Bike to Work Week! 7 Benefits of Cycling

It’s Bike to Work Week.

Who doesn’t love a good bike ride? Especially this time of year, the weather is beautiful in Eastern Washington. Instead of driving to work-using gas and being tied up in traffic- ride your way to work, miss the traffic, get a terrific energy boost, and burn some extra calories while doing it! In fact, biking is shown to have tremendous health benefits, we’ve listed a few for you:

  1. It’s good for your heart! Cycling is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
  2. It makes you strong! Riding a bike is great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body such as: your calves, thighs, and rear end. It’s also a great low-impact mode of conditioning for folks with injuries to the legs, knees, or hips that may prevent them from taking part in more rigorous workout programs.
  3. It keeps you lean! You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace. It has also been associated with helping to keep weight gain down and even has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism even after the ride is over!
  4. It keeps you young! Do you want to live longer for your loved ones? Bicycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as cycling regularly has been associated with increased ‘life-years’.
  5. It makes you light on your feet! We all love to dance – why not ride your bike to get rid of those “two left feet” your friends are always talking about?Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body’s own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
  6. It can put a smile on your face! Any exercise you take part in has a way of boosting endorphins – making you feel better overall, but riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health.
  7. It gives your immune system a boost! Your immune system is the most important part of your body for fighting off those pesky viruses and cancer cells that attempt to take over your body. Cycling can strengthen your immune system, and could protect against such cancers, illnesses or disease.

Though there are significant health benefits to cycling, sometimes we do it just because it’s fun! And who wouldn’t? I know I do. Why do you ride a bike? Let us know in the comments below.


Also, learn about some of great events going on this week (May 16-20) for bike to work week via our friends at Bike to Work Spokane/Spokefest: http://spokanebikes.org/home-2/



Senator Maria Cantwell stops by CHAS Health to talk about Basic Health.

United States Senator Maria Cantwell stopped by CHAS Health’s Maple Street Clinic to urge Washington State to bring back Basic Health Plan.

Basic Health is a federal program that was modeled after Washington State’s Basic Health Plan, which went away when the WA HealthPlanFinder Marketplace website was implemented. This program would help patients who have had difficulty affording the cost of Marketplace Plans.

Cantwell was joined by Washington State Representative Marcus Riccelli, CHAS Health CEO, Aaron Wilson, the Native Project CEO, Toni Lodge, and other advocates urging the state to adopt the affordable insurance program again. Cantwell said it could help about 162,000 people in Washington, who earn between $16,242 and $23,540 annually, which is just above the Medicaid eligibility rate. “The Federal Basic Health Plan will help patients maintain affordable coverage and will also reduce unnecessary health system costs by enabling patients to maintain continuity of coverage instead of churning between the Apple Health program and the exchange plans” says Wilson.Cantwell press conference chas

“Our state has been an innovator in health care in so many ways, and Basic Health is just another example of that.” Cantwell said, now that we have the basic health plan as a federal option, currently a family of 4 in Spokane with an income of 48,000 per year could have these options. Right now, paying a monthly premium of $259/month for a private plan on the exchange, that same family in New York under the Basic Health Plan is paying just $20/month. If the Basic Health Plan had similar premiums…that family could save over $2886/per year.”

Many families are, “literally one broken arm away for their kids to sending them in to financial hardship.”

It’s a plan that saves the consumer money, improves the overall health of our community, and it saves the state money. There could be more than 10,000 people in Spokane that would qualify for the Basic Health Plan.Cantwell press conference chas 3



Springtime Chopped Salad!





Springtime Chopped Salad


For the Salad:

  • 10oz spring greens
  • 1 cucumber or 2-3 baby cucumbers, sliced
  • 4-5 radishes, sliced
  • 15 stalks thin asparagus, blanched and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, mint, chives, or whatever you have on hand!)
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) peas
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped salami
  • 1 cup chopped sharp white cheddar
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds


For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup olive oil


To blanch the asparagus, bring large pot of water to a boil. Break off the stalky end stems. Boil the asparagus for 90 seconds. Remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Remove and pat dry.


Place all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl or salad shaker. Toss together the salad and vinaigrette and dig in!


Preventing Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” in the newborn.



Pertussis, also called “Whooping Cough” is a bacterial infection that you or your baby can catch when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  Infected droplets can travel through the air, and if you inhale the droplets you can become infected with pertussis.  Whooping cough begins like a cold, with a mild fever and runny nose.  Most adults do not have severe symptoms, but they can pass pertussis on to a newborn very easily without realizing it.

