ICHS promotes healthy aging with hire of PACE medical director

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced Eric ‘Ric’ Troyer, MD has been hired as medical director of its proposed Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), an innovative Medicare and Medicaid program that provides comprehensive health care and services to meet the needs of frail adults 55 and older. PACE centers aim to keep people in their homes and communities and out of a nursing home. ICHS plans to open a PACE center at Legacy House located in the International District in spring 2019. Previously, Dr. Troyer served as executive medical director of Swedish Medical Group’s continuum of care.

Dr. Troyer brings 20 years of leadership in geriatric medicine to his role at ICHS, where he will be responsible for developing ICHS capacity and programs serving the elderly, with particular emphasis on the PACE model of care. He will direct the delivery of care at the proposed ICHS PACE at Legacy House, which will open in spring 2019, assembling and leading an interdisciplinary care team, and developing and growing related community partnerships.

Studies show that PACE enrollees have better health outcomes – with fewer hospital admissions, hospital days, emergency room visits and preventable emergency room visits – at the same time Medicare and Medicaid realize significant cost savings.

“I’m pleased to welcome Ric to the ICHS team. His expertise will be invaluable as we respond to an aging baby boomer population and evidence pointing to the advantages of programs that facilitate ‘aging in place.’ Not only are there individual and systemic cost savings, but there are also emotional, social and health benefits to consider when people stay in their homes and within their communities,” said Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Ric will bring tremendous insight as we expand delivery of highly coordinated and personalized care for older, frail adults and help them live more safely, comfortably and independently.”

Dr. Troyer led a number of departments and areas of specialty during his tenure with Swedish Medical Group, including starting a transitional care program for recently hospitalized patients in 2011, and serving as the chief of family medicine at Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus from 2005 to 2007. He has been on staff as an active physician at Swedish Medical Center since 1998. From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Troyer served as the medical director for Evercare in Washington and Oregon, directing clinical care models for several special needs populations including those with chronic disease, those living in nursing homes, and those with Medicare and Medicaid. Over the span of his career, Dr. Troyer has contributed his leadership to a number of medical directorships and the delivery of geriatric care, alternative health care, chronic disease management and primary care to underserved populations for hospital systems and nursing facilities throughout the Puget Sound area. He was the president of the Washington State Medical Directors Association from 2009 to 2018 and currently serves as an assistant clinical professor with the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Troyer obtained his MD from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency at Swedish Family Medicine followed by geriatric and faculty-development fellowships at Swedish and the University of Washington.

ICHS PACE programs address a growing need
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 further meet the area’s needs for affordable senior health services by establishing PACE programs. These include Aging in PACE (AiPACE) Washington, a new non-profit organization that partners Kin On and ICHS to open a $20 million PACE center in North Beacon Hill, slated to open in 2021.

ICHS earns national recognition for efforts to reduce heart attacks and strokes

ICHS Medical Director Dr. Asqual Getaneh (far right) and ICHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rayburn Lewis present staff with the Target: BP award on behalf of the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) patients are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke thanks to the health center’s success rate in controlling hypertension.

ICHS’s efforts were recently recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) through its “Target: BP” program, which aims to improve blood pressure control and build a healthier nation. ICHS earned gold status as one of just 340 physician practices and health systems to achieve blood pressure control rates of 70 percent or greater for adult patients in 2018. Of the 103 million Americans with high blood pressure, less than half have it under control.

“Thank you to all ICHS providers for working so hard to keep our patients healthy,” said Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “No single risk factor has more impact on whether or not cardiovascular disease ends up being a killer than high blood pressure. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be managed under the care of a professional staff of physicians and advanced practice clinicians. We connect our patients to dieticians, health educators and clinical pharmacists to make sure they are eating right, seeing their doctor regularly and taking their medication properly. Additionally, we make sure our training reflects best practices for taking blood pressure readings and that hypertension data is recorded accurately.”

Launched in 2015, Target: BP is a national initiative of the AHA and AMA aimed at addressing the growing issue of high blood pressure. More than 1,600 physician practices and health systems nationwide have joined Target: BP.

Fight the proposed changes to “public charge”

Watch this story that aired Nov. 16 on Seattle Channel 
ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola and Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer, break down what’s at stake and how the public charge proposal will harm our local people and communities.

What is public charge?
The Department of Homeland Security has proposed changes to the definition of “public charge” that would expand the criteria that apply when a person is applying for admission to the United States or seeking a green card or legal permanent residency.

