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What would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance?

Yesterday we shared about a local service group who created a Dr. Seuss-themed book nook for children at CHAS Maple Street Clinic. In sticking with the Dr. Seuss-theme, consider the following quote: “Only brush the teeth you want to keep.”

Image result for dr seuss only brush the teeth you want to keep"

While that advice seems simple enough, what would you do if you got a cavity and didn’t have dental insurance, like the 7,611 uninsured dental patients CHAS Health serves?

Many local partners have stepped up to help low-income and uninsured patients to access oral health services.

  • Providence and CHAS Health have partnered to bring a Dental Residency program to Spokane, targeted to serve low-income patients.
  • The City of Spokane awarded our organization a grant to help low-income, uninsured City of Spokane residents with their out-of-pocket cost for dental care.
  • The Washington State Legislature awarded capital funding to CHAS Health to open a dental clinic in Spokane Valley, and to expand our existing dental clinic in Clarkston.

Over the past five years, CHAS Health has constructed new dental facilities to add 45 dental chairs throughout the Inland Northwest. Fundraising efforts, including donations and grants, have been essential to achieve this expansion, as the equipment for each dental chair costs $60,000. If you are doing the math, that’s $2,700,000 for 45 dental chairs! And, that price tag doesn’t even include the cost to construct the facilities for those dental chairs.

In 2020, we will need to replace the failing dental equipment at our Denny Murphy Clinic, our main Health Care for the Homeless site, located in downtown Spokane. The equipment at this site has been well-maintained for the past 20 years, but is now at its end of life.

In short, our work is not done. We want to help everyone in our community to keep ALL of their teeth! We look forward to new and continued partnerships to continue improving access to oral health care in 2020 and beyond.

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world” –Dr. Seuss

This Thanksgiving season, we are thankful for the many individuals, organizations and businesses who give back to their community. Here at CHAS Health, we are fortunate to witness the generosity of others who donate their time, talent, and treasure.

Earlier this year, the children’s corner at CHAS Maple Street Clinic got a makeover thanks to Katie Mathews and Junior League of Spokane. Katie reached out to us ask if she could do a project to create a reading nook for children. She went with a Dr. Seuss theme, and Junior League provided wall hangings, book racks, and books!

“In alignment with the mission of the Junior League of Spokane to develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers, the new member group I was a part of was tasked with creating a reading nook at a community partner/agency of our choosing. With the League’s current focus area of improving childhood literacy in Spokane, we wanted to reach children in a location where they might not normally have access to books.  We especially liked the idea of a reading nook at CHAS because there is a correlation between health and education, and CHAS is committed to serving all families and individuals with dignity and respect, regardless of their situation.  Also, as a Social Worker, I believe it’s important to meet the individual where they are.  By providing a reading nook at the Maple CHAS clinic, not only could the JLS provide a fun, whimsical space where reading can be approachable and entertaining, the child can bring the book home where it can enhance the child’s imagination and help increase their vocabulary.”

-Katie Matthews

Encouraging children to read fits right in at CHAS Health. Our pediatricians participate in Reach Out and Read, a program proven to increase literacy and school readiness for children ages zero to six. During a medical exam, the pediatrician reads an age-appropriate book to the child, encourages the child’s family to spend time reading out loud every day, and the child gets to take their book home.

Amerigroup sponsored over 7,000 Reach Out and Read books to give out to children this year. Thanks to generous partners like Katie Mathews, Junior League of Spokane, and Amerigroup, children and families in our community are being encouraged to read.

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” Thank you for being the world to our patients!

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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“Such a blessing at a really hard time”

Jumping in a car to go wherever you need go, whenever you need to go there, may be something many of us take for granted.

At CHAS Health, a number of our patients do not have reliable modes of transportation to access their health care appointments. They may not own a car, or if they do, gas may be cost prohibitive. Others rely on bus transportation, but occasionally need a little assistance purchasing a bus pass.

Certain medical diagnosis require more frequent access to care, which means expending more of your budget on transportation costs. For example, in addition to regular primary care visits, a patient diagnosed with cancer significantly increases the number of medical appointments they must make to see their oncologist and other cancer care providers.