Whooping cough is especially dangerous for a newborn because their immune system is not fully mature and they cannot fight this infection.  Babies cannot get the vaccine for pertussis until they are two months old.  Even after they start the vaccinations, they are not fully protected by the vaccines until they are a year old and have had three vaccinations for pertussis.  Whooping cough in a newborn is a very serious illness, and it often requires that the baby be admitted to the hospital for breathing problems or pneumonia.  Some babies who get whooping cough do not cough at all – they just stop breathing.  Newborns can die from whooping cough.

The entire family can help protect your newborn from whooping cough.  All teenagers and adults who are around your baby should get a pertussis booster, called Tdap.  The Tdap shot is a tetanus vaccine that includes pertussis.  If you are pregnant, the best time to get the Tdap vaccine is between 27-36 weeks of pregnancy.  Your body will have time to make antibodies against pertussis.  These antibodies are passed through the placenta to protect your baby.  You can protect your baby with antibodies long before your baby is old enough to get the pertussis vaccine.  After the baby is born, the antibodies are passed through your breast milk.

For more information:  http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife


Spokane Urgent Care just got ridiculously convenient…

We are excited to announce an all-new feature at our Spokane Urgent Care locations: online check-in! Not only can you save your place in line, but also view wait times, all at the push of a button. We know your time is precious, instead of sitting in the waiting room; you can wait at home, run errands, or just get a cup of coffee while you are waiting for your turn in the cue.  Does a time work better for you? You are in charge! Go to spokaneurgentcare.org, select which one of our convenient locations works best, and select the time you would like to come in!





Great care and convenience? Urgent care doesn’t get much better than this.


5 Things You Can Do To Prepare for Bloomsday!

How do you get prepared for Bloomsday? Training for any race takes dedication and hard work. With Bloomsday just around the corner, we put together a list of 5 things you can do to get prepped for the big race.


  1. Get started on a running or walking program

There are endless options out there to improve your endurance when preparing for a long distance run or walk, so find one that best caters to your needs and goals. Interval training is a great way to get your heart rate up and give your body the boost it needs to keep running during steady periods of time. If you plan on walking, it’s a good idea to get into a weekly or even daily walking routine to prepare your muscles and joints for the 7 mile trek through Spokane streets—it’s also a great excuse to do some sightseeing as the weather begins to warm up!

  1. Join a team or get a partner

Exercising with other people can often be a lot more fun than just going by yourself. When we have a reliable teammate or partner to push us, we tend to reach past our own expectations and reach our goals for efficiently. Find someone who is going to give you that push you need and you may just build a lifelong exerciseship.


  1. Increase your water intake

It is recommended that the average person drinks between 5-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day. When preparing for the big race, it’s important to consistently drink water throughout the day and get in the habit of drinking water BEFORE you are even thirsty. Though Bloomsday doesn’t take place during a hot month, 7.5 miles often takes a lot of sweat—refuel and recharge.


  1. Visit your physician

Though Bloomsday participants run and walk at all levels, it’s a good idea to visit your health care provider before starting a training program to make sure your heath is not at risk. They can also let you know if your finish time goal is reasonable and give you tips for proper training.


  1. Start stretching regularly

It is always good to stretch before and after doing any strenuous physical activity, but daily stretching is great at increasing flexibility to prevent future injury. If you don’t have much experience with stretching, taking up a Yoga class or even finding a TV program that teaches stretching, Yoga or Pilates at home could be beneficial to your Bloomsday experience.

Katiah Peterson, Communications Assistant


CHAS Health Patient Services Coordinator named top enroller in WA State!

Lori Bergland, Patient Services Coordinator, has been named the top enroller for Washington State!

Lori meets with patients to help them determine which services might be available to them, as part of that, she helps enroll non-insured patients in Medicaid, Qualified Health Plans, and other managed care plans.

From the period of October 2015 to January 2016, Lori enrolled nearly 1000 patients! That included 597 Washington Apple Health, 148 new qualified health plans, and 190 qualified health plan renewals. The next closest enroller was in King County at 653 patients.

“I have truly enjoyed working in my field for 12 plus years as a Patient Service Coordinator for Community Health Association of Spokane and as a Navigator for Washington Health Plan Finder. It is truly the most rewarding job to be able to help patients at the CHAS clinic and the Spokane community. I have built many relationships with a lot of businesses in Spokane with parents years ago that their kids are having babies that i get to help to this day with Medical Insurance or they referrer a friend or a family member.  I’ve always loved the quote, ‘you are a true success when you help others be successful.’ I am lucky to help others in my career.”

We are very proud of the hard work Lori and the rest of the Patient Services Coordinator team does for our clinics and our community. This award is a true reflection of the dedication they have to improve the lives of our patients.


Colorectal Cancer Screening, on the Path to Success.

