ICHS receives top national award for HPV cancer prevention

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is one of 10 awardees to be selected nationwide for outstanding achievements promoting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a defense against several types of cancers, including cervical and oral cancers. ICHS clinics achieved a 84% success rate vaccinating all patients 13 to 15 years of age.

ICHS was chosen as the Region X winner of the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, which is given in partnership by the Association of American Cancer Institutes, American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As the nominating agency, the Washington State Department of Health, announced ICHS’ achievement and singled out attending staff for recognition at the Washington Immunization Summit on Oct. 27.

“ICHS makes a consistent commitment to do all we can to protect young people against developing HPV-related cancers, including making sure the whole care team coordinates their efforts for maximum impact,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “We use every tool in our arsenal to track, reach, remind and educate parents and patients about the ‘who, what, where, when’s and why’s’ of HPV immunization. Our multicultural and multilingual staff play a key role in helping us overcome language and cultural barriers so we may best reach and assist the diverse communities we serve.”

The HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award Program recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that are effectively working to protect their adolescent patients against HPV cancers with high HPV vaccination rates. This year, the award program honored one Champion from each of the 10 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regions. Award nominations were accepted from all 50 U.S. states, eight U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States and the District of Columbia.

More details about ICHS’ success in HPV cancer prevention is included in a profile on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/winner-spotlights.html.

About one in nine American men is infected with the oral form of HPV, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, the fastest growing cause of throat and tongue cancer, and the single greatest risk factor for cervical cancer.

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

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

An estimated one out of every three Americans will be affected by diabetes, a chronic disease that affects how the body turns food into energy. A person has diabetes when blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high, with type 2 diabetes being the most common. Untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, eye disease, diabetic foot and other serious medical conditions.

Help avoid the complications of this disease. Make a pledge to celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month with actions and activities that promote good health:

  • Get Screened! It is recommended that people 45 years of age and older regularly check their blood sugar levels with a blood test. Call a nearby International Community Health Center (ICHS) clinic to make an appointment for a screening.
  • Know your risk factors. Family history, obesity, diet and an inactive lifestyles increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes.
  • Practice prevention. Simple exercises like walking promote a healthier lifestyle. Studies show reducing 10% of body weight can reduce risk of developing diabetes by 85%.

See ICHS’ events calendar for fun programs and resources to help manage and prevent diabetes, and download a FREE copy of ICHS’ Healthy Asian Cookbook for healthy versions of Asian recipes in Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog and Khmer:

  • A free Diwali dance celebration at the Bellevue YMCA on Nov. 12, from 12-2 pm. Dance for health and fun!
  • A line dancing class, held each Monday at the International District Community Center from 11 am to 12:30 pm, gets community members active and moving.
  • ICHS community kitchens, held on the Eastside and the International District, promote healthy recipes and eating. Participants cook and connect together.

See the American Diabetes Association website for more information and resources about diabetes.

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.

2018 open enrollment – things to know

The open enrollment period to enroll, renew or change health plans for 2018 starts on Nov. 1 through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. This year’s open enrollment period is shorter than past years, so act sooner rather than later! If you miss the Jan. 15, 2018 deadline, you and your family may be unable to make changes or sign up for benefits until the next enrollment period in fall of 2018.

Important dates:

  • Nov 1, 2017 – Open enrollment begins
  • Dec 15, 2017 – Deadline to enroll for coverage to begin by Jan. 1, 2018
  • Jan 15, 2018 – Open enrollment ends

FREE help from ICHS
ICHS provides free help for patients and for anyone seeking to enroll or renew health insurance. Plan ahead and schedule an appointment with an expert, multilingual outreach and enrollment coordinator, who can explain options and assist with sign up. Together, ICHS staff speak eight languages including: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Russian and Punjabi. Call 206-788-3700 and ask for a 2018 health insurance enrollment appointment.

Walk-in appointments available
ICHS offers open enrollment walk-in appointments on Saturdays at the ICHS International District Clinic (2nd floor) from 9 am to 3 pm. Come in on one of these Saturdays for help and answers:

  • Nov 18, 2017
  • Dec 2, 2017
  • Dec 16, 2017
  • Dec 30, 2017
  • Jan 6, 2018
  • Jan 13,2018

 

For more information
Call ICHS at: 206-788-3700, find enrollment information online at: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org, or download the mobile app “WAPlanfinder.”

Only you can save our nation’s health centers

Thank you to International Community Health Services staff, patients and friends for the emails, calls and social media posts that put pressure on Congress to extend federal funding supporting health centers before Sept. 30. Although our Congressional leaders delivered a huge disappointment by failing to authorize funding before the deadline, your voices and stories are making a difference.

For the moment, we have a reprieve. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the agency that administers our funds, has developed a plan to keep the grant funding steady through the end of December. This gives all health centers breathing room until Congress passes our bill.

Until then, we must continue to advocate. Congressional action is crucial to avoid actual cuts happening in 2018.