Historically, those applying for permanent status must demonstrate that they will not be dependent on government programs (cash benefits like Temporary Assistance to Needy families/TANF, SSI and long-term care). The proposed regulation would expand the list of federal benefits that the government may consider as part of its process, to include:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Part D (low income subsidy for prescriptions)
  • Federal Housing (Section 8 housing vouchers and any Section 8 housing)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps)

ICHS believes this proposal undermines public health and humanitarian values as it continues to attack immigrants seeking legal residence in the U.S.

Our communities must make public comments by December 10 to stop or delay the adoption of this proposal. All comments have to be reviewed by the government prior to adoption. ICHS urges patients, families and communities to stay calm and take action to:

  1. STOP FINAL ADOPTION OF THE NEW REGULATION. ICHS is working with Protecting Immigrant Families, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and the National Association of Community Health Centers to try and stop the proposal’s final adoption by generating as many public comments as possible by the Dec. 10 deadline. You can submit as many comments as you want, but each comment must be unique.
  1. GET THE SUPPORT AND BENEFITS YOU NEED NOW. The proposed rule is not in effect and will take months to be adopted because of the public comment, review and response period that the federal government has to legally observe. Anyone currently legally qualified to participate in Medicaid, Medicare Part D, public housing and SNAP is still qualified to use them. 
  1. NOT ALL IMMIGRANTS ARE SUBJECT TO THE “PUBLIC CHARGE” TEST. Exempt are U.S. citizens; green card holders; refugees; asylees (applying for or granted asylum); people applying for green cards under the Violence Against Women Act; survivors of trafficking, domestic violence, or other serious crimes (those who have or are applying for “U” or “T” visas); and children seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
The City of Seattle has created an overview with Frequently Asked Questions and resources.

Robert Chinn Foundation Award will bring healing arts to Shoreline

Robert Chinn Foundation Award 2018
Left to Right: Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, Karen Wong, Robert Chinn Foundation president, Leeching Tran, ICHS Foundation Board president, and Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director.

On Oct. 18, Karen Wong, president of the Robert Chinn Foundation, presented a $5,000 grant to International Community Health Services Foundation that will help connect the arts with health through a vibrant community arts space at the Shoreline Clinic.

The grant will help extend the clinic’s capacity for community-curated arts exhibitions that focus on community, social issues and topics related to health care and wellness. This year, the clinic opened a historical exhibit telling ICHS’s 45-year story and highlighting its milestones. ICHS plans to extend the exhibit area to additional space.

“We’re appreciative of this generous gift from the Robert Chinn Foundation and what it allows us to create,” said Ron Chew, ICHS foundation director. “So often public spaces are sterile and even unwelcoming. Our community gallery elevates our lobby space to encourage reflection, connection and beauty.”

The Robert Chinn Foundation Grant Program was established to promote and support programs of nonprofit organizations devoted to art, culture, health and youth development.

Questions about 2019 open enrollment? ICHS is here to help

The open enrollment period to enroll, renew or change health plans through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange starts on Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15 for coverage to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Unless you qualify for Apple Health or a special enrollment period due to a qualifying event you must be enrolled to ensure there is no interruption in your health benefits and to avoid a year-long wait until the next open enrollment period in the fall of 2020.

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 one of our multilingual outreach and enrollment navigators, who can explain your options and assist with sign up. ICHS staff speak languages including: Amharic, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Toishanese), Eritrean, Hindi, Korean, Russian , Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog and Vietnamese,

ICHS will offer walk-in appointments on a first-come, first-served basis on Saturdays at the ICHS International District Clinic (2nd floor) from 9 am to 3 pm. Come see us for help from a qualified navigator on the below dates:


To make an open enrollment appointment or for more information
Call ICHS at: 206-788-3700 or find enrollment information online at: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org. You can also call or walk into any of our four full service clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue.

ICHS patients can now access free legal help

ELAP partnership, Bellevue ClinicInternational Community Health Services and Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) today announced a partnership that will give low income patients free legal services. Patients referred from ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic can meet with ELAP’s attorneys for advice on issues impacting their ability to stay in good health.