CHAS Health received a grant in 2015 through the American Cancer Society, with funding from the Anthem Foundation, to improve the colorectal cancer screening rate at CHAS Maple Street Clinic. During the first six months of the grant, Maple Street’s staff have increased their clinic’s screening rate from 8.8% to 16.7%, with a goal to achieve 25% by April 2016. This goal has been surpassed and we are at 36% screening rate so far this year!

Audrey Fine, Health Systems Manager, Primary Care, Great West Division, American Cancer Society, Inc., discusses colorectal cancer screening efforts with CHAS Maple Street Clinic providers and Medical Assistants

Audrey Fine, Health Systems Manager, Primary Care, Great West Division, American Cancer Society, Inc., discusses colorectal cancer screening efforts with CHAS Maple Street Clinic providers and Medical Assistants

Oftentimes patients schedule a medical visit to address an immediate need, such as congestion or fever. However, a critical component of primary care is prevention. CHAS staff actively encourage patients to receive appropriate cancer screenings. Annual tests can detect cancer of the colon, cervix, and breast at early stages.

Audrey Fine with the American Cancer Society concluded her remarks with CHAS Maple Street Clinic medical staff by sharing a very appropriate quote that beautifully captures the impact of preventative health care:

“The names of the patients whose lives we save can never be known. Our contribution will be what did not happen to them. And, though they are unknown, we will know that mothers and fathers are at graduations and weddings they would have missed, and that grandchildren will know grandparents they might never have known, and holidays will be taken, and work completed, and books read, and symphonies heard, and gardens tended that, without our work, would never have been.”

–Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, Former President and CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Excerpted from Dr. Berwick’s plenary address at IHI’s 16th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care (December 2004).

Thank you to the American Cancer Society and Anthem Foundation for their generous financial contribution, and the Cancer Society’s excellent ongoing technical assistance, to help improve access to preventive health care for CHAS patients.


Recipe: Sweet Chili Salmon With Coconut Jasmine Rice and Broccoli

Sweet Chili Salmon with Coconut Jasmine Rice and Roasted Broccoli


Time: 25 minutes      Serves: 4-6



  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet chili sauce (pick your favorite brand)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • salmon fillets as needed
  • olive oil
  • Optional: fresh cilantro, green onions, honey roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, lime




  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.


  1. Combine coconut milk, water, jasmine rice, and a sprinkle of salt in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.


  1. Spread out the broccoli and salmon fillets on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Brush the salmon with the sweet chili sauce. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.


  1. After your rice is done, remove lid and fluff the rice with a fork.


  1. Plate your food! Combine a small amount of rice with a salmon fillet and as much broccoli as you’d like. Top with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, and extra chili sauce!

Who needs sleep?

What is the one thing we spend the most time doing?  Sleeping!  Sleeping is a very important part of our life and contributes to our health.  Getting a good amount of sleep gives our body time to rest, and our brain time to make new connections.  When we don’t get enough sleep we can see the effects in many areas of our lives:  difficulty concentrating, poor attention, poor judgment, decreased ability to learn, depressed mood, and even obesity, heart disease, and a depressed immune system.

Do you think your children are getting the sleep that they need to be successful in school and in relationships with friends and family?  A National Sleep Foundation study recently found that 85% of teens do not get adequate sleep!  Adequate sleep means 8-10 hours every night for a teenager and 9-11 hours a night for a school age child.

Poor sleep has become a larger problem over the last 20 years.  What can you do to help ensure your child gets enough sleep?  Here are a few sleep tips to try:

  1. Maintain a consistent bedtime.  It is important for your body to always get up and go to bed around the same time, trying to limit fluctuations to 1 hour or less.  This includes the weekends, holidays, and summer break.  For older kids, avoid naps.  Naps make it more difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.
  2. Make sure the room is cool, dark, and quiet. Use your bed only for sleep, not for playing or punishment.
  3. Eliminate caffeine or nicotine from your diet, especially after noon. The effects of caffeine on sleep can last for 8 hours!
  4. Try to spend some time outside in the sun during the day. Spending time in a dark house confuses the brain into thinking it is nighttime.  Natural light during daytime is the best way to make sure your circadian rhythms are on track.
  5. Make up a relaxing bedtime routine. Try to always follow the same schedule so your kids know what to expect.  Some good ideas are a shower, story time, listening to calm music, or writing in a journal.
  6. Eliminate one of the biggest enemies of sleep from the bedroom: The Screen!  Looking at screens, especially screens from phones or tablets actually make your brain believe it is day and not night so your brain doesn’t release the sleep inducing hormone melatonin.  Studies have shown people who have tvs in their bedroom get less sleep on average each night.  It takes longer to fall asleep and you are less likely to stay sleep when there is a TV in your bedroom.  Remove technology from the bedroom!

Try the above tips and see if you and your children start getting better sleep.