There has never been a more urgent need for all ICHS staff, patients and friends to help ensure the health of our future and of those we serve. If you have not already, please sign up today to become a health center advocate at: http://www.hcadvocacy.org.

Thank you!

See facts about the health center funding cliff from the National Association of Community Health Centers here

What’s at stake? A video from ICHS’ Advanced Resident Nurse Practitioners advocates for those we serve here.

Health Center Funding Cliff Q&A

Q: What is a Federally Qualified Health Center?

International Community Health Center (ICHS) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which means that it receives federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration known as the 330 grant. ICHS’ service to the medically underserved, regardless of ability to pay, and establishment of a community board of directors are connected to federal requirements governing all FQHCs.

 Q: What is the funding cliff?

In 2010 with the Affordable Care Act, a trust fund was established guaranteeing five years of federal funding for community health centers. Congress voted to extend the fund at $7.2 billion in 2015 by two years, temporarily averting a mandatory funding “cliff.” The cliff is approaching again on Sept. 30. Congress must vote to approve the funding or health centers risk a 70% cut nationwide.

Ending the 330 grant curtails our greatest value proposition, harms our most vulnerable patients and threatens our sustainability. As ICHS provides health services to underserved communities we help address a national need for high quality and affordable care.

Q: Why does 330 funding matter?

  • ICHS and community health centers, as part of our nation’s health safety net, serve about 27 million patients a year, at a cost of less than $1,000 per patient per year.
  • ICHS successfully reaches and serves many of the neediest and most vulnerable:
    • 82% people of color (23,529)
    • 55% need language interpretation services (15,707)
    • 74% at or below 200% FPL (21,169)
    • 59% of patients on Medicaid (16,963)
    • 18% are 65+ (5,186)

Q: Who loses if funding ends?

The short answer – all of us lose if 330 federal funding is cut. The loss of the federal health center grant undermines the health of our communities’ most vulnerable members and weakens ICHS’ ability to deliver on our mission. ICHS could lose nearly $1.8 million, which means approximately 1,227 of our neediest patients could lose access to care.

Q: Why does my advocacy matter in Washington state?

We are fortunate to be in a state that believes in taking care of its low income, uninsured and under-insured residents. But ours represents one issue in a sea of many. Our voice and support provide ammunition to our Congress members as they take our battle to the front lines in Washington, D.C, as well as reminds them that we hold them accountable for their actions.

 Q: What can I do?

ICHS asks its partners, patients and staff to sign up as health center advocates at: http://www.hcadvocacy.org. We ask everyone to help us remind our Congress members why it is important for them to approve a five-year reauthorization of the federal 330 health center grant.

Thank you!

The health, livelihood and wellbeing of countless patients and ICHS staff members, and their families, are at stake. Without federal 330 funding, it will be challenging for ICHS to grow and adapt to meet the needs of its communities, as well as to maintain its operational solvency. Approval will enable ICHS and health centers nationwide ensure stability and sustainability into the future.

Federal government awards ICHS $224,765 for quality

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced it is among community health centers nationally selected for federal awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This year, Quality Improvement Awards worth nearly $105 million were given to 1,333 health centers nationwide to help invest in improvement efforts. HRSA-funded health centers provide affordable, accessible primary health care for approximately one in 12 U.S. residents, including one in three people living in poverty.

ICHS’ exceptional performance results and standards in seven categories out of eight led to an award of $224,765. ICHS will use the funds to further improve its quality of care.

“ICHS is one of only two health centers in the state to be named a National Quality Leader among health centers nationwide. Being a National Quality Leader means we exceeded national quality benchmarks, including Healthy People 2020 goals, for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal and prenatal care,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “In addition, ICHS was named a Health Center Quality Leader for achieving the best overall clinical performance among all health centers.”

ICHS also received dollar awards for the use of electronic reporting for all clinical quality measures; demonstrating notable improvement in one or more clinical quality measures between 2014 and 2015; increasing the number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2014 and 2015; being a recognized Patient Centered Medical Home; and meeting or exceeding, or making marked advances in moving each race/ethnic group towards the Healthy People 2020 goals.

The announcement follows ICHS’ recent re-accreditation through September 2020 from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) after an intensive on-site clinical survey focused on delivery of clinical care and administration. All seven ICHS sites were accredited as an ambulatory care site, a medical home and a dental home. AAAHC accreditation requires strict credentialing and privileging practices, peer review and education to continuously improve care and services and ongoing self-evaluation, among other requirements.

For a list of FY 2017 Quality Improvement Awards recipients, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/qualityimprovement/index.html.

ICHS debuts video advocating for health centers


“Healthcare Now: Hear Our Voices!” is a video project created by ICHS’ Advanced Resident Nurse Practitioner program residents together with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service SE Asian Young Men’s Group. ICHS patients, providers and staff provide first-hand testimony and experiences that illustrate the vital importance of Medicaid and continued funding for community health centers.

ICHS proudly debuted the video on Aug 16, at the “Building Health Equity Together” partnership appreciation event in celebration of National Health Center Week. Read about its creation in the International Examiner