2015 in Review

We’re wrapping up 2015 here at CHAS health, and hope you and your family is as well! We have had a great year in 2015, a busy year, but leaps towards serving our community.

New neighbors.

We’ve opened 3 new locations, Perry Street, Cheney, and Spokane Urgent Care-Valley. These new locations have opened access to high-quality care for thousands of residents in the surrounding areas, and we couldn’t be more pleased by the warm welcome into these neighborhoods.

Making the current locations shine

We strive to have the best facilities possible. It’s part of the CHAS experience is to not only have some of the best providers, but also have facilities to make you feel at home and comfortable as possible. We relocated the Spokane Valley Clinic to its new home on Indiana, and began remodeling our Denny Murphy Clinic.

Leadership

2015 also was a transition year for leadership, one of CHAS’ founders and CEO for 20+ years, Peg Hopkins, retired earlier this year, and handed the reigns over to Aaron Wilson, who has been at CHAS for 10+ years, a large chunk of that time as our COO, in that time truly helping lead the charge for healthcare for everyone in the communities we serve.

It’s been a busy year and an amazing year, looking toward a terrific 2016. Thank you for being part of it all.

Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

Spokane Urgent Care is photographed, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. (Young Kwak/Community Health Association of Spokane)

 

Why would I go to Urgent Care?

Urgent medical conditions are ones not considered emergencies but still require immediate care within 24 hours. Some examples might include:

  • Accidents and falls
  • Sprains and strains
  • Breathing difficulties (mild difficulties, e.g. mild to moderate asthma)
  • Bleeding/cuts-not a ton, but enough to require stitches
  • Eye irritation
  • Fever or flu
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
  • Severe sore throat or cough
  • Minor broken bones
  • Skin rashes or infections
  • Urinary tract infections

What would be considered an emergency and should go to the ER instead?

  • Severe chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)
  • Convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness
  • Fever in newborn (less than 3 months old)
  • Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding
  • Deep knife wounds or gunshot wounds
  • Moderate to severe burns
  • Poisoning
  • Serious head, neck or back injury
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • (Signs of) Heart attack (i.e.. chest pain lasting longer than two minutes)
  • (Signs of)Stroke (e.g. loss of vision, sudden numbness, weakness, slurred speech, or confusion)
  • Suicidal or homicidal feelings

We are excited to announce the opening of our Spokane Urgent Care location in Spokane Valley! Located south of Mission and Vercler in the heart of Spokane Valley-Spokane Urgent Care is a place where anyone can be seen when there is urgency, but no emergency. We are setup to assist patients with an illness or injury that does not appear to be life threatening, but also can’t wait until the next day, or for primary care doctor to see them.

We accept patients on a walk-in basis and you don’t have to be an established CHAS patient to be seen, that’s right-anyone can be seen! We accept private insurance, as well as Medicaid and Medicare.  If you do not have insurance, we offer a flat-fee based on family size and income – our staff can provide more information upon check-in.

 

Come see us in our new location in Spokane Valley!

10420327_1023321737732496_1012899634830920760_n1512 N. Vercler Rd. | Spokane Valley, WA 99216

509.444.8204

Hours

Weekday Hours: 8am-6pm |  Weekend Hours: 8am-5pm

 

Also, visit our Northside location:

5901 N. Lidgerwood, Suite 126 | Spokane, WA 99208

509.434.1990

Hours

Weekday Hours: 8am-8pm |  Weekend Hours: 8am-5pm

CHAS awarded donation from The Pink Shamrock Foundation.

From L to R: Lindsey Ruivivar, CHAS; Katrina Schneider, PA-C, CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic; Tim Murphy, The Pink Shamrock Foundation

From L to R: Lindsey Ruivivar, CHAS; Katrina Schneider, PA-C, CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic; Tim Murphy, The Pink Shamrock Foundation

Katrina Schneider, PA-C at CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic, and I recently had the honor of attending The Pink Shamrock Foundation gala to receive a donation that will enable CHAS to provide transportation assistance for patients diagnosed with breast cancer.

The individuals and history behind The Pink Shamrock Foundation are near to our hearts at CHAS. The foundation was formed by the family of Denny Murphy. CHAS’s Denny Murphy Clinic honors her namesake. Denny Murphy played a significant role in founding CHAS and helping the organization to get up and running in the early years. She was an incredible advocate for Spokane’s most disenfranchised residents, promoting access to health care for all. Her legacy of helping others is continued through The Pink Shamrock Foundation.

