ICHS earns national recognition for commitment to improve high blood pressure

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is pleased to be recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) as a leader in the national effort to get patient blood pressure rates under control and reduce the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes each year.

As part of the 2019 Target: BP Recognition Program, AHA and AMA awarded ICHS with Gold Status—one of just 542 physician practices and health systems to be recognized for achieving blood pressure control rates of 70% or more in their adult patient population with high blood pressure. A total of 1,183 physician practices and health systems nationwide were recognized by the program for their commitment to help patients improve blood pressure control. The recognized organizations represent 29.8 million adult patients, with more than 8 million patients diagnosed with hypertension, across 46 states and territories.

Launched in 2015, Target: BP is a national initiative between the AHA and AMA aimed at addressing the growing burden of high blood pressure in the U.S. The initiative aims to help health care organizations improve blood pressure control rates through use of the AMA’s evidence-based M.A.P. quality improvement program, and recognizes organizations committed to improving blood pressure control.

“ICHS is committed to providing our patients with tools and treatment to effectively manage high blood pressure, so they remain at their healthy best and avoid more serious health risks,” said Asqual Getanah, ICHS medical director. “We are honored to be recognized by the AHA and AMA for high quality care. This achievement is the result of a strong and coordinated team effort to ensure patients have regular access to care, are aware of healthy lifestyle choices and take the right medicines.”

There are 116 million U.S. adults living with high blood pressure, the nation’s number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and less than half have it controlled to target level. Many patients are unaware of the deadly consequences associated with high blood pressure and that it can be managed working in partnership with their physician to create and follow a treatment plan.

“Although we have the tools to treat high blood pressure, many patients face a variety of barriers that make it difficult to successfully manage the condition. That’s why the American Heart Association and American Medical Association created the Target: BP initiative—to bring patients and providers together to successfully get blood pressure under control,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “We applaud the physicians who are already working hard to control their patients’ blood pressure, and we will continue to urge more physician practices, health systems and patients to join this effort to prioritize the rising risk of high blood pressure and improve health outcomes for patients across the nation.”

“Collaboration is key to managing high blood pressure,” said AHA President Robert Harrington, MD, FAHA. “When doctors, clinics, patients and organizations like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association are all working towards the same goal, we have the opportunity for great success. We are pleased to be a part of the success of so many practices – and so many patients – in reducing high blood pressure and improving health.”

ICHS, along with all other practices and health systems being recognized, will be featured in upcoming Target: BP materials. This includes appearing in national journal ads, on TargetBP.org, and acknowledged at AMA and AHA events throughout the year.

Caring for our communities, from within our communities

On September 27, seven proud graduates of the ICHS Community Health Worker Internship Program came to the end of their journey more empowered to help the African, Asian and African American communities in South Seattle be healthy and thrive.

Community health workers have a deep understanding of their ethnic, cultural or religious communities to serve as a vital frontline resource. They are a trusted bridge between people who might otherwise have difficulty – because of language, culture, cost or other barriers – reaching social and health services. They provide health education and referrals, advocate for people and their communities, help fill out paperwork, and provide emotional support and guidance.

“So much was taught in a short time through monthly trainings and I can use the skills in the community,” said Rose Idambituo Idey. “I feel confident talking to people about health issues such as nutrition, breast cancer prevention, diabetes, blood pressure, alcohol and tobacco use, and mental health. This is an education I will have all my life.”

The ICHS internship program was made possible by a grant from Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with King County Public Health. Over a six-month period, participants were trained to work directly with their communities, as well as engaged in events and special projects.

“Community health workers are a well-recognized workforce to help reduce health disparities and improve health equity,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health services manager, and the program’s founder. “The most important factor is identifying passionate community members and providing adequate training and mentorship.”

“This team has inspired me to conduct outreach with a fresh outlook and renewed enthusiasm,” said Miran Hothi, ICHS lead community advocate and the program’s head trainer. “They developed creative and imaginative approaches in the field, which resulted in improving the health outcomes of the community.”

Three participants have opted to continue the internship through a second year to focus on developing their leadership skills, working four hours per week from the ICHS Holly Park Clinic.

“I am grateful for the skills I have gained because they have given me the confidence to advocate for my community, my family and myself,” said participant Carrie Robersone.


Congratulations to our graduates: Diem Trinh, Carrie Robersone, Aparna Kamalpuram, Rose Idey, William Koy, Francoise Milinganyo and Delphin Zaki.

Teresita Batayola Recognized as One of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the World

Batayola is honored as one of the most influential Filipina women in the world in the “Builder” category.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 2, Teresita Batayola, president and CEO of International Community Health Services (ICHS), joined other women leaders at the16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit in Paris, France. During an awards ceremony on Oct. 31, the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) honored her as one of the most influential Filipina women in the world.

FWN recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are changing the face of leadership in the global workplace. Batayola, honored under the “Builder” award category, was selected from an outstanding field of nominees from around the world. “Builders” have demonstrated exceptional organizational impact at a large workplace environment; displaying deep passion for a cause through collaborative initiatives or alliances with institutions, corporations or nonprofit organizations.

