Feds award ICHS for care quality

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is among health centers nationwide to be recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with quality improvement awards totaling more than $117 million.

The awards recognize the highest performing health centers as well as those that have made significant quality improvements from the previous year.

ICHS received a grant award of nearly $160,000 and was recognized as a Health Center Quality Leader for achieving the best overall clinical performance among all health centers. HRSA has named ICHS a Health Center Quality Leader every year since 2014.

ICHS was also awarded as a Clinical Quality Improver for demonstrating at least 15% improvement for each quality measure from the previous year. ICHS’s use of technology to help patients access high quality care and its team-based approach were also recognized with awards in the Advancing Health Information Technology and Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition categories.

Federally qualified health centers provide primary care services for underserved communities through funds from the HRSA Health Center Program. They deliver care to about one in 11 people nationwide who are low-income, uninsured or face obstacles to getting health care, HRSA Administrator Tom Engles said in a statement. “These awards will support health centers as they continue to be a primary medical home for communities around the country,” he said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, health centers have been on the frontlines, providing more than 3 million tests, according to HHS. “These quality improvement awards support health centers across the country in delivering care to nearly 30 million people, providing a convenient source of quality care that has grown even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “These awards help ensure that all patients who visit a HRSA-funded health center continue to receive the highest quality of care, including access to Covid-19 testing and treatment.”

A full list of award recipients can be found here.

 

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.

Protect yourself with a flu shot

Flu shot appointment scheduling begins on Mon 9/14. Call us at (206) 788-3700

Getting your flu shot is more important now than ever. Call 206.788.3700

The Washington State Department of Health strongly recommends everyone get vaccinated to avoid serious illness during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it is likely that both Covid-19 and the flu will be circulating at the same time. By getting the flu shot, you help keep our communities healthy because you are lowering the chance of exposure for the people around you, especially those who are unable to get the flu shot themselves.

Come to one of our One-Stop Flu Shot events

By appointment only at these locations:

  • Outside the ICHS Vision Clinic at International District Clinic
    • Day and time: Saturdays, 9 am-5 pm
    • Available dates: 9/19  │ 9/26  │ 10/3  │ 10/10
    • Phone number to schedule appointments: 206-788-3700
  • First floor of the Holly Park Clinic
    • Day and time: Saturdays, 9 am-5 pm
    • Available dates: 9/19  │ 9/26  │ 10/3  │ 10/10
    • Phone number to schedule appointments: 206-788-3500
  • Bellevue Clinic parking lot
    • Day and time: Saturdays, 9 am-1 pm
    • Available dates: 9/26  │ 10/3  │ 10/10
    • Phone number to schedule appointments: 425-373-3000
  • Shoreline Clinic
    • Day and time: Saturdays, 9 am-1 pm
    • Available dates: 9/26  │ 10/3  │ 10/10
    • Phone number to schedule appointments: 206-533-2600

Stop by one of our pharmacies

If you are between the ages of 19 and 64, come to the pharmacy during regular business hours at our International District, Holly Park and Shoreline clinics. Walk-ins accepted. Appointments are encouraged. Make an appointment by calling the pharmacy:

Holly Park: 206-788-3563
International District: 206-788-3708
Shoreline: 206-533-2723

SEE a primary care provider

Ask about getting a flu shot during your next visit or schedule a separate time to come in. New patients are always welcome.

We’re here to help make it safe and easy

No cost for kids and with most insurance

All children in Washington may receive flu vaccines, and other recommended vaccines, at no cost through age 18. Flu vaccine is a covered benefit provided at no cost every year through most insurance plans for adults over the age of 18, and is covered by Medicare part B.

Help if you’ve lost a job, or health insurance

We welcome all people, regardless of insurance status or income. If you do not have health insurance, we will help you determine if you qualify for a free or low cost plan, as well as your eligibility for our sliding fee discount and other free health programs and services. You will not be denied care if you are unable to pay.

Stay safe in our care

  • All patients and visitors are screened for symptoms and have their temperatures checked prior to entering our clinics.
  • Waiting time is cut down to minimize social contact. You will be moved quickly from check-in to exam room.
  • The number of guests is limited and our waiting rooms have been configured to ensure safe physical distancing.
  • All visitors are asked to wear a mask when they arrive. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided. Staff are masked at all times
  • Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout each clinic. Exam rooms are fully sanitized between visits. Common areas and high-touch spots are disinfected multiple times daily.

ICHS Lights up National Health Center Week

Lots to celebrate at an Aug. 10 staff appreciation event at the ICHS International District clinic.

 

International Community Health Services (ICHS) helped highlight the value of the nation’s health centers during National Health Center Week, an annual national celebration to raise public awareness and legislative support, held from Aug. 9 to 15.