At the gala, we had the opportunity to learn about a variety of organizations helping breast cancer patients and survivors throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. At our table, Katrina and I met volunteers from Casting For Recovery, who help rehabilitate breast cancer patients using the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. We also learned about the YMCA of the Inland Northwest’s LIVESTRONG program, where cancer survivors participate in a 12-week small-group workout program. The gala highlighted the incredible impact The Pink Shamrock Foundation has in supporting such a variety of local programs helping individuals and families impacted by breast cancer, and provided all of us with the opportunity to network and make valuable connections.

Katrina and I shared with attendees about CHAS’s services and how our organization will use grant funding from The Pink Shamrock Foundation. At CHAS, once a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer she or he continues to receive primary care services while receiving oncology services provided by specialty providers. Continued access to primary care is critical while a patient is going through breast cancer treatment, and once treatment concludes. In addition to regular primary care visits, a patient going through cancer treatment is expending more of their budget on transportation costs to access specialty care appointments. Gas gift cards will be given to breast cancer patients to help them continue accessing primary care visits throughout the year, and will also be given to breast cancer patients in need of transportation assistance to access care at referred providers.

Thank you to The Pink Shamrock Foundation for this donation, and for your many years of service in the Inland Northwest! Your local efforts continue to significantly impact the lives of individuals in our community who are facing health challenges. Thank you for your amazing work!

–Lindsey Ruivivar, CHAS Public Policy & Development Manager

National Health Center Week: Aug 9-15

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This year’s National Health Center Week theme is Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future. The theme is timely, as Community Health Centers across the nation are celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary. Each year health centers celebrate National Health Center Week to recognize the important work accomplished in communities where patient-led organizations are continually removing barriers to primary and preventive care.

CHAS is one of more than 1,300 Community Health Centers. Founded in 1994 in response to demand for healthcare services for low income and uninsured individuals in Spokane, Washington, CHAS has grown steadily from a small Health Care for the Homeless clinic to its current configuration of 11 health center sites serving more than 55,000 patients throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

A look back at recent CHAS accomplishments provides a glimpse of how our organization is helping to shape the future of primary health care access in our community:

  • In May 2013 the American Pharmacists Association Foundation recognized CHAS nationally with the Pinnacle Award for CHAS’s pharmacist-medical team integration that has resulted in safer and more effective medication use for patients.
  • CHAS opened a clinic in Moscow, Idaho – Latah Community Health – in June 2013. Primary medical, behavioral health, and pharmacy services are provided at this site where 55% of patients are uninsured.
  • Since the state health insurance Marketplaces opened in October 2013, CHAS in-person assistors have helped enroll more than 27,000 individuals. Even with increased insurance coverage, during CY2014 CHAS provided more than 12,000 uninsured patients access to over 26,000 visits.
  • In August 2014 CHAS received a competitive patient-centered medical home capital grant to renovate CHAS’s Denny Murphy Clinic in downtown Spokane. This site serves as the home base for CHAS’s homeless outreach program. Modernizing the space to increase provider collaboration will lead to improved patient outcomes for Spokane’s most vulnerable residents.
  • CHAS’s approach to effectively integrate behavioral health services in the primary medical setting was recognized through a competitive national grant award in July 2014.
  • CHAS was recognized by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in December 2014 as a “National Quality Leader”. This prestigious recognition was only designated to 57 health center organizations out of more than 1,300 health centers nationally. National Quality Leader health centers are the highest performers compared with national standards and benchmarks in key clinical areas.
  • In March 2015 CHAS opened a new site – Perry Street Clinic – in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood. During the first year of operation, the clinic is projected to provide over 14,000 encounters for more than 4,600 patients.

Looking back at these highlights, each accomplishment demonstrates how CHAS continues to implement the organization’s mission: to improve the overall health of the communities we serve by expanding access to quality health and wellness services. Over the past 50 years health centers like CHAS have been increasing access to affordable, high-quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States. Like CHAS’s recent award and grant recognitions, our nation continues to recognize the invaluable contributions of the health center program. In April 2015 Congress passed bi-partisan legislation extending funding for Community Health Centers for the next two years. Politicians may be divided over our nation’s health care system, but they are united in support for health centers.

