$20M capital campaign to create North Beacon Hill facility that redefines senior living

Heidi Wong, AiPACE campaign manager
Heidi Wong, AiPACE campaign manager

A $20 million capital campaign was announced today to create a 25,000-square-foot facility serving frail seniors over the age of 55. AiPACE, a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Kin On and International Community Health Services (ICHS), will offer a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program is a nationally-recognized model of care that enables low-income, nursing-home eligible adults to live independently at home or in the community.

The facility will be built on the vacant north parking lot of Pacific Hospital on north Beacon Hill as part of a larger development that will include affordable housing and an early childhood center.

AiPACE will provide integrated health care in an environment that allows seniors to “age in place,” with easy access to support services and close to family members. The services include preventive, primary, acute and long-term care.

“We are helping redefine the future of senior living for our frailest seniors otherwise destined for nursing homes. PACE allows seniors to remain independent with our high quality and comprehensive services,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “Supporting our capital campaign is an investment in our frail seniors today, so they can remain in the community and enjoy their honored place with their friends and families.”

Heidi Wong has been appointed AiPACE capital campaign manager effective February 1, 2019.

“Heidi has played an integral role in Kin On’s growth and development over the last 12 years,” said Nigel Lo, Kin On’s CEO and AiPACE board member. “During her tenure, she has instilled a great trust with our donors and partners, led our successful Expansion Project Capital Campaign among other key initiatives, and built a growing team of young and committed talents inside the organization. We wish her well as she begins the next chapter in her career and look forward to her ongoing involvement in the elder care industry.”

“I look forward to working closely with Heidi on the AiPACE capital campaign,” said Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director. “Her appointment represents an up-and-coming generation of leadership, as well as the continuation of the ideals behind ICHS and Kin On as community-founded and community-serving organizations.”

“Having personally experienced how a well-coordinated, integrated approach to care enabled my own grandmother to live independently at home until the age of 99, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of this exciting campaign,” expressed Wong, “Together, we can ensure that every senior receives the best care they need to age in place with respect and dignity.”

Applications open for ICHS’s ARNP residency program: Preparing a future generation of primary care providers

ARNP residency program, Rebecca Calderara, Holly Park clinic
Resident Rebecca Calderara with a patient at ICHS’s Holly Park Clinic.

After completing her nurse practitioner program, Megan Wilbert wanted additional training that would help her more confidently care for patients. Wilbert’s feelings are not uncommon – and driving interest in residencies as the future of nurse practitioner training.

“Your learning is a lot more accelerated than an MD and you have no residency with the exception of clinicals, which can vary,” said Wilbert, ARNP at International Community Health Services (ICHS) clinic in Shoreline. “I’m so grateful I did it. It’s a huge transition to suddenly be responsible for patients.”

Wilbert doesn’t just work at ICHS, she was also part of the first cohort of participants in the community health clinic’s ARNP residency program, now in its fifth year and the first to be accredited in the U.S. It prepares newly licensed and certified nurse practitioners for careers as primary care providers in a community health setting. It was pioneered by ICHS provider DoQuyen Huynh, ARNP, DNP, who was named 2016 Washington state American Association of Nurse Practitioner of the Year for her work.

“ICHS’s unique population of immigrants and refugees made it the perfect place to develop and evolve this program,” says Huynh, who serves as the program’s director. “Each year, we’ve made changes to the curriculum to meet individual resident needs. We are viewed as a leader and many programs in the region mirror ICHS’s curriculum.”

Kelli Hiraoka, ARNP, immediately felt a connection. “I recall visiting ICHS on my interview and feeling inspired by the staff and workplace,” she said. “Each day is unpredictable, exciting and stimulating. You might be inserting a nexplanon procedure for contraception, managing an insulin-dependent diabetic, investigating why that six-month old kiddo has a persistent fever, or telling your female patient she’s finally pregnant after six months of trying. Or you could be helping a patient with heart failure who does not take his meds due to financial constraints, or an adolescent struggling with self harm and suicidal ideation.”

Participants credit Huynh’s leadership and the program’s high quality as selling points. Ongoing structure and support are built into the curriculum, which offers a ramp up schedule, continual education with weekly didactics and exposure to different clinical specialties. Each cohort is responsible for developing a population-focused solution to a current health challenge. Past projects led to the creation of ICHS’s Young Adult Center, the first teen health center in Shoreline, and a video storytelling initiative.

