Seattle Gummy Company

State secretary of health at ICHS to discuss COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Umair A. Shah, Washington state secretary of health, visits ICHS

On Jan. 12, as COVID-19 vaccine efforts ramp up in Washington state and across the nation, leaders from International Community Health Services (ICHS) welcomed Dr. Umair A. Shah, Washington state secretary of health, to the health center’s International District Clinic.

The meeting opened opportunities for ICHS to raise issues as staff and providers look ahead to the next phases of Washington state’s vaccine rollout, which will continue to target those at highest risk. ICHS received the first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 23, vaccinating front line health workers and residents in its senior congregate care facility, ICHS Legacy House.

“Our successful end to the pandemic is critically tied to the efficient and equitable distribution of the vaccine,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, “As a community health center, ICHS will be key in helping those most at risk overcome language, culture, income and vaccine misinformation barriers that could prevent them from getting vaccinated. We are honored to welcome Dr. Shah to our International District Clinic. Today’s meeting was a productive step in coordinating public, private and community efforts to make sure we inform and reach everyone.”

The secretary released a statement, “Dr. Shah applauds the important work ICHS has done to ensure people in King County’s diverse communities (and beyond) have access to quality, affordable health care, including COVID-19 testing, during the pandemic. ICHS contributions will help ensure an equitable, culturally responsive, and efficient distribution of Washington state’s supply of COVID-19 vaccine so that no one – no matter where they live, their racial or ethnic background, their income, language, or immigration or insurance status – is left behind.”

ICHS receives first delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

ICHS staff COVID19 vaccinations

On Dec. 23, International Community Health Services (ICHS) was among the first of the area’s health centers to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and begin vaccinating frontline health workers.

Reactions were jubilant, as staff saw the end of a challenging year and the nation’s largest health crisis, come into sight.

Ping Yang receives COVID19 vaccine
Ping Yang, ICHS acupuncturist

“The shot has no pain at all for me,” said Ping Yang, acupuncturist, first to be delivered the vaccine at the International District Clinic. “At last I don’t have to worry, because I’m seeing patients every time and no one knows who is carrying what. The vaccine is good for me, my family, my community and hopefully I can visit my parents, they are 97 years old.

Community members can be confident that the vaccine is safe and that it works, said Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS chief medical officer. “I enthusiastically rolled up my sleeve to be vaccinated and urge everyone to do the same. It is the best way to look out for yourself, your family and your community. I will now be able to spend Christmas with my 89-year-old father with additional protection and without great anxiety. This is how we stop people from dying and return to normal life.”

The vials of the Moderna vaccine are a milestone in ending the pandemic. Initial supplies will be limited and given to groups at highest risk, such as health care workers and people in long-term care facilities, said Getaneh. The next priority groups will be essential workers with higher risk of exposure, adults with underlying health conditions and adults 65 years and older. Eventually there will be enough for everyone who wants a vaccination. She urged patience, as well as offered a reminder there will still be a need to wear a mask, maintain distancing and practice good hygiene for some time.

In February 2020, ICHS was the first community health center in the nation to see a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. As a result, ICHS has helped set best practices guiding the response of the nation’s nearly 1,400 federally qualified health centers, which collectively serve 30 million people, most of them low income, immigrants and refugees.


For more information

Visit the Public Health – Seattle & King County website for the latest information and updates about vaccine development and distribution.

We encourage you to talk to your ICHS doctor about the vaccine’s benefits. Please visit our page with COVID-19 vaccine updates to learn more. 

Run your own way in the 2021 Lunar New Year Virtual 5k

Lunar New Year Virtual 5k 2021 ICHSICHS Foundation today opened registration for the annual 2021 Lunar New Year 5k at www.ichs.com/5k.

Beginning on the first week of the Lunar New Year Feb 12th – 18th, the Lunar New Year Virtual 5k’s new format provides more flexibility for participation. Registrants choose their own course and personal day to race, while encouraging safely physically distancing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Race proceeds fund patient health care access

All race proceeds will fund patient health services for families who could not otherwise afford them.

“Its been a tough year, and ICHS has been on the frontlines caring for patients and our communities.” says Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation Director, “This event is a way for us all to celebrate a new, better year ahead and support our patients.”