“ICHS cares for patients holistically. There are many factors that impact whether someone can access and benefit from quality, preventative health care,” said Vanja Knezevic, ICHS Bellevue health center manager. ”Often, low-income and marginalized patients face social issues that can exacerbate health issues. For example, a person who is facing eviction is more likely to be stressed or depressed. Someone who is wrongfully denied public benefits might be prevented from providing healthy nutrition for their family. We’re seeking to lessen these potential health impacts.”

The health care teams at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic will work closely with ELAP’s legal aid attorneys to identify patients who qualify. Referred patients will meet with an attorney for sessions that will be scheduled at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic.

“We are excited to move forward with ICHS,” said Gerald Kroon, ELAP executive director. “This innovative partnership will increase access to much needed civil legal aid, addressing legal issues that adversely affect a person’s medical wellbeing.”

The new partnership is being announced as a six-month pilot program, initially only available by referral through ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic, with the possibility of being extended to include ICHS’s three other full service clinics as future funding and interest allow. Services will be available to qualifying King County residents who fall below 200% of the federal poverty level, which was $50,200 for a family of four in 2018.

ICHS press conference advocates against new definition of “public charge”

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and Children’s Alliance, a member of the Protecting Immigrant Rights – WA (PIF-WA) coalition, co-hosted a press conference on Sept. 25, at ICHS’s International District Clinic. A panel of representatives from health, legal and service organizations advocated against proposed changes to the definition of “public charge” that would deny green cards to legal immigrants if they access certain public benefits.

The draft regulation released on Sept. 22, targets a wide range of non-cash public assistance—including Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing assistance and Medicare prescription drug assistance.

ICHS’s Nutrition Services Supervisor Aliya Haq joined representatives from the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, OneAmerica, King County Public Health, Northwest Harvest and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to emphasize the severe health and human costs should the regulation go into effect. Participants described how half a million Washingtonians could be pushed away from crucial health, nutrition and educational assistance – to far-reaching detriment.

Haq shared stories of ICHS patients who, out of fear of future reprisal, have already denied themselves or their family members benefits, describing the resulting health and human cost as “heartbreaking.”

The panel’s legal expert also shared a strong message that immigrants and their families should not dis-enroll from public benefits in response to the draft rule’s release. If the rule were to become final—which would take several months—immigrants would not be penalized for past enrollment.

The coalition is preparing for the draft’s pending publication in the federal register. Once published, members of the public will have 60 days to file comments in opposition to slow down or block the rule. ICHS and its partners will mobilize to encourage individuals to submit comments, as well as work within communities to ease fears and misperceptions, and ensure continued access to health programs and services.

The coalition emphasized in a press statement, “Above all, families who fear they may be affected by this rule should know they’re not alone, and that there’s time to fight back.”

Aliya Haq, ICHS nutrition services supervisor, contributed as a spokesperson for a panel discussion and Q&A.

ICHS health advocate Veronica Kim named 2018 Molina Community Champion

Veronica Kim, Molina community champion award, 2018
Veronica Kim, ICHS Women’s preventative health services coordinator,was honored with the Molina Community Champion Award. Pictured from left to right, Katterine Nazario, Molina community engagement specialist; Veronica Kim; and Sonia Morales, Molina senior community engagement specialist.

On Sept. 27, Molina Healthcare of Washington Inc., honored Veronica Kim, who served as women’s preventive health services coordinator at International Community Health Services (ICHS) for 25 years, with the prestigious Community Champion Award. The award recognizes Kim’s long-time contributions to level health disparities in breast, ovarian, cervical and colon cancer fatality rates among Asian Pacific Islander (API) and minority women.

As part of the award, Kim generously named ICHS the recipient of a $1,000 gift from Molina.

Kim recently retired from ICHS in August, to pass the torch to an up-and-coming generation of health workers. Her impact upon King County’s women of color, and in particular the Asian American community, has been immeasurable. Her work formed the backbone of ICHS’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Health Program (BCCHP), which connected nearly 2,600 low income people with life-saving screenings and treatment in 2017. Kim also brought the Swedish Cancer Institute’s Mobile Mammography Program to ICHS in 2007 after discovering many women were not making it to their mammogram referrals. Bringing the mobile mammogram clinic onsite to ICHS locations reduced a number of challenges for immigrant and low income women, giving help with scheduling, and reducing transportation and language barriers.

“There is no appropriate value that can be assigned to Veronica’s work within the community,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “When women and their families are scared and uncertain, unsure of where to turn or whom to trust, she is the breast health expert, and social and health service resource, and pillar of Seattle’s broader Asian American community.”