“I absolutely loved the residency and feel like it has prepared me well for the transition into independent practice. The ability to have dedicated preceptors, with decades of primary care experience was critical in my development as a clinician and has given me a strong footing for working in the challenging world of community health,” said Dan Gundry, ARNP, fourth cohort participant. “The entire team at the ICHS Holly Park Clinic is incredibly warm and welcoming, so I felt at home right away. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and would highly recommend it.”

ICHS also provides tools for building a sustainable career. Participants are taught how to manage the behind-the-scenes work of a provider. Wilbert recalls ICHS providers coaching her cohort on efficiency and clinic flow, and how to develop better charting, diagnostics and lab management skills.

“I see other colleagues who didn’t get a residency and there tends to be a high level of burnout,” said Maura Carroll, ARNP, DNP, a participant in ICHS’s second cohort. “It gave me a solid skill set and supported my professional goals in community health.”

ICHS’s ARNP program residents are scheduled to work together. “I loved the cohort I worked with,” Wilbert said. “It was awesome to have two other people to bounce ideas off of and support you. Going through the experience side-by-side is extremely helpful.”

Many of ICHS’s ARNP residency program participants have opted to stay on at ICHS after graduation.

“ICHS used to have a difficult time recruiting providers, including nurse practitioners. Since the residency, we’ve been able to fill all vacancies,” said Huynh. “We have the added confidence of knowing residents are well prepared to provide holistic care to our diverse and complex patient population.”

As ICHS continues to invest a future pipeline of qualified health professionals, Huynh would like to expand the program to include physician assistants, and to offer consultation and support for regional programs from other organization.

Applications for ICHS’s 2019-2020 ARNP residency program are currently being accepted until March 25, 2019. Click here to apply and for more information.

ICHS promotes healthy aging with hire of PACE medical director

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced Eric ‘Ric’ Troyer, MD has been hired as medical director of its proposed Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), an innovative Medicare and Medicaid program that provides comprehensive health care and services to meet the needs of frail adults 55 and older. PACE centers aim to keep people in their homes and communities and out of a nursing home. ICHS plans to open a PACE center at Legacy House located in the International District in spring 2019. Previously, Dr. Troyer served as executive medical director of Swedish Medical Group’s continuum of care.

Dr. Troyer brings 20 years of leadership in geriatric medicine to his role at ICHS, where he will be responsible for developing ICHS capacity and programs serving the elderly, with particular emphasis on the PACE model of care. He will direct the delivery of care at the proposed ICHS PACE at Legacy House, which will open in spring 2019, assembling and leading an interdisciplinary care team, and developing and growing related community partnerships.

Studies show that PACE enrollees have better health outcomes – with fewer hospital admissions, hospital days, emergency room visits and preventable emergency room visits – at the same time Medicare and Medicaid realize significant cost savings.

“I’m pleased to welcome Ric to the ICHS team. His expertise will be invaluable as we respond to an aging baby boomer population and evidence pointing to the advantages of programs that facilitate ‘aging in place.’ Not only are there individual and systemic cost savings, but there are also emotional, social and health benefits to consider when people stay in their homes and within their communities,” said Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Ric will bring tremendous insight as we expand delivery of highly coordinated and personalized care for older, frail adults and help them live more safely, comfortably and independently.”

Dr. Troyer led a number of departments and areas of specialty during his tenure with Swedish Medical Group, including starting a transitional care program for recently hospitalized patients in 2011, and serving as the chief of family medicine at Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus from 2005 to 2007. He has been on staff as an active physician at Swedish Medical Center since 1998. From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Troyer served as the medical director for Evercare in Washington and Oregon, directing clinical care models for several special needs populations including those with chronic disease, those living in nursing homes, and those with Medicare and Medicaid. Over the span of his career, Dr. Troyer has contributed his leadership to a number of medical directorships and the delivery of geriatric care, alternative health care, chronic disease management and primary care to underserved populations for hospital systems and nursing facilities throughout the Puget Sound area. He was the president of the Washington State Medical Directors Association from 2009 to 2018 and currently serves as an assistant clinical professor with the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Troyer obtained his MD from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency at Swedish Family Medicine followed by geriatric and faculty-development fellowships at Swedish and the University of Washington.

