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.

Stand up for health care as a human right, sign the “People’s Proclamation”

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is providing community members with an opportunity to show support of health care as a human right by signing the “People’s Proclamation for Health Care for All,” during National Health Center Week, from Aug. 13 to 19. The proclamation announces the voice of the people on this vital matter to lawmakers.

The Senate’s recent failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act was supported by the collective effect of those who told stories, wrote, emailed, called and acted in accordance with their conscience and a belief in the right of all people to affordable, high quality health care.

ICHS invites everyone to continue the momentum during National Health Center Week, a nationwide celebration of the value community health centers bring to communities across the country. While ICHS serves many of our community’s most marginalized and vulnerable – immigrants, refugees, the elderly, the young, those who are low income, on Medicaid, uninsured or underinsured – much progress still needs to occur before all people in the United States have access to high quality preventative care regardless of health, housing or ability to pay.

Show support of health care as a human right. Look for the “People’s Proclamation for Health Care for All” at ICHS clinics and community events during National Health Center Week.

ICHS PEOPLE’S PROCLAMATION for HEALTH CARE FOR ALL

WE BELIEVE all individuals and families deserve quality, affordable health care, regardless of their nation of birth, culture, language, religion, age, income, gender, sexual orientation, abilities or where they live. All people in the United States deserve the security of health information privacy, to be cared for with dignity and respect, and to be assured medical services as a human right. WE SUPPORT the vital role of community health centers in safeguarding healthy people, strong families and vibrant communities. By signing, I demonstrate my support for this proclamation during 2017 National Health Center Week, in the year two thousand seventeen.

Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib on Aug. 18 (left photo) and King County Executive Dow Constantine (right photo) on Aug. 14 are among those that signed the proclamation in support of health care for all during 2017 National Health Center Week.

 

 

ICHS names Rayburn Lewis interim chief medical officer

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced that Rayburn Lewis has been named interim chief medical officer, effective immediately.

Lewis, a board-certified internal medicine physician, most recently served as CEO of Swedish Issaquah. His tenure contributed to widespread recognition of Swedish Issaquah’s high quality and high patient satisfaction. Previously, he served as executive director and vice president of medical affairs at Swedish Ballard, and as COO at Swedish Cherry Hill

“ICHS’ mission to provide affordable health care for all, and its commitment to the underserved and uninsured strongly aligns with my professional and personal endeavors. I look forward to the opportunity to further make an impact,” Lewis said.

Lewis will continue ICHS efforts directed at improving health equity and achieving the best possible patient outcomes. He will also support ICHS’ 10-year strategic plan, focused on continuous improvements in infrastructure, customer service, human investment, sustainability and quality.

“I am pleased to welcome Rayburn and look forward to his leadership. His experience and knowledge will elevate ICHS as we continue to deliver affordable, high-quality health care services, while growing to meet our communities’ needs  as a vibrant and dynamic organization,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO.

Lewis is a graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, where he completed his internal medicine residency and served as chief medical resident from 1982 to 1983. He also completed an assignment as a general medical officer in orthopedics with the U.S. Public Health Service in Seattle. Lewis joined the medical staff at Swedish Health Services and Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1984, while starting a medical practice in Columbia City. He joined the Minor & James Medical Group in 1987, practicing there till 1996, and subsequently maintained a practice at the Swedish Family Medicine/Cherry Hill campus residency clinic until 2008.

As the elected chief of staff at Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1995, Lewis was recruited as medical director for quality and medical affairs. Serving in this capacity from 1995 to 2002, he became Swedish’s vice president for medical affairs from 2002 to 2007, after the two hospitals merged. He also served as medical director of the Mother Joseph Clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill for specialty care of community patients.

Get the facts during Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

What is something everyone deals with but (hardly) anyone talks about?

Anxiety, depression and other mental illness silently affects many. Did you know that mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability across the United States and the second leading cause of death among American youth ages 15-24?

Rarely do we ask a friend or coworker, “How are you doing with your depression?” though we wouldn’t pause when asking “How is your broken ankle healing?” The existence and continuation of stigma compounds existing challenges hindering access to mental health care — particularly within immigrant and refugee communities.

This July, ICHS recognizes Minority Mental Health Month. In doing so, we address the increased anxiety and fear rippling through our communities. Whether a result of changing national politics, local pressures or the isolation that comes naturally whenever someone moves to a new place and is among a new culture, learning how to better handle periods of stress with resilience is always relevant.

Throughout the month, we will be posting a series of Myths/Facts surrounding mental health in order to shed some light on key issues.

You can help our communities become stigma free by recognizing the importance of mental health and the weight of concerns that matter to each of us. Learn more here.