The event is hosted by the ICHS Foundation, a separate non-profit that fundraises year round to support ICHS’s patients with free or low-cost health services. The COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions to the health insurance coverage for many Washington residents highlights the importance of providing affordable health care access to anyone who needs it.

Registration is now open

The Lunar New Year Virtual 5k is open to all ages. Participants run or walk the course of their choice during the first week of the Lunar New Year (Feb. 12-18, 2021). Registration is $35 with an early bird discounted price of $30 ending Jan. 12, 2021. Attendees under 14 or 65 and older can participate for free.

ICHS pilots at-home monitoring tools to improve virtual care of high-risk patients

As one of 20 national pilot sites, ICHS patients will screen and manage chronic conditions from home for better preventive health care and virtual visits. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) has selected International Community Health Services (ICHS) as one of 20 health centers in 16 states to participate in “Leading Change: Transforming At-Home Care,” a cutting-edge pilot project offering tools for self-care and remote monitoring for better patient health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted ICHS to reimagine how to manage preventive and virtual care for patients with chronic diseases when regular in-person visits are difficult or no longer feasible. Remote patient monitoring can provide providers with important information and context that might otherwise be missed during a virtual visit.

“ICHS is honored to be chosen for this timely initiative,” said Dr. Beth Weitensteiner, assistant medical director of the ICHS Holly Park Clinic,  who will drive ICHS’s participation in the project. “It’s important we continue to see patients with chronic conditions throughout the pandemic. This strategy provides them with tools and information they can use to care for themselves at home with our help. Further empowering patients allows us to better identify new symptoms and potential emergencies, which could be lifesaving.”

Twenty high-risk patients from the ICHS Holly Park Clinic will be given a patient home care kit that includes materials for colorectal cancer screening, a home blood-sugar monitor for diabetes, a blood pressure monitor, a thermometer and scale. They will also receive educational materials and regular virtual visits from ICHS staff and providers.

“This pandemic has shown us how community health center partners can step-up to transform our local healthcare systems and lead us into the future with new blended care delivery models that include at-home self-care integrated with virtual care,” NACHC’s Quality Center said in a written statement. “These steps have the potential to critically improve the way preventive care and chronic diseases are managed during and beyond this pandemic.”

The pilot is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration and is designed to capture data through June 2021. Among the outcomes, ICHS will provide lessons and best practices that will be shared with health centers nationally.

With many U.S. adults delaying preventive care and with six in 10 having at least one chronic condition including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, regular health management is a matter of life and death with added COVID-19 risks. A large population of high-risk patients who are more likely to suffer from a disproportionate array of chronic conditions are cared for by community health centers like ICHS.

“ICHS serves a patient population that, because of language or culture, has historically faced difficulty accessing quality, affordable health care,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “While the pandemic has accelerated the acceptance of telehealth and its widespread use, it has also highlighted disparities exacerbated by a digital divide. In participating in this pilot project, ICHS is serving on the forefront of developing innovative practices to bridge the accessibility gap for those who may be otherwise underserved.”

ICHS Foundation seeks executive director as Ron Chew retires

Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director and Heidi Wong, AiPACE capital campaign manger, visiting Olympia to advocate for AiPACE.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation is searching for a new executive director as Ron Chew retires on January 1. Chew has led the ICHS Foundation for the past 10 years, effectively steering the recruitment of an active board of directors and new fundraising and capital campaign initiatives, as well as building a vibrant network of support.

Ron at Shoreline
Ron Chew with Dan Eernissee, economic development program manager at the City of Shoreline, during construction of the ICHS Shoreline clinic in 2014.

“Thanks to Ron’s strong leadership, the ICHS Foundation is well-positioned to welcome new leadership in support of ICHS’s vision and promise of affordable health care for all,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “His many contributions ensure ICHS and the Foundation will continue to serve our communities and meet our patients’ needs far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and for generations to come.”