Kim was an early pioneer in addressing minority health within Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, starting her career as a family health worker for ICHS in 1993, when the regional health center was still a small clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered funding for a program to increase breast cancer screenings for API immigrant women, Veronica was tasked with enrollment – knocking on doors to make home visits, going to churches and community organizations, and patiently waiting at neighborhood venues and businesses to talk to women.

“Many health education materials did not exist in languages other than English in those early years,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health advocacy manager. “Veronica created a library of resources from scratch so the women portrayed in pamphlets reflected the age and ethnicity of her target audiences. She ensured the availability of translation, interpretation and accurate information to empower ICHS patients to make informed, life-saving decisions about their health.”

Veronica also established in-language health fairs for the Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese-speaking communities – bringing health services directly to people within their communities, at no cost. She enrolled women in health insurance and programs for those that could not afford it.

Her work also became deeply personal. When she became a cancer patient and survivor herself, she became even more aware of the challenges faced by those she had served.

“My own experience with breast cancer treatment inspired me to give the best case management possible,” said Kim. “I have been through every step so I know what our patients are thinking and feeling.”

“Veronica inspires us all to do better,” said Ron Chew, ICHS foundation director. “I know very few people who are as optimistic and compassionate as she is. She has a warm smile and kind words to offer those around her.”

Veronica has also been an annual participant and major organizer of ICHS’s fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure. For more than 15 years, she inspired a high level of participation among ICHS staff.

“Veronica put her heart and soul into building our women’s program,” said Batayola. “She’s changed some women’s lives forever. Because of her, Susan G. Komen has funded us close to 20 years, and continued to fund ICHS’s breast health program beyond their normal five-year cycle. She is one of a kind and I hope she continues to walk with us at Race for the Cure.”

Veronica says she doesn’t plan to leave all of her commitments behind.

“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such a wonderful, dedicated and amazing group of people for the past 25 years. During my tenure at ICHS I have learned so much. ICHS will always be a special place for me,” said Kim. “I’m excited about what’s ahead and plan to spend some time traveling. I leave soon for a trip to Korea and Hawaii. But even after retirement I will continue to advocate for and work with women.”

Veronica Kim, Molina community champion award, 2018
On Oct. 22, Veronica Kim presented ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew with a $1,000 gift as part of Molina’s 2018 Community Champion Award.

2018 National Health Center Week: Thank you ICHS heroes

NHCW 2018 at ICHS Bellevue Clinic

From Aug. 12 to 18, International Community Health Services marked National Health Center Week with celebrations that honored our health care heroes and their role making affordable health care available to people, families and communities throughout the region. ICHS looked to the past, present and future with a roundup of events.

A visit from Sharon Turner, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Region X administrator, recognized ICHS’s achievements as one of the nation’s highest performing health centers. Her visit was part of an announcement of $125 million in awards to 1,352 community health centers nationally and $3.8 million to health centers in Washington state.

HRSA announcement at International Distric clinic during 2018 NHCW

Washington state senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray issued statements in support of the federal grants.

“Community health centers play a critical role in making sure patients and families across Washington state, and across the country, have access to quality health care — which is why we need to make sure these centers have the resources they need,” said Senator Murray. “I’m glad we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement earlier this year to help community health centers support and enhance the great work they already do to make sure patients and families in all corners of our country have quality care within reach regardless of income, and I hope we can continue to build on that progress.”

“Community health centers provide essential health care for many of Washington’s most vulnerable patients and communities,” said Senator Cantwell. “Many children and families throughout our state rely on community health centers for primary care, dental care, mental health and addiction services, and other important health needs. I’m proud to support our community health centers, and I’m glad we have secured more resources to foster innovation and deliver high-value care to families throughout Washington state.”

 

The installation of a historical exhibit in ICHS’s Shoreline Clinic gave a nod to the past and ICHS’s 45 years of history.

ICHS: Our Story historical exhibit at Shoreline Clinic, 2018ICHS: Our Story historical exhibit at the Shoreline Clinic, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community members were invited to join the celebration with fun games and activities, and voter registration at our clinics in Bellevue, Holly Park and the International District.

2018 NHCW at the international district clinicSigning up a voter, NHCW 2018

Thank you to the many staff, community members, partners and friends who made this year’s National Health Center Week a success!

Click here and here to see more photos and highlights.