State capital budget grants $3.1M to ICHS mental health and healthy aging projects

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.”