Chew recently completed his memoir, “My Unforgotten Seattle,” and says he is looking forward to spending time on more writing projects. Chew made indelible imprints on the community over the years, as a longtime editor of the International Examiner, a visionary leader reimagining the Wing Luke Museum, and now as the director who built the capacity and potential of the ICHS Foundation. As he transitions into retirement, he will continue to support Aging in PACE (AiPACE), a partnership between ICHS and Kin On, in its $20 million capital campaign to build and operate a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to care for those who are qualified for nursing home care but want to stay in the community and live in their own homes.

“It’s been a privilege to have served ICHS during the later stages of its evolution from a ramshackle one-room storefront clinic into a full service health care provider with 11 different sites,” said Chew. “I look forward to continuing to assist ICHS and Kin On with raising funds to complete the ‘aging-in-place’ site on Beacon Hill.”

Chew previously served as executive director of the Wing Luke Asian Museum from 1991 to 2007, setting its course to become a culturally thriving and financially viable institution. Before that, he worked for over 13 years as editor of the International Examiner, where he was instrumental in a larger movement to recognize the role of ethnic and neighborhood newspapers in anchoring healthy communities.

Established in 2007, the ICHS Foundation’s mission is to build donor support from individuals, businesses, community partners and private foundations to sustain charity care provided at ICHS clinics and to bridge operational shortfalls that are not covered through public resources.

See the job listing here. For more information, please call 206.788.3672 or email foundation@ichs.com.

2021 Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Now you can enroll, renew or change your health plan through Washington HealthplanFinder. There are more plans to chose from, including a new, affordable health plan option called Cascade Care. Take time to compare plans as you may qualify for a low-cost one.

Open Enrollment Calendar DateImportant Dates

Nov. 1 – Open enrollment begins

Dec. 15 – Last day to register for a health plan that begins Jan. 2021

Jan. 15 – Last day to register for a health plan that begins Feb. 2021

If you miss open enrollment, you cannot enroll in a health plan unless you have a special qualifying “life event”.

ICHS is here to help

ICHS provides free help to our patients and for anyone seeking to enroll or renew their health insurance. Schedule an appointment with one of our multilingual outreach and enrollment navigators. They can explain your health plan options and assist you with enrolling.

Our staff speak languages including: Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Toisanese), Korean, Russian, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese.

Call (206) 788-3700 to schedule an appointment. We are only accepting appointments by phone.

Learn more about ICHS insurance assistance.

ICHS Clinics Receive 2020 Immunize Washington Awards

Immunize WA Award

Fifth consecutive year ICHS named Gold Level Provider

International Community Health Services (ICHS) has been recognized for its success protecting children through vaccination. All four of ICHS’s medical and dental clinics were honored with gold or silver level awards in the 2020 Immunize Washington Provider Recognition Program.

 

ICHS Clinic

Child Immunization Rates

Teen Immunization Rates

Holly Park

86%  Gold Medal

92% Gold Medal

Chinatown-International District

99% Gold Medal

93% Gold Medal

Shoreline

93% Gold Medal

82% Gold Medal

Bellevue

79%  Silver Medal

N/A   

“Immunizations provide a safe, proven defense to help parents make sure children grow up strong and healthy,” says Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS chief medical officer. “They provide almost complete protection against serious diseases like measles, which still plagues some U.S. communities. Not only that, but getting vaccinated helps protect everyone, even those who are not vaccinated, by contributing to herd immunity and lowering the overall risk of infection.”

One component of ICHS’s success was proactive outreach efforts by Carmina Caoile, ICHS population health coordinator. Caoile made phone calls to ICHS patients and answered questions about cost. In Washington, youth younger than 19 can receive immunizations for free.

Caoile also represented ICHS at local health fairs to share educational materials and developed a ‘Super Kid’ incentive to make immunizations less scary. Young patients became an “ICHS Super Kid” after getting shots, complete with fun costumes, photos and certificates.

“Our young patients really enjoyed dressing up and posing for photos” Caoile shared. “Having a reward at the end motivated them to do their part to help fight disease.”

Research shows that healthcare professionals are the most trusted source of information for parents when it comes to vaccines for their children.

The full 2020 Immunize Washington awardee list can be found here. This year marks the fifth consecutive year that ICHS has achieved gold status.