ICHS PACE programs address a growing need
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 further meet the area’s needs for affordable senior health services by establishing PACE programs. These include Aging in PACE (AiPACE) Washington, a new non-profit organization that partners Kin On and ICHS to open a $20 million PACE center in North Beacon Hill, slated to open in 2021.

ICHS earns national recognition for efforts to reduce heart attacks and strokes

ICHS Medical Director Dr. Asqual Getaneh (far right) and ICHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rayburn Lewis present staff with the Target: BP award on behalf of the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) patients are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke thanks to the health center’s success rate in controlling hypertension.

ICHS’s efforts were recently recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) through its “Target: BP” program, which aims to improve blood pressure control and build a healthier nation. ICHS earned gold status as one of just 340 physician practices and health systems to achieve blood pressure control rates of 70 percent or greater for adult patients in 2018. Of the 103 million Americans with high blood pressure, less than half have it under control.

“Thank you to all ICHS providers for working so hard to keep our patients healthy,” said Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “No single risk factor has more impact on whether or not cardiovascular disease ends up being a killer than high blood pressure. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be managed under the care of a professional staff of physicians and advanced practice clinicians. We connect our patients to dieticians, health educators and clinical pharmacists to make sure they are eating right, seeing their doctor regularly and taking their medication properly. Additionally, we make sure our training reflects best practices for taking blood pressure readings and that hypertension data is recorded accurately.”

Launched in 2015, Target: BP is a national initiative of the AHA and AMA aimed at addressing the growing issue of high blood pressure. More than 1,600 physician practices and health systems nationwide have joined Target: BP.

Fight the proposed changes to “public charge”

What is public charge?
The Department of Homeland Security has proposed changes to the definition of “public charge” that would expand the criteria that apply when a person is applying for admission to the United States or seeking a green card or legal permanent residency.

Historically, those applying for permanent status must demonstrate that they will not be dependent on government programs (cash benefits like Temporary Assistance to Needy families/TANF, SSI and long-term care). The proposed regulation would expand the list of federal benefits that the government may consider as part of its process, to include:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Part D (low income subsidy for prescriptions)
  • Federal Housing (Section 8 housing vouchers and any Section 8 housing)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps)

ICHS believes this proposal undermines public health and humanitarian values as it continues to attack immigrants seeking legal residence in the U.S.

Our communities must make public comments by December 10 to stop or delay the adoption of this proposal. All comments have to be reviewed by the government prior to adoption. ICHS urges patients, families and communities to stay calm and take action to:

  1. STOP FINAL ADOPTION OF THE NEW REGULATION. ICHS is working with Protecting Immigrant Families, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and the National Association of Community Health Centers to try and stop the proposal’s final adoption by generating as many public comments as possible by the Dec. 10 deadline. You can submit as many comments as you want, but each comment must be unique.
  1. GET THE SUPPORT AND BENEFITS YOU NEED NOW. The proposed rule is not in effect and will take months to be adopted because of the public comment, review and response period that the federal government has to legally observe. Anyone currently legally qualified to participate in Medicaid, Medicare Part D, public housing and SNAP is still qualified to use them. 
  1. NOT ALL IMMIGRANTS ARE SUBJECT TO THE “PUBLIC CHARGE” TEST. Exempt are U.S. citizens; green card holders; refugees; asylees (applying for or granted asylum); people applying for green cards under the Violence Against Women Act; survivors of trafficking, domestic violence, or other serious crimes (those who have or are applying for “U” or “T” visas); and children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
The City of Seattle has created an overview with Frequently Asked Questions and resources.

Robert Chinn Foundation Award will bring healing arts to Shoreline

Robert Chinn Foundation Award 2018
Left to Right: Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, Karen Wong, Robert Chinn Foundation president, Leeching Tran, ICHS Foundation Board president, and Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director.

On Oct. 18, Karen Wong, president of the Robert Chinn Foundation, presented a $5,000 grant to International Community Health Services Foundation that will help connect the arts with health through a vibrant community arts space at the Shoreline Clinic.

The grant will help extend the clinic’s capacity for community-curated arts exhibitions that focus on community, social issues and topics related to health care and wellness. This year, the clinic opened a historical exhibit telling ICHS’s 45-year story and highlighting its milestones. ICHS plans to extend the exhibit area to additional space.