“I was astounded when Dr. Maria Beebe, my high school teacher and adviser, nominated me,” Batayola said. “Dr. Beebe is the epitome of this award as an esteemed professor and author. She is active globally to establish the image of FIlipinas as formidable leaders.” Batayola reconnected with Beebe only in the last year. “To join past and present awardees from other countries is beyond excitement,” she continued. “I am deeply grateful to FWN for bringing the Filipina women of the world together to plan the future for our communities and next generation leaders.” Nominees undergo a vigorous vetting process conducted by previous global awardees.

Batayola (left) with Dr. Maria Africa Beebe, FWN board member.

Batayola has led ICHS since 2005. She is a prominent national advocate of affordable health care and health equity. Ron Chew, director of the ICHS Foundation, said, “I’m not surprised she’s getting this award. She’s one of the most dynamic, innovative and effective leaders in the country. Under her inspired leadership, ICHS has grown into a vibrant regional health care network with 11 service sites in Washington state.” Washington Governor Jay Inslee appointed Batayola in 2015 to the Seattle Colleges board of trustees, where she served as board chair from 2016 to 2017 and continues to serve as a trustee today. Batayola is a past president of the Washington Association of Community Health and serves on the boards of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the Community Health Plan, Community Health Network and the Forterra Strong Communities Fund.

Teresita Batayola gives a talk on leadership, team building and succession at the16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit .

ICHS Receives National Awards for High Quality Care

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is among 26 community health centers in Washington state to receive federal awards totaling over $3 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The award was announced at ICHS’s International District Clinic on Aug. 22, by Sharon Turner, U.S. HRSA Region X administrator. She was also joined by Aphrodyi Antoine, HRSA deputy administrator, and John R. Graham, HHS Region 10 regional director. “I have the honor of recognizing International Community Health Services in person on behalf of Health Resources and Services Administration, for their incredible quality achievements and ranking in the top 20% for clinical quality measures nationally,” said Turner. “The Quality Improvement Awards recognize the highest performing health centers nationwide, as well as those health centers that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year. Health centers will use these funds to improve the quality, efficiency, and value of health care.”

ICHS received a grant award of $142,432. HRSA has named ICHS a Health Center Quality Leader every year since 2014, and a National Quality Leader in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018.

“ICHS and health centers across the nation are at the forefront of addressing the public need for affordable care, as well as acute challenges such as the opioid epidemic,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “These awards will help ICHS continue to meet emerging health care needs and advance the wellness of our communities.”

For a list of 2019 Quality Improvement Award recipients,
visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/qualityimprovement/index.html

From left: Sharon Turner, U.S. HRSA Region X administrator; Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO; Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS medical director; and John Graham, HHS Region 10 regional director.

National Health Center Week 2019: Rooted in communities

International Community Health Services (ICHS) celebrated National Health Center Week from Aug. 4-10. This year’s theme was “Rooted in Communities,” as part of a nationwide campaign highlighting health centers’ success helping people and communities stay healthy and thrive.

We celebrated with our patients, partners and community members at each of our four full-service clinic locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline.

As well as with employee appreciation events.

The Bellevue Clinic also hosted a tree-planting and clothing drive that resulted in more than 200 winter clothing items being donated to the Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique and Acres of Diamonds.

Thank you to all who made this year’s National Health Center Week a success! Click here to see more photos.

HBCW in D.C. to advocate for hepatitis b-related care

The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW), which is sponsored by International Community Health Services (ICHS), participated in the World Hepatitis B Day summit held from July 23 to 25 in Washington, D.C. The summit focused on innovative strategies for education, testing and linkage to care, as well as on national and global efforts to eliminate hepatitis b.

The trip was highlighted with a visit to the offices of U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D., Wash.). Coalition members discussed how hepatitis B continues to impact communities and asked elected officials to join the Hepatitis B Caucus and support HR3016, known as the “Liver Act.” The legislation would authorize $100 million over five years for liver cancer prevention and awareness grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $45 million for hepatitis B and liver cancer research at the National Institutes of Health.

ICHS PACE at Legacy House: Now accepting applications

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is now accepting participants into its new Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at Legacy House. PACE services allow patients to “age in place,” meaning they can stay in their homes as they grow older instead of living at a nursing home. A team of doctors, therapists and specialists work together to provide and manage care, most or all of which is provided at the PACE center or at home. Transportation to and from ICHS PACE at Legacy House is also included.

“PACE is team based,” said Dr. Ric Troyer, ICHS PACE medical director. “The team talks together about patients and their concerns. A team-crafted care plan that is individualized is a much more robust way to take care of a person to help them meet their goals. The beauty of PACE is that it is inclusive of medical, social and long-term care services.”

PACE is geared specifically for people who are nursing-home eligible, having difficulty staying independent and need assistance with their daily function or activities. It is open to seniors age 55 with disabilities, or those age 65 or older, who reside in the PACE service area and are able to live safely in the community with PACE services. There are no costs or out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare and Medicaid-eligible participants. The first step is meeting with an enrollment specialist.