Staff, patients and state lawmakers joined ICHS to observe this year’s theme, “Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future,” which honored frontline providers, staff and patients who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a series of virtual meetings with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA9), Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA8) and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA1), ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola shared the innovative steps ICHS has taken to address the needs of the community in the face of extraordinary challenges. She underscored the urgent call for Congress to act to secure reauthorization of mandatory funding for community health centers by October.

“Our sustainability is being threatened as we bring great value,” said Batayola. “Community health centers are critical in ensuring access to health care and information, outreach and engagement. The pandemic has been challenging for everyone, but especially for people who have low incomes or have lost their jobs or health insurance.”

After King County emerged as an early epicenter of the health crisis in March, ICHS quickly responded with new models of care, including telehealth and in-home visits, prescription deliveries, drive-thru testing sites and testing targeted to specific populations. ICHS has also served as a strong voice in advocating against anti-Asian stigma and bias.

ICHS has struggled with PPE shortages and decreased demand for primary care and preventative services, as patients shelter at home and avoid in-person health visits out of fear. This has led to reduced revenue. An infusion of federal funding – both emergency and long-term – is critical if ICHS and the nation’s community health centers are to continue to meet need and demand.

“It’s a really important thing to have health care access for everyone,” said Beth Weitensteiner, assistant medical director at the ICHS Holly Park Clinic. Weitensteiner joined other ICHS staff members, patients and board members to express gratitude for ICHS and its promise of affordable health care in a series of YouTube videos celebrating National Health Center Week. “Clinics like ours are the clinics that are on the front line, making sure that everyone has affordable, good access to health care.”

An Aug. 10 panel discussion with Rep. Kim Schrier centered on keeping kids healthy during COVID-19 and the work of ICHS’s school-based health centers.
The ICHS leadership team showed its appreciation during an Aug. 12 virtual visit and discussion with Rep. Suzan DelBene.
On Aug. 12, Rep. Adam Smith joined ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola and other local health center leaders for a roundtable discussion of pandemic-related concerns.

 

National Health Center Week festivities also included staff appreciation lunches and patient appreciation events at ICHS’s full-service clinics in the International District, Holly Park, Bellevue and Shoreline. Check out highlights here on Flickr.

ICHS Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

On June 24, 2020, International Community Health Services (ICHS) released the following statement of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, outlining our 10 demands for police reform and our commitments to fighting systemic racism.


We are outraged and saddened by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks. Their deaths are endemic to the crisis of police brutality and structural racism in this country. We also remember and honor the lives of our Black neighbors and community members who were killed by police here in Washington: Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis, Che Taylor, Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens and many others.

As public health advocates and as a health center dedicated to serving our communities and promoting health equity for all, we are committed to challenging racism and the system that upholds it. We stand in solidarity with those calling for racial justice, police accountability and criminal justice reform. We stand in solidarity with our Black family members, colleagues, friends and communities to say enough is enough. Black Lives Matter.

ICHS reaffirms its birthright as an organization founded to assure access to quality health care for those who need it. We recommit ourselves to dismantling systemic racism that manifests as health inequities and police violence as well as anti-Blackness in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in which we are rooted.


“In recent weeks, the U.S. has seen nationwide protests demanding justice and the end of police killings of Black Americans. These protests have further illuminated the long standing systemic racism that exists in America. But we know that racism is deeply embedded. As a community health center, we see firsthand its impact on the health of our communities. As an organization dedicated to health equity, we commit to challenging racism in our police departments and working with our community partners on bold steps forward.”

– Teresita Batayola
ICHS President and CEO

 

Asqual Getanek, medical director and physician, ICHS International District Clinic

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the well documented health disparities that stem from systemic racism and the implicit and explicit biases in testing and delivery of care. As health care workers, we embrace justice as one of the four pillars of biomedical ethics – the others being autonomy, non-maleficence and beneficence. We all have a responsibility to look introspectively into our own implicit biases.”

– Dr. Asqual Getaneh
ICHS Chief Medical Officer

A message from our interim chief dental officer

To our esteemed patients,

Let me be the first to welcome you back! ICHS has reopened our dental clinics following Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement on Monday, May 18 that dental services can resume. We are taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones so you can get the preventative care you deserve. In addition to in-person appointments, we have telemedicine options available for virtual visits.

Over the past few weeks, our dental teams have received training on safety policies and procedures to deliver care during this unprecedented time. We have also made all necessary changes to meet Washington state public health criteria for reopening.

While things may be different at our clinics, one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to your health.

International District Dental Clinic
Monday to Friday, 9 am-5 pm

Holly Park Dental Clinic
Tuesday to Saturday, 9 am-5 pm

Bellevue Dental Clinic
Monday to Friday, 9 am-5 pm

Shoreline Dental Clinic
Monday to Friday, 9 am-5 pm

ICHS Dental Safety Protocols

  • Screening: All patients, visitors and staff are screened and have their temperatures checked before entering ICHS facilities. Staff are trained to identify COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Masking: We are following universal masking procedures.
  • Safety Equipment: Dental providers are fully equipped with masks, face shields and other safety equipment during all appointments to ensure staff and patient safety.
  • Waiting times: We have updated appointment scheduling to expedite patient visits.
  • Layout: We have modified ICHS facilities to support physical distancing.
  • Cleaning: We are thoroughly cleaning all surfaces and sanitizing equipment before and after each patient.