PACE programs shift senior health care to the home during COVID-19

ICHS
Seniors in the ICHS PACE program ‘age in place’ in their homes and neighborhood. Rick Wong photo.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit nursing home residents it has drawn attention to the benefits of the nation’s PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) programs, which allow frail seniors to “age in place” in their own home instead of a nursing home. Enrolled seniors are safer from infection because they are supported to thrive at home.

Janet joined PACE in August 2019 so she could continue living at her home in Seattle’s Greenwood area. She was delighted that her insurance covered the International Community Health Services (ICHS) PACE program and enjoyed the adult day services at ICHS Legacy House.

When COVID-19 began spreading in King County, “PACE made a series of quick and abrupt decisions,” said Dr. Kannie Chim, ICHS PACE medical director. After weeks of declining visits, on March 9, in the interest of patient safety, Legacy House closed group activities. “The team had to pivot to reaching people through other means.”

Staff made weekly phone calls to check on participants’ and share information. Knowing that many lacked safe transportation options, PACE staff began delivering food coordinated by PACE dietitians so participants could continue sheltering in place. The PACE team also increased home visits to ensure seniors received the care they needed to stay healthy.

“Doctors, physical therapists, nurses, almost everyone comes to your home to check on you,” said Janet. “I’ve had home safety checks and they are very careful.”

PACE staff also taught Janet how to connect to telehealth services. “Everyone in the program is motivated and responsive to patients,” she said. “I like it, especially during this difficult period.”

 

Healthy aging at home

PACE programs are individually designed for each participant and managed by a team. Care is interdisciplinary—a social needs analysis and investigation into individual health barriers are part of the program. Care is culturally competent, able to meet participant needs with respect to cultural traditions, language and preferences. The goal is to allow individuals to safely live in their community for as long as possible. When that is no longer feasible, PACE can coordinate transitions that keep the participant centered in his or her care.

“It’s team-based,” said Dr. Chim. “At PACE, we say ‘Let us take all of this and put it under one roof and take care of it. Let us help, we are going to coordinate this.’”

Mei and her husband live in the Chinatown-International District (C-ID) neighborhood of Seattle. Before the pandemic, PACE drivers would pick up Mei’s husband three times a week and take him to ICHS Legacy House for medical care, physical therapy and activities. The couple continue to live in their C-ID apartment while Mei’s husband receives the primary care he needs, staying connected to multiple services to help keep him healthy.

PACE team members include doctors, therapists, nutritionists, drivers, behavioral health specialists, social workers and administrative staff to coordinate an individualized care plan.

Many ICHS PACE participants take part in adult day services and social activities at ICHS Legacy House. They may also receive care within their own home that ranges from therapy and medical visits, to meal deliveries and home safety assessments.

To be eligible for PACE, participants must be 55 or older and in need of nursing home level of care as defined by Washington state.

Most participants “join the PACE program needing a little help,” explained Dr. Chim. “You are living at home and can get around and still do your daily activities, but you are just getting by. We want to help participants not only survive, but thrive.”

 

Setting the PACE ahead

During the pandemic, long-term care facilities have been especially vulnerable to outbreaks of COVID-19. Seniors face compounding challenges, including heightened risk of infection, transportation barriers, limited access to telehealth and other difficulties.

“Offering well-coordinated, community-based health care, socialization and living support is a priority throughout this pandemic and in the future,” commented Teresita Batayola, ICHS President & CEO. “For us, PACE is the future.”

ICHS, in partnership with Kin On Health Care Center (Kin On), is taking a bold step to create a better future for elders. Established in 2015, the partnership, called Aging in PACE Washington (AiPACE), will pioneer the nation’s first aging-in-place program for the Asian Pacific Islander community. A $20 million capital campaign is underway to create a 25,000-square-foot PACE center on the north lot of Pacific Tower on Beacon Hill.

AiPACE’s facility will provide a home base for culturally-competent, in-language care for AAPI elders. It is also part of a collaborative development with affordable workforce housing by the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) and childcare center operated by El Centro de la Raza.

One-Year Anniversary Party
On Aug. 28, 2020, International Community Health Services (ICHS) staff celebrated the first anniversary of ICHS PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), a state and federally funded program designed to help seniors “age in place” at home. Rick Wong photo.