“You’ll complete paperwork and we’ll talk about the program and if it fits your needs. After that, we’ll arrange for a home visit to determine if modifications at home need to be made,” said Dr. Troyer. “The entire interdisciplinary team meets as a group to determine if you can safely live in the community, including the number of caregiving hours, when you will come into the center and if you need durable medical equipment.”

Preparing for a silver wave
ICHS took over the operation of Legacy House, a 75-room assisted living facility, from the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) earlier this year. The facility is the center for the ICHS Healthy Aging and Wellness program, which manages PACE along with the assisted living center, an adult day care program and daily meal program at the Bush Asia Center.

“It’s been exciting to bring the two organizations together,” said Dr. Troyer. “ICHS’s medical expertise has enhanced the great programs already in place at Legacy House, as well as creates new opportunities to increase services.”

ICHS is helping Washington state prepare for an upcoming “silver tsunami” as the population becomes older and more racially and culturally diverse. 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 meet the area’s needs for affordable and culturally competent senior health services by establishing additional PACE programs. These include AiPACE, a new non-profit organization that partners Kin On and ICHS to open a $20 million PACE center in North Beacon Hill.

“ICHS is stepping up to serve the needs of a multicultural and aging population,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We recognize the best way to care for people is to consider their full spectrum of needs, and especially for services to be delivered in a culturally and linguistically competent way.”

 For more information about enrolling in ICHS PACE at Legacy House, call: 206.462.7100.

‘Bellevue is growing bigger and better every day!’

On May 1, International Community Health Center (ICHS) staff celebrated the Bellevue Clinic’s five-year anniversary with cake, camaraderie and pride. Some staff members have been with the clinic since it first opened and have seen it grow into a vital community resource first-hand.

Today, ICHS serves more than 5,000 patients at the Bellevue Clinic annually, providing high-quality, affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care with translation services in more than 50 languages.

“I think what makes ICHS Bellevue special is the diversity of people, beliefs and ideas,” said Anh Phi, lead medical eligibility specialist. “Variety is the spice of life. I love talking to our patients and staff and opening myself up to new things.”

The Bellevue clinic marked ICHS’s first location on the Eastside, as well as a critical juncture in its evolution from a single, volunteer-run clinic into a major regional health center. Since its opening, the clinic has continuously added staff, programs and services that have allowed it to be adaptive to the needs of the local community. This year, the clinic added suboxone treatment for opioid addiction.

“It is an honor to work at the clinic that serves my family, friends and neighbors,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue Clinic health center manager. “Every day, I take pride and am grateful that I have an opportunity to serve the community I live in.”

“Bellevue is growing bigger and better every day,” said Stephanie Light, lead medical receptionist. “I’m glad to be part of something so beneficial to my community.”

The ICHS Bellevue Clinic also works in close coordination with other community organizations to remove barriers to patients’ good health and to support safer neighborhoods, nutritious foods, green spaces, jobs, housing and economic opportunity. For example, a partnership with Eastside Legal Assistance Program gives low income patients access to free legal help.

The ICHS Bellevue Clinic has been so successful it has nearly outgrown its current capacity. A $1.6 million grant from the state legislature will soon add additional space for preventative behavioral health programs and services that will help fuel the next phase of its development.

The community agrees that ICHS in Bellevue has only gotten better with time.

“Doctors here are awesome,” wrote one patient in celebration of the clinic’s fifth birthday. “They’re really experienced, knowledgeable and kind.”

“ICHS plays such an important role in keeping our community healthy,” affirmed another.

Happy fifth birthday ICHS Bellevue!

Bellevue Clinic, events, 5th anniversary
Dr. Sing Hsie, who has been with the Bellevue Clinic since day one, cuts the cake.

Sen. Patty Murray visits Highland Middle School Health Center

U.S. Senator Patty Murray visited the ICHS Highland Middle School Health Center on April 18, to learn how giving access to medical, dental and behavioral health services right on school campus is helping our Eastside community become stronger and thrive.

By making it easier for students to access needed health care and counseling services, ICHS is helping reduce health disparities for Bellevue families. The bottom line? Healthy students are better able to learn and succeed. The school-based health center, offered in partnership with Youth Eastside Services, ICHS and the Bellevue School District, with funding from Best Starts for Kids, was opened in fall of 2017. Read more here.

Senator Patty Murray, Highland MS, 2019

From left to right (back): Kendall Watanabe, ICHS health educator; Rosaly Rivero Gonzalez, ICHS clinic care coordinator; Steven Ono, Highland MS counselor; Judy Buckmaster, executive director of community development, Bellevue School District; Katie Klug, Highland MS principal; David Downing, director of operations, Youth Eastside Services; Christine Chew, Bellevue School Board president; Tess Sorbo, ICHS nurse practitioner. Left to right (front): WA State Senator Patty Murray; Sherryl Grey, ICHS senior health services manager; Sarah Burdell, behavioral health specialist, Youth Eastside Services.