2018 open enrollment – things to know

The open enrollment period to enroll, renew or change health plans for 2018 starts on Nov. 1 through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. This year’s open enrollment period is shorter than past years, so act sooner rather than later! If you miss the Jan. 15, 2018 deadline, you and your family may be unable to make changes or sign up for benefits until the next enrollment period in fall of 2018.

Important dates:

  • Nov 1, 2017 – Open enrollment begins
  • Dec 15, 2017 – Deadline to enroll for coverage to begin by Jan. 1, 2018
  • Jan 15, 2018 – Open enrollment ends

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 an expert, multilingual outreach and enrollment coordinator, who can explain options and assist with sign up. Together, ICHS staff speak eight languages including: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Russian and Punjabi. Call 206-788-3700 and ask for a 2018 health insurance enrollment appointment.

Walk-in appointments available
ICHS offers open enrollment walk-in appointments on Saturdays at the ICHS International District Clinic (2nd floor) from 9 am to 3 pm. Come in on one of these Saturdays for help and answers:

  • Nov 18, 2017
  • Dec 2, 2017
  • Dec 16, 2017
  • Dec 30, 2017
  • Jan 6, 2018
  • Jan 13,2018

 

For more information
Call ICHS at: 206-788-3700, find enrollment information online at: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org, or download the mobile app “WAPlanfinder.”

Funding cliff FAQs from the NACHC

Grant Implications for Health Centers after September 30, 2017

1. When will the health centers program officially go over the Cliff?

Until and unless Congress allocates sufficient funding to replenish the Community Health Centers Fund, no new mandatory funds (which constitute 70% of total funding for Section 330) will be provided to HRSA after September 30, 2017. Therefore at the Health Centers program level, the funding expires October 1.

2. When will my health center feel the direct impact of going over the Cliff?

Without a fix by Congress, your health center will feel the direct impact (meaning changes to your grant award) of going over the Cliff at the start of your next budget period, when the amount of funding your health center receives will reflect any new limitations on Section 330 funds. No health center grant periods for FY18 begin until January. Current-year funding (FY17) is not affected.

3. When will my health center feel the indirect impact of going over the Cliff?

Health centers across the country are already reporting indirect impacts from just the threat of going over the Cliff, and the disruption caused by not knowing the stability of future funding. The uncertainty around long-term funding is impacting their ability to: recruit and retain providers and other staff, to obtain loans and extend lines of credit, to sign leases and contracts and to make longterm investments and plans. We expect these “indirect” impacts to increase the longer Congress goes without a funding cliff fix.

4. Which health centers will first feel the direct impact of going over the Cliff?

A total of 235 health center organizations (1 in 6) have budget periods that begin on January 1, 2018. (No health centers have budget periods that begin in October, November, or December.) That means the Notices of Awards these 235 health centers receive for their budget period starting 1/1/2018 will likely reflect limitations on Section 330 funds, including the possibility of monthto-month funding.

5. When will HRSA make funding decisions for the January 1, 2018 Notice of Award (NOAs)?

Mid-November – that’s when they must start preparing the 1/1/2018 NOAs. 6. When will HRSA run out of money without a cliff fix? Unless Congress acts to fix the funding cliff before then, HRSA would run out of all funds by early-to-mid 2018

ICHS hosts U.S. Sen Maria Cantwell in support of Medicaid and the ACA

On Sept. 22, ICHS Holly Park Clinic and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola were honored to host a press conference for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell as she spoke out against the Graham Cassidy bill, the latest attack on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

The bill would block grants supporting Medicaid and redistributes funds to all states, hurting Washington state and the many who have benefited Medicaid expansion. The bill will also eliminate insurance subsidies for working individuals and families who are low income but don’t qualify for Medicaid.

In illustrating the bill’s harmful effects, Sen. Cantwell was joined by two patients — a mom who spoke of her 7-year-old child with a rare medical condition and a woman who is a four-time survivor of different cancers.

“Our state is fortunate to have Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray lead the fight for affordable, quality health care.  We all need to contact our friends, families and networks in other states, especially Alaska, to contact their own U.S. senators to defeat the Graham Cassidy proposal and to focus on bipartisan solutions to stabilize community health centers before our funding expires on September 30,” said Batayola.

View pictures from the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5yVpNL

Only you can save our nation’s health centers

Thank you to International Community Health Services staff, patients and friends for the emails, calls and social media posts that put pressure on Congress to extend federal funding supporting health centers before Sept. 30. Although our Congressional leaders delivered a huge disappointment by failing to authorize funding before the deadline, your voices and stories are making a difference.

For the moment, we have a reprieve. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the agency that administers our funds, has developed a plan to keep the grant funding steady through the end of December. This gives all health centers breathing room until Congress passes our bill.

Until then, we must continue to advocate. Congressional action is crucial to avoid actual cuts happening in 2018.

There has never been a more urgent need for all ICHS staff, patients and friends to help ensure the health of our future and of those we serve. If you have not already, please sign up today to become a health center advocate at: http://www.hcadvocacy.org.

Thank you!

See facts about the health center funding cliff from the National Association of Community Health Centers here

What’s at stake? A video from ICHS’ Advanced Resident Nurse Practitioners advocates for those we serve here.

Health Center Funding Cliff Q&A

Q: What is a Federally Qualified Health Center?

International Community Health Center (ICHS) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which means that it receives federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration known as the 330 grant. ICHS’ service to the medically underserved, regardless of ability to pay, and establishment of a community board of directors are connected to federal requirements governing all FQHCs.