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

When I think of health centers, so many words come to mind: access, quality, advocacy, passion, patient-centered. I can’t sum up health centers’ legacy in just one word. Reflecting on the health center movement, it is clear that health centers have always been so much more than a doctor’s office. Yes, our patients receive medical care. But patients also get help enrolling in health insurance; they are given a bus ticket if they need help getting to their appointment; they are connected with community partners for food, clothing and housing assistance; we provide translations services; our amazing outreach workers walk outside in all weather conditions to connect with patients who don’t have a place to call home. I think the health center legacy is that we don’t just treat our patients, we fight for them. We fight for their right to access high-quality health care. We fight for continued funding for the health center program so that we can continue to see our existing patients and expand access to new patients. Regardless of a patient’s background or insurance status, we will continue to do everything we can to provide whole-person health care. What an amazing legacy to be a part of.

As we celebrate National Health Center Week 2015, I offer a humble ‘thank you’ to everyone – patients, volunteer board members, providers, advocates, elected officials – who has been part of this legacy. Here’s to the next 50 years.

– Lindsey Ruivivar, CHAS Public Policy and Development Manager

Got Coverage?

As we near the 10,000 mark of those we’ve helped get coverage since October, we’re excited to offer a day of enrollment fun! This Saturday, we will have In-Person Assisters available to help get you enrolled in a health plan. Whether it’s Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) or a Qualified Health Plan, we can help! And why not have some fun while doing it?!

We’ll have games, prizes, a photo booth and lots of food. Bring your family, bring a friend, bring a neighbor – and have some fun!

Some important things to bring with you include (be sure to bring for your entire household):

  • date(s) of birth, address(es), and contact information
  • social security number(s)
  • income information for 2012, 2013 and 2014 for all adults and minors age 14 or older
  • tax returns and estimated tax status for 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • information about health insurance available to your family (including employer-sponsored health insurance, Medicare, TriCare, etc.)
  • passport, alien, or other immigration number(s) for any legal immigrants being enrolled

Please join us! Let’s have some enrollment fun!

CHAS Maple St. Clinic
3919 N. Maple St., Spokane
Saturday, March 29th
10am-2pm

Click here for more details.

Helping the Homeless in Spokane

“Someone inside the tent stirred, but no one came out. “You deal with a lot of fear out here,” said Zarins-Ilgen, who does outreach for the Community Health Association of Spokane. “They don’t want to get kicked out.” (The Spokesman-Review, January 24, 2014)


We’re proud to be an organization that cares for and assists the homeless. We have a dedicated team who hits the streets of Spokane every day checking on those with no place to call their own. Additionally, we host and participate in several homeless focused events every year, including last month’s Homeless Memorial where we remembered 39 Spokane-area residents who lost their lives last year. Next week we will provide free medical and dental screenings at the 2014 Spokane Homeless Connect event which is being held at the Salvation Army. More details about this event can be found on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/spokanehc

We are here to help those in need regardless of their living situation. Everyone needs some security – a place where people care about them; a place where they can go in a time of need. We are honored to be that place for many of those without a home in Spokane.

One of our Community Outreach workers, Ilze, helps every year with the city’s homeless count.  She talks a bit more about her time helping this vulnerable population in an article published in the Spokesman Review.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/jan/24/count-of-spokanes-homeless-makes-big-difference/

Here a cough…there a cough…Uh oh, do you have the flu?

Spokane’s flu numbers are on the rise. 135 influenza hospitalizations have been reported in Spokane County according to the Spokane Regional Health District.

There is still time to protect you and your family from the flu! CHAS offers flu vaccines to everyone. That’s right – you don’t have to be a patient to walk-in to a clinic and receive a flu shot.

Additionally, many people qualify for a free flu vaccine and don’t even realize it! See below chart on income qualifications for free flu vaccines:

Getting the flu is no fun; protect yourself and the people you love. Get vaccinated today!

