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.
Child Immunization Rates
Teen Immunization Rates
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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
“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.”
Don’t put off your health. If you need to walk into one of our clinics, we have strict procedures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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.
COVID-19 information and testing
ICHS offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Fridays from 10am-2pm at our International District clinic – regardless of immigration or insurance status. Appointments required. You do not have to be an ICHS patient to receive a test.
Please call us at (206) 788-3700 for more information on receiving a test at an ICHS clinic.
ICHS is not an emergency medical facility and we are not providing COVID-19 treatment or antibody testing.
At ICHS, our mission to promote health equity extends beyond our clinic walls. From providing meals to vulnerable seniors in the Chinatown-International District to providing in-language health information and addressing the rise in hate crimes and stigma, ICHS is on the front lines caring for our community.
The International Community Health Services Foundation raised over $270,000 during the first-ever Bloom Online Fundraiser, surpassing an initial goal of $200,000. Hundreds contributed as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a virtual fundraising strategy in light of new uncertainties and social distancing.
All donations directly serve over 32,000 ICHS patients across King County to provide discounted and free health services in over 50 languages. The funds will help mitigate the impacts of a pandemic that has taken a financial toll on many families in the region, making vital health services out of reach.
“I want to thank our generous sponsors and donors, whose support for ICHS never wavered amidst the uncertainties that this pandemic brought,” writes Leeching Tran, ICHS Foundation Board president. “When we realized that our in-person luncheon originally scheduled for April 25th could no longer take place, we worried about how it would affect our fundraising efforts. I’m relieved and touched that our supporters came out stronger than ever to continue to give to ICHS.”
ICHS continues to adapt and respond to the changing health needs of the diverse communities it serves, including hosting COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites, rolling out telehealth services and working with community partners to bolster wellness through food and meal programs, at-home visits and other means of support.
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.