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.
International Community Health Services (ICHS) announces leadership promotions that reflect an up-and-coming generation of community health leaders from within the organization. Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS medical director, is named chief medical officer in charge of all of ICHS medical care. Rachel Koh, vice president of pharmacy and business development, is the new chief operating officer.
“Dr. Asqual Getaneh and Rachel Koh are strong leaders steeped in community health,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO. “We are excited that their vision, energy and knowledge will help us sustain patient-centered care that meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.”
Dr. Getaneh has served as ICHS medical director since 2018. Prior to her position with ICHS, she was a medical director at Unity Health Care, the largest community health system in Washington, D.C. An expert in global health and research to improve health equity among minority populations, Dr. Getaneh was previously an associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and practiced internal medicine for more than 20 years for organizations including New York Presbyterian Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health Research Institute.
Dr. Getaneh was specifically recruited by Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer, to succeed him. Dr. Lewis will take on a new assignment as medical leader for the ICHS Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicaid/Medicare program to help those who are nursing-home-eligible to age in place with a comprehensive suite of health care, socialization and transportation services.
Since 2018, Koh has overseen the operation of three ICHS pharmacies, including the successful rollout of advanced technology applications and the delivery of services to boost patient access to high quality treatments and medication. Previously, she served as vice president of clinical product strategy for ZeOmega, where she helped develop new product and market strategies. Prior to that, Koh was the associate vice president of pharmacy services for Community Health Plan of Washington. Koh has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical and health care leadership experience.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
On June 19, Lisa Chan, MD, and Tiffany Ho, MD, became the first graduates of the International Community Health Center (ICHS) family medicine residency program. Established in 2016, the program trains residents to practice in a community health care setting via a partnership with the Swedish Family Medicine Residency at Cherry Hill. It offers physicians three years of training alongside the medical staff at the ICHS International District Clinic.
“Lisa and Tiffany have done an outstanding job caring for our patients, building trust, compassion and advocacy,” said Jessica Guh, a physician at ICHS’s Holly Park Clinic and the program’s site director. “They have formed positive, collaborative relationships that have encouraged patients to be more involved in their health care decisions. They have helped the International District Clinic increase access and reduce barriers to patient care.”
Dr. Chan and Dr. Ho have also started a new tradition for future program graduates. At their graduation ceremony, they announced the Donnie Chin Memorial Mission Award, which will honor outstanding community service from an International District Clinic staff member. The inaugural award went to medical assistants Caiyou (Yoyo) Wu and Fengmei (May) Lin.
“We’re pleased to recognize Yoyo and May’s long-term commitment to the clinic and their dedication to our patients that goes above and beyond their clinical roles,” said Ho. “They’ve both been incredibly compassionate and have helped us tremendously.”
Family physicians are often a patient’s first point of contact. They care for patients of all ages and genders through all stages of life. They play a key role in overseeing preventative care, diagnosing new conditions and managing chronic illness. Residencies like the one at ICHS are important in ensuring there are enough qualified professionals to meet future needs.
“ICHS is taking a leading role in training the next generation of qualified health professionals to practice in community health,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Improving health care outcomes for underserved communities starts with well-trained providers who have experience delivering culturally and linguistically competent care.”