“We’re appreciative of this generous gift from the Robert Chinn Foundation and what it allows us to create,” said Ron Chew, ICHS foundation director. “So often public spaces are sterile and even unwelcoming. Our community gallery elevates our lobby space to encourage reflection, connection and beauty.”

The Robert Chinn Foundation Grant Program was established to promote and support programs of nonprofit organizations devoted to art, culture, health and youth development.

Questions about 2019 open enrollment? ICHS is here to help

The open enrollment period to enroll, renew or change health plans through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange starts on Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15 for coverage to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Unless you qualify for Apple Health or a special enrollment period due to a qualifying event you must be enrolled to ensure there is no interruption in your health benefits and to avoid a year-long wait until the next open enrollment period in the fall of 2020.

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 one of our multilingual outreach and enrollment navigators, who can explain your options and assist with sign up. ICHS staff speak languages including: Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Toishanese), Eritrean, Hindi, Korean, Russian , Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog and Vietnamese,

ICHS will offer walk-in appointments on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturdays at the ICHS International District Clinic (2nd floor) from 9 am to 3 pm. Come see us for help from a qualified navigator on the below dates:


To make an open enrollment appointment or for more information
Call ICHS at: 206-788-3700 or find enrollment information online at: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org. You can also call or walk into any of our four full service clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue.

ICHS patients can now access free legal help

ELAP partnership, Bellevue ClinicInternational Community Health Services and Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) today announced a partnership that will give low income patients free legal services. Patients referred from ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic can meet with ELAP’s attorneys for advice on issues impacting their ability to stay in good health.

“ICHS cares for patients holistically. There are many factors that impact whether someone can access and benefit from quality, preventative health care,” said Vanja Knezevic, ICHS Bellevue health center manager. ”Often, low-income and marginalized patients face social issues that can exacerbate health issues. For example, a person who is facing eviction is more likely to be stressed or depressed. Someone who is wrongfully denied public benefits might be prevented from providing healthy nutrition for their family. We’re seeking to lessen these potential health impacts.”

The health care teams at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic will work closely with ELAP’s legal aid attorneys to identify patients who qualify. Referred patients will meet with an attorney for sessions that will be scheduled at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic.

“We are excited to move forward with ICHS,” said Gerald Kroon, ELAP executive director. “This innovative partnership will increase access to much needed civil legal aid, addressing legal issues that adversely affect a person’s medical wellbeing.”

The new partnership is being announced as a six-month pilot program, initially only available by referral through ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic, with the possibility of being extended to include ICHS’s three other full service clinics as future funding and interest allow. Services will be 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 2018.

ICHS press conference advocates against new definition of “public charge”

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and Children’s Alliance, a member of the Protecting Immigrant Rights – WA (PIF-WA) coalition, co-hosted a press conference on Sept. 25, at ICHS’s International District Clinic. A panel of representatives from health, legal and service organizations advocated against proposed changes to the definition of “public charge” that would deny green cards to legal immigrants if they access certain public benefits.

The draft regulation released on Sept. 22, targets a wide range of non-cash public assistance—including Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing assistance and Medicare prescription drug assistance.

ICHS’s Nutrition Services Supervisor Aliya Haq joined representatives from the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, OneAmerica, King County Public Health, Northwest Harvest and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to emphasize the severe health and human costs should the regulation go into effect. Participants described how half a million Washingtonians could be pushed away from crucial health, nutrition and educational assistance – to far-reaching detriment.

Haq shared stories of ICHS patients who, out of fear of future reprisal, have already denied themselves or their family members benefits, describing the resulting health and human cost as “heartbreaking.”

The panel’s legal expert also shared a strong message that immigrants and their families should not dis-enroll from public benefits in response to the draft rule’s release. If the rule were to become final—which would take several months—immigrants would not be penalized for past enrollment.

The coalition is preparing for the draft’s pending publication in the federal register. Once published, members of the public will have 60 days to file comments in opposition to slow down or block the rule. ICHS and its partners will mobilize to encourage individuals to submit comments, as well as work within communities to ease fears and misperceptions, and ensure continued access to health programs and services.

The coalition emphasized in a press statement, “Above all, families who fear they may be affected by this rule should know they’re not alone, and that there’s time to fight back.”

Aliya Haq, ICHS nutrition services supervisor, contributed as a spokesperson for a panel discussion and Q&A.