Call us today at 206.788.3700 to schedule an appointment. We are also here to address your concerns via telephone triage services and care coordination by phone.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to caring for you!


Samantha Lee-Chiu, DDS
Interim Chief Dental Officer

Teledentistry & emergency dental care

Pain doesn’t wait and we’re here to help if you have concerns or a dental emergency during Gov. Jay Inslee’s order to halt dental services through May 18.

Teledentistry screenings

Teledentistry provides consults with your ICHS provider via phone, smart device or computer. Call us to arrange a teledentistry screening if you have pressing symptoms such as bleeding, facial swelling, abscess, trauma or pain.

We can prescribe medication and provide instructions if it’s an issue that can safely wait. We will schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible if you need more immediate care.

Same-day appointments

The ICHS International District dental clinic is open six days a week for emergency dental care. We offer same-day appointments on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information

Call: 206.788.3700

International Community Health Services to Receive $100K from Siemens Foundation to Support COVID-19 Response

Seattle-Based Community Health Center is one of 12 Receiving Financial Support from the Non-Profit Organization

The Siemens Foundation today announced it is providing $100,000 to International Community Health Services (ICHS) to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The community health center is one of 12 receiving financial support from the non-profit organization established by Siemens USA. Aligning with its dedication to social equity, the Siemens Foundation, including funding provided to it by Siemens Healthineers, is committing a total of $1.5 million to support these critical healthcare providers so they can continue serving their communities when they are needed most.

“We are grateful to the Siemens Foundation and its support of ICHS’ essential role in maintaining the health of our communities,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “ICHS is needed now, more than ever and these funds support our viability and strength. This generous gift helps us meet the challenge of ensuring health care for all, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. It supports ICHS efforts to deliver new remote models of care and bolsters our partnership in state efforts to reduce transmission through increased testing.”

This grant will help ICHS continue to provide services to vulnerable populations amid pandemic-related funding challenges and unanticipated financial burdens. Since its founding in the early 1970s, ICHS has been a primary source of affordable, in-language health care for the region’s diverse residents. Last year, ICHS served over 32,000 patients at its 11 locations, 69 percent of whom were low income and about 7 percent uninsured.

“Community Health Centers are the backbone of health care for low-income and vulnerable communities,” Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA). “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly strained CHC personnel and resources, who are already underfunded. This generous donation to International Community Health Services will help them to continue their incredible work protecting and improving the health and safety of patients at a time when support for health care providers is desperately needed.”

“International Community Health Services is tirelessly working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, ensuring that historically marginalized and vulnerable communities receive the resources and care they need during this pandemic,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “I’m heartened to learn that their deep commitment to health and equity continues to be recognized, and grateful for their longstanding investment in the health of wellness of our community.”

ICHS was selected using equity criteria developed by the Siemens Foundation in consultation with the National Association of Community Health Centers, the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers, and Siemens. The center is free to use the funding as it deems necessary in response to the crisis.

“As the COVID-19 crisis disproportionately threatens lower-income and medically underserved communities, it’s important for us to support the institutions that sustain our social compact,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “Community health centers and their staff are on the front lines providing primary care every day and they now play an especially critical role in our medical services infrastructure when emergency services and hospital settings are overwhelmed. Vital services like these are paramount to supporting equity across America.”

The $1.5 million total commitment is funded, in part, by the Siemens Healthineers Fund of the Siemens Foundation, supported by Siemens Healthineers business in the United States.

“It is a critical time to ensure all patients and families are able to access the care they need,” said Dave Pacitti, Siemens Foundation Board of Directors member; President of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.; and Head of the Americas for Siemens Healthineers. “The nation’s community health centers are a vital safety net for millions of patients, and these investments will help them to continue providing affordable care that strengthens the entire U.S. healthcare system in combatting the pandemic.”

Free Rx delivery

ICHS has temporarily added a free pharmacy home delivery service for your added safety and convenience during the Covid-19 outbreak and the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. Now, there is no need to wait in a pharmacy line or make an extra trip. Your prescriptions* and over-the-counter medications will be delivered, hassle-free within two business days.

New prescriptions

Getting a new prescription? Simply tell your ICHS provider you would like to sign up for home delivery.

Refills and transfers

Just call us to arrange home delivery for your next refill or after transferring your prescription from another pharmacy to ICHS.

For more information

Call your ICHS pharmacy location for help and questions about our Rx home delivery service:

International District Clinic: 206.788.3770
Holly Park Clinic: 206.788.3563
Shoreline Clinic: 206.533.2720

*Prescriptions must meet 340B eligibility. Excepting controlled prescriptions. For ICHS patients within King County.