Year after year, the Pink Shamrock Foundation has provided transportation assistance for our patients who have breast cancer. CHAS Health pays for bus passes for patients in need of transportation assistance, and gas gift cards paid for by the Pink Shamrock Foundation assist patients who rely on their own transportation to access medical appointments. The gas gift cards are particularly helpful for patient who reside in rural areas and must travel into a city to access cancer treatment.

Our patients are incredibly thankful for this assistance. We were pleased to share with the Pink Shamrock Foundation some of the stories our staff heard from patients who received gas gift cards this year:

Cheryl was so happy when I described the program to her that she started to cry! She said, “I was just sitting here wondering how I was going to get to Spokane.”  She lives out of town and the gas card will help her afford her trips to the cancer specialist.

Mary told me that this was “such a blessing at a really hard time” and that getting to take part in the program without having to do any paperwork “renews my faith in people”.

Lynda told me she is retired and was very grateful, saying: “Every little bit helps.” She is on a fixed income and lives (in her words) “out in the middle of nowhere” and this will help her get to her appointments.

Janet is currently unable to work and is living with her daughter and granddaughter. Her granddaughter drives her to and from appointments and she is thrilled to be able to “pitch in” thanks to the gas gift card. She said they are on a tight budget and that she really appreciates the extra help.

As you can see from these stories, the gas gift cards mean much more than the face value of the cards. This assistance provides people with hope and joy. Thank you to the Pink Shamrock Foundation for impacting the lives of the people who we are honored to serve!

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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Helping patients to afford prescription medications

“A patient was diagnosed with breast cancer and was unable to keep working and not able to afford her medications. We used the grant to pay for her medications and helped her get the care she needed.”

The rising cost of pharmaceuticals has been in the headlines a lot lately. At CHAS Health, we see firsthand the impact when patients have difficulty affording medication. Financial barriers can result in either not purchasing a medication, or a patient will ration their medication (ie, not take the full dose so that the medication lasts longer).

To help our patients to access necessary medications, we have developed several prescription assistance programs.

Thanks to funding from the Idaho Community Foundation, in 2013 CHAS Latah Community Health in Moscow, Idaho, started a prescription assistance program.

And, thanks to funding from the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation, at the beginning of 2019 CHAS Lewis & Clark Health Center in Lewiston, Idaho, started a prescription assistance program.

Monetary donations from local churches and individuals, as well as ongoing grant funding, sustain these vital programs.

This year, the average cost of each prescription purchased through these assistance programs has been $15. That may not sound like a lot of money, but consider that patients using this program are prescribed, on average, four prescriptions. That’s $60 ($15/prescription) every time a patient needs to re-fill their prescriptions.

CHAS Health staff help patients to apply for pharmaceutical company prescription assistance programs when available, and help patients to enroll in health insurance coverage. Even with pharmaceutical company-backed assistance programs, patients generally have to wait for enrollment to begin.

Providing prescription assistance to patients in our clinics provides immediate relief for individuals struggling to juggle physical and financial health. For patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions, a consistent medication regime is critical to enable an individual to feel well, maintain a regular work schedule, and to be able to participate in everyday life.

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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Safety and Warmth for the Most Vulnerable in our Community

Twenty-five years ago, CHAS Health started in a two-exam room clinic serving homeless patients who had no other place to go for care. Today, we serve patients from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, including over 13,000 patients experiencing homelessness. Our clinics serve individuals who are couch surfing, those who are living in their own vehicle, and those who do not have a roof over their head.

CHAS Health employs two amazing individuals, Ilze and Sabrina, who spend their days outside of the clinic walls to meet with people wherever they are. Ilze and Sabrina visit meal sites, local shelters, and parks to make sure individuals experiencing homelessness are safe. They help navigate people to health care services and other appropriate resources.

Last year, Ilze and Sabrina passed out:

  • 21,014 socks
  • 12,202 hygiene kits
  • 3,916 gloves
  • 2,912 hats
  • 1,044 bus passes
  • 21,019 other items, including bottled water, hand warmers, and essential all-weather items.