Flu Facts:

  • Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
  • The influenza virus is one of the most changeable of viruses. Changes may be small and continuous or large and abrupt.
    • Influenza Type A is divided into subtypes that can be found worldwide and include H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses.
    • Influenza Type B outbreaks can also cause epidemics, but the illness it produces is usually milder than Type A.
    • Influenza Type C flu viruses are not thought to cause a large epidemic and generally cause only mild respiratory infections.
  • http://www.flufacts.com/treat/relieving-symptoms.jsp
  • http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm

Looking back, looking forward

Last Friday, December 20th, Spokane residents gathered to remember homeless individuals who had passed away during 2013. CHAS hosts the memorial ceremony each year to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless friends who lost their lives. The event is part of a national memorial organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless and is traditionally held on or near December 21st, the Winter Solstice – the official start of winter. Homeless Memorial 9 (1 of 1)

Speakers included CHAS COO, Aaron Wilson, CHAS Deputy Medical Director Bill Bomberger, PA-C, House of Charity’s Kari Chapman, and City’s Gate’s Pastor John.

Stories and statistics were shared including:

  • On a single night in January 2013, there were 610,042 people experiencing homelessness in the United States.
  • Of those, 65% were living in emergency shelters or transitional housing and 35% were living in unsheltered locations.
  • Last year, Washington was the third most successful state in reducing homelessness, with a reduction of 2,744 homeless people.
  • But, homelessness continues to be a problem in the Spokane area.
  • Last year, CHAS saw an 8% increase in homelessness amongst patients.
  • 13% of CHAS’ patients without a home are children.

Remembered at the memorial were 39 men and women. Each person’s name was read and a bell rang in their honor.

Homeless Memorial 11 (1 of 1)Looking back gives perspective on the daily struggles that live amongst us and that there is still much work to be done. Looking forward gives us hope that tomorrow can be better and that by working together we can help end homelessness.

The Homeless Outreach team at CHAS is fortunate to work with many non-profit organizations and community resources who assist those without a home, including, amongst others, House of Charity and City Gate.

Kelley Charvet is the Communications Manager at Community Health Association of Spokane

Do you know Mike? His life is about to change.

When I was getting ready to head home yesterday, I started receiving reports from some of my co-workers about how many people they had enrolled in health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder. Some of the numbers reported were 36…and 52. I paused and thought, wow, that’s amazing! And then I got an email stating 59! What? Was that a typo? Two people enrolled 59 folks in just one day? Yes – that happened! I had to stop and pause a little longer.

Of course, those aren’t just numbers, those are people. Those are individual people who may have previously put off getting treatment because they didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for their visit. It may have been a decision between buying groceries, paying for gas, or getting that nagging cough checked out.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, in Washington State, adults between the ages of 19 up to 65 are now eligible for Medicaid if they have incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level. Broken down, it looks like this:

Household Size 138%
1 $15,856
2 $21,404
3 $26,951
4 $32,499
5 $38,047
6 $43,594

For others who may not qualify for Medicaid, there are tax credits available for those with incomes between 138%- 400% of the federal poverty level.

There has been so much misinformation and political talk about this subject that sometimes the negative seems to overtake the positive. But when I reflect on what it all really means, I simply become thankful. I’m thankful that I live in a country that is taking a step towards a healthier future. I’m thankful that I live in Washington State where my friends, family and neighbors can get the health care they deserve. I’m thankful that people like Richard (age 23), Kathleen (age 62), Mike (age 30), and Valentina (age 45) are now going to be able to seek care when they actually need it – or a novel idea – practice preventative wellness! Yes! Finally!

Richard, Kathleen, Mike, Valentina, and so many others are about to experience a life change. They are about to be granted one of the most important rights we all should have. Access to health care. And for that, I am thankful.

More information about health care in Washington State can be found at:

Kelley Charvet is the Communications Manager at Community Health Association of Spokane

CHAS Enrolls Over 2,800 in First 55 Days

CHAS Enrolls Over 2,800 in First 55 Days

Since the beginning of open enrollment, October 1st, CHAS In-Person Assisters (IPAs) have been busy!

In the first 55 days of open enrollment, our IPAs have enrolled 2,802 patients in Washington’s expanded Medicaid plan (Washington Apple Health) or a qualified health plan.  IPAs have been meeting with individuals throughout all CHAS clinics and at various community events, helping answer questions and complete the enrollment process. Despite issues with the federal online marketplace, Washington State’s Healthplanfinder has enrolled nearly 100,000 Washingtonians. In Washington, it’s working!

Recently, the Huffington Post referenced the success that is being experienced in Washington State: http://huff.to/17SiszT

Assistance is available via phone or in person. Visit any CHAS clinic during clinic hours or call 509.444.8200 for more information or to enroll in an appropriate health plan.