 Q: What is the funding cliff?

In 2010 with the Affordable Care Act, a trust fund was established guaranteeing five years of federal funding for community health centers. Congress voted to extend the fund at $7.2 billion in 2015 by two years, temporarily averting a mandatory funding “cliff.” The cliff is approaching again on Sept. 30. Congress must vote to approve the funding or health centers risk a 70% cut nationwide.

Ending the 330 grant curtails our greatest value proposition, harms our most vulnerable patients and threatens our sustainability. As ICHS provides health services to underserved communities we help address a national need for high quality and affordable care.

Q: Why does 330 funding matter?

  • ICHS and community health centers, as part of our nation’s health safety net, serve about 27 million patients a year, at a cost of less than $1,000 per patient per year.
  • ICHS successfully reaches and serves many of the neediest and most vulnerable:
    • 82% people of color (23,529)
    • 55% need language interpretation services (15,707)
    • 74% at or below 200% FPL (21,169)
    • 59% of patients on Medicaid (16,963)
    • 18% are 65+ (5,186)

Q: Who loses if funding ends?

The short answer – all of us lose if 330 federal funding is cut. The loss of the federal health center grant undermines the health of our communities’ most vulnerable members and weakens ICHS’ ability to deliver on our mission. ICHS could lose nearly $1.8 million, which means approximately 1,227 of our neediest patients could lose access to care.

Q: Why does my advocacy matter in Washington state?

We are fortunate to be in a state that believes in taking care of its low income, uninsured and under-insured residents. But ours represents one issue in a sea of many. Our voice and support provide ammunition to our Congress members as they take our battle to the front lines in Washington, D.C, as well as reminds them that we hold them accountable for their actions.

 Q: What can I do?

ICHS asks its partners, patients and staff to sign up as health center advocates at: http://www.hcadvocacy.org. We ask everyone to help us remind our Congress members why it is important for them to approve a five-year reauthorization of the federal 330 health center grant.

Thank you!

The health, livelihood and wellbeing of countless patients and ICHS staff members, and their families, are at stake. Without federal 330 funding, it will be challenging for ICHS to grow and adapt to meet the needs of its communities, as well as to maintain its operational solvency. Approval will enable ICHS and health centers nationwide ensure stability and sustainability into the future.

Federal government awards ICHS $224,765 for quality

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced it is among community health centers nationally selected for federal awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This year, Quality Improvement Awards worth nearly $105 million were given to 1,333 health centers nationwide to help invest in improvement efforts. HRSA-funded health centers provide affordable, accessible primary health care for approximately one in 12 U.S. residents, including one in three people living in poverty.

ICHS’ exceptional performance results and standards in seven categories out of eight led to an award of $224,765. ICHS will use the funds to further improve its quality of care.

“ICHS is one of only two health centers in the state to be named a National Quality Leader among health centers nationwide. Being a National Quality Leader means we exceeded national quality benchmarks, including Healthy People 2020 goals, for chronic disease management, preventive care, and perinatal and prenatal care,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “In addition, ICHS was named a Health Center Quality Leader for achieving the best overall clinical performance among all health centers.”

ICHS also received dollar awards for the use of electronic reporting for all clinical quality measures; demonstrating notable improvement in one or more clinical quality measures between 2014 and 2015; increasing the number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2014 and 2015; being a recognized Patient Centered Medical Home; and meeting or exceeding, or making marked advances in moving each race/ethnic group towards the Healthy People 2020 goals.

The announcement follows ICHS’ recent re-accreditation through September 2020 from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) after an intensive on-site clinical survey focused on delivery of clinical care and administration. All seven ICHS sites were accredited as an ambulatory care site, a medical home and a dental home. AAAHC accreditation requires strict credentialing and privileging practices, peer review and education to continuously improve care and services and ongoing self-evaluation, among other requirements.

For a list of FY 2017 Quality Improvement Awards recipients, visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/qualityimprovement/index.html.

ICHS debuts video advocating for health centers


“Healthcare Now: Hear Our Voices!” is a video project created by ICHS’ Advanced Resident Nurse Practitioner program residents together with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service SE Asian Young Men’s Group. ICHS patients, providers and staff provide first-hand testimony and experiences that illustrate the vital importance of Medicaid and continued funding for community health centers.

ICHS proudly debuted the video on Aug 16, at the “Building Health Equity Together” partnership appreciation event in celebration of National Health Center Week. Read about its creation in the International Examiner

It’s a wrap! National Health Center Week comes to a close

International Community Health Services’ (ICHS) successfully wrapped up a week-long celebration of 2017 National Health Center Week from Aug. 13 to 19. Thanks to all who joined us as we strengthened relationships with community partners, engaged with our elected officials and showed appreciation for the people and communities that support our vital work.

Among the highlights:


 

 

 

 

 

Visits from elected lawmakers including King County Executive Dow Constantine amd Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, and a letter of support from Congressman Adam Smith.

Activism behind affordable health care with the “People’s Proclamation for Health Care for All,” launch of a new video advocating for health centers at a partnership appreciation event and publication of ICHS patient stories.

Energy from the community through fun games and giveaways in our clinics, and activities like our Children’s Healthy Eating event in the International District and celebration at the Bellevue Crossroads Mall.

Thank you for helping us draw attention to the value of the nation’s health centers and those we serve during 2017 National Health Center Week, including a thank you to our event sponsors.