Where do these socks, hats, and gloves come from? Each year CHAS Health employees conduct a Winter Survival Drive, donating hundreds of gloves, hats, coats and other cold-weather gear. In addition to our employee drive, throughout the year we receive financial donations from individuals who designate their donation to our homeless program.

The Inland Northwest is a beautiful, and cold, place to be during the winter months. We appreciate all of our community partners, donors, and employees who come together with a compassionate heart to help the most vulnerable among us.

Pictured are CHAS Health staff at a past Spokane Homeless Connect, an annual event that brings together a wide range of service providers under one roof:

This blog post part of a special CHAS Health series for #GivingTuesday 2019. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide. During the Thanksgiving season, it is easy to get swept up in the fervor of shopping events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, will kick off the giving season and inspire people to collaborate and give back. Follow CHAS Health on Facebook and Twitter to learn more.

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CHAS Health looks forward to celebrating #GivingTuesday 2019

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Following Thanksgiving and widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday takes place on December 3rd and kicks off the season of giving.

Stay tuned to chas.org, facebook.com/chashealth, and twitter.com/CHAS_health between now and December 3rd to learn about the impact of local generous donors and partners.

Mark your calendar now to participate in #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, December 3rd!

Here are a few ways you can plan to participate:

  • Help us spread the word! SHARE CHAS Health’s #GivingTuesday social media and blog posts leading up to and on December 3rd.
  • Consider making a financial donation to CHAS Health, and/or other local non-profits on December 3rd.
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Rosemary Infused Potato and Cauliflower Mash

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes, cauliflower, chicken broth, and salt to taste in a large pot, with the rosemary sprig on top.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes (or until potatoes are fork-tender).
  3. Remove from heat and remove and discard rosemary sprig.
  4. Drain potatoes and cauliflower and return to pot.
  5. Add the butter and use a potato masher to mash the vegetables with the butter until butter is fully melted.
  6. Add the milk and continue mashing until well combined. Use more milk if a creamier texture is desired. Adjust with salt to taste if needed.
  7. Serve garnished with parsley and pepper, if desired.

Notes

For a dairy-free or paleo version, make sure to use ghee instead of butter and use broth instead of milk (you can reserve one cup of the liquid you boiled it in for this).

For a vegan version, use olive oil instead of butter, and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth/milk.

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Brussels Sprouts Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. Shred Brussel sprouts using the shredding blade of a food processor or slice thinly with a knife.
  2. Place Brussel sprouts in a large bowl and combine with red onion, cherries, almonds and optional goat cheese.
  3. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Add vinaigrette immediately before serving and toss well to coat.
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Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Directions:

Preheat oven as directed below. Glass baking dishes without crust require a cooler oven, and in most cases, a longer baking time.

Spray with nonstick cooking spray or lightly grease bottom of baking pan or glass baking dish.

Whisk together the sugar, spices, eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk. Pour into pan or dish.

Bake as directed below or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Pan types:

9-inch-round glass pie dish: 325° F; bake for 55 to 60 minutes

10-inch-round glass pie dish: 325° F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

8-inch-round cake pan: 350º F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

9-inch-round cake pan: 350° F; bake for 35 to 40 minutes

8-inch-square baking pan: 350º F; bake for 45 to 50 minutes

8-inch-square glass baking dish: 325º F; bake for 55 to 60 minutes

9-inch-square baking pan: 350º F; bake for 35 to 40 minutes

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Grain-Free Stuffing

A healthy stuffing recipe that makes the perfect side dish for chicken or turkey. Ideal for Thanksgiving! Gluten and grain-free.


Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
3 cups onion diced
2 cups celery diced
1 cup mushrooms diced
1 cup apple cored and diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dates, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
4 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups almond flour
3 eggs whisked


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350º F.


1. Heat ghee or oil in a large cast-iron or ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, apple, mushrooms, cranberries or dates, parsley, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Sauté until very soft, about 7 minutes.


2. Remove from heat. Keep in oven-proof skillet or transfer to 9×9” baking dish. Stir in almond flour and mix well. Add the whisked eggs and stir well. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until browned on top.


Notes:
If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, grease a medium-sized baking dish before sautéing ingredients (a 9×9” works well). After eggs have been added and the mixture is well-stirred, transfer mixture to baking dish.

Continue baking as directed.