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.
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.”
On June 19, Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visited ICHS Legacy House in support of healthy aging programs to help Chinatown-International District seniors thrive.
The lawmakers helped International Community Health Services (ICHS) usher in good fortune at an open house event, helping “feed” red envelopes to Chinese lion dancers from martial arts master Tony Au and his Seattle International Lion Dance Team. The traditional Chinese dance ended with messages of good luck that unfolded from the lions’ mouths and a burst of confetti to scare away evil spirits.
Historic South Downtown (HSD) has awarded an $80,000 grant to International Community Health Services (ICHS) to support development and installation of a permanent historical exhibition in its International District medical-dental clinic.
On May 13, ICHS was one of 19 organizations to receive grants in the Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square. The grants will fund projects that support small businesses and local nonprofits, improve public spaces, and protect and develop historic and cultural programs.
The ICHS multimedia exhibit will include photos, video and objects that highlight key moments in the 46-year history of ICHS as it has grown from a one-room storefront clinic into a regional health care provider that now serves over 31,000 patients over 50 languages at 11 service sites in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline. The exhibit will be located in the first floor lobby of the ID clinic.
ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew noted, “This exhibit will help newcomers and the next generation of patients and supporters understand how the institution came to be and the continuing relevance of our guiding mission of health equity.”
The ICHS: Our Story exhibit will be dedicated in August 2019 in celebration of National Health Center Week.
Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue clinics recognized with 2019 Immunize Washington award
International Community Health Services (ICHS) continues to help lead efforts to protect children against disease and improve vaccination rates in Washington state. ICHS medical clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were recently honored as 2019 Immunize Washington award winners for successfully ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines.
“The current measles outbreak reminds us that protecting young people against future disease requires a community effort,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Parents, schools and health care providers must all work together to address vaccine gaps and help provide accountability. ICHS is proud of its success safeguarding the health of the youth in our communities.”
As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park, Chinatown-International District and Shoreline medical clinics respectively immunized 99% of toddlers and 84% of teens, 96% of toddlers and 84% of teens, and 92% of toddlers. This is the fifth consecutive year the Holly Park and Chinatown-International District clinics have been awarded Gold status, which is given to providers with a minimum 80% patient immunization rate. The ICHS Bellevue clinic was honored a Bronze provider for its immunization of teens.
The Health Plan Partnership, a cooperative alliance of the Department of Health, Health Care Authority, Governor Jay Inslee and all the major health plans in Washington, has annually hosted the Immunize WA provider recognition program since 2014. The award recognizes clinics reaching immunization rates of 70% or higher in child and adolescent patient populations. With progressive increases each year, this year was the most successful to date. See the full 2019 Immunize Washington awardee list (PDF).
Eastside clinic expansion and new North Beacon Hill senior care facility will address emerging health challenges facing King County’s communities
International Community Health Services (ICHS) is aggressively anticipating the health needs of King County’s increasingly diverse and aging residents with major projects bolstered by $3.1 million in funding from the state’s capital budget.
The Washington State Legislature has approved $1.6 million to expand mental health and substance use disorder services at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic and $1.5 million to help ICHS construct an innovative new senior care facility on North Beacon Hill in partnership with Kin On Health Care Center.
“We’re pleased our state lawmakers recognize the value of ICHS and health centers in addressing community needs with these investments,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We have a statewide need for a stronger mental health and substance use disorder care system. America is aging rapidly and our local population is also growing older and frailer. ICHS is helping address these challenges with the expansion of our Bellevue clinic for the integration of behavioral health and primary care, and the creation of a facility that will keep our elders thriving within their communities.”
More behavioral health services will avert future crisis
Over the past three years, ICHS has added six behavioral health providers to keep up with the growing demand at its Bellevue Clinic. The state grant will allow ICHS to add space and staff for mental health, substance use disorder and opioid use disorder treatment, alongside medical and medication assisted treatment providers. With greater access to behavioral health care focused on prevention, early intervention and ongoing treatment, ICHS can help patients address issues before they grow more serious or life-threatening.
“Many of our patients already face language and other barriers when attempting to find mental health treatment. A shortage of space and providers only adds to the potential obstacles,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue clinic health center manager. “Expanding our behavioral health offerings and available space will allow more of our community members to successfully address issues before they boil over and reach a crisis.”
Healthy aging at home, not a nursing home Research shows seniors tend to live longer and be happier when they remain in their own homes. Nearly one in four King County residents will be 65 years or older by 2040. As ICHS has explored ways to help people age at home, it has partnered with Kin On, establishing Aging in PACE (AiPACE). AiPACE will provide integrated health care to allow seniors to “age in place” with easy access to preventive, primary, acute and long-term care and support services. AiPACE has launched a $20 million capital campaign to build a 25,000-square-foot facility on North Beacon Hill for nursing home-eligible seniors who will continue to live in their communities with individualized wrap-around health care, and social and transportation services.
“We’re thrilled to have gained state support in bringing innovative health care to keep our seniors living independently at home, in the community they love.” said Heidi Wong, AiPACE capital campaign manager. “Successfully receiving funding from this biennium is a major milestone in getting the capital campaign off to a strong start.”
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.