Addressing Social Determinants of Health – NHCW Public Health in Housing Day

In today’s value-based care environment, organizations are accountable for improving health outcomes and lowering costs. To achieve these goals and succeed in such an environment, organizations need to better understand their patients to address both their clinical and non-clinical needs and impact the root causes of health, including patients’ health behaviors, health outcomes, and health costs. The social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people live, work, play and age. They can encompass socioeconomic conditions, environmental conditions, institutional power, and social networks. Understanding patients’ social determinants will allow health centers to transform care with integrated services to meet the needs of their patients, address the social determinants of health, and demonstrate the value the bring to patients, communities and payers.

At CHAS Health, our Patient Services Coordinators work with patients to help address social determinants of health through many different avenues. In addition, we work hard with our community partners to help ensure no one falls through the cracks and has access to the services they need.

Learn about working in at CHAS Health as a Patient Services Coordinator with Stephanie:

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter Protest in Spokane, WA 5/31/2020

At CHAS Health, our work is guided by our mission and core values. Two of those core values that are particularly relevant now are Social Responsibility and Respect for Human Dignity.  We believe that Black Lives Matter. The recent and deplorable death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement is the latest example in a long history of racial injustice and discrimination in our country. 

As a community health center, we have endeavored to reduce health inequities in the communities we serve over the last 25 years.  We know that health inequities disproportionately impact people of color and people with lower incomes.  While we have worked hard to strengthen these particular threads of our social safety net by providing universal access to primary care services, we were not expansive enough in our objective.  Although we understood that the root causes of health inequity are inextricably linked to systemic issues that support racial and income inequality, we failed to call it what is – a public health crisis. 

We need to confront the fact that the underlying foundation of health equity will never be stable until issues of systemic racism, injustice and respect for human dignity are rectified.  Acknowledgement is step one of this journey.  Next steps include listening, taking action, and sustaining that action.  CHAS Health is committed to increasing our staff’s awareness and engagement in activities that promote racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.  CHAS Health is also committed to working with external partners in the communities we serve to build a new foundation that addresses the deficiencies of our criminal justice system and law enforcement, to promote income equality, equal opportunity, and health equity. 

CHAS Health makes this commitment to the black community, communities of color, and to all the communities we serve.

Aaron Wilson, CEO

NOW OPEN! John R. Rogers High School Clinic

Healthcare can be complex, especially in today’s busy world. Many provider hours are limited to the school day, and offices may be located far from the school. That means students have to take time away from school and possibly find a ride, making it difficult to get the care they need while maintaining academics.

School-based health centers (SBHC) tackle that problem directly by adding an on campus clinic, making getting the care you need as simple as walking to the other side of the building.

Why school-based health centers?

Essentially, school-based health centers is an extension of your neighborhood health clinic in the school.

Healthy students are better learners. When students don’t feel well, it’s much harder to learn and pay attention in class. Not to mention days where students may be too ill to come to class at all, making it harder to catch up on materials.

School-based health centers aim to tackle this by offering an easy–to-access clinic where students don’t have to take time off to be seen by a provider.


According to data from the School-Based Health Alliance, school-based health centers:

  • Help students do better in school
  • Increase high school graduation rates
  • Decrease school discipline cases

How is a SBHC different from the school nurse’s office?

A SBHC is a fully-licensed primary care facility, providing a range of physical and mental health services, with limited dental services.  SBHC’s and school nurses work closely together, with school nurses able to refer students to the SBHC to resolve student health problems.

What services will CHAS Health at John R. Rogers -based health centeroffer?

This new clinic will be for students and school staff only, and will provide the following services:

• Primary medical care

• Answers to your health questions and concerns

• Treatment of common injuries and illnesses (allergies, rashes, sore throat, etc.)

• Counseling (help with emotional and social issues)

• Sports physicals

• Vaccinations, including flu shots

• Reproductive health services

• and much more

CHAS Health at John R. Rogers High School be staffed by Jeff Hayward, Family Practice Physician Assistant; Kristie Stolgitis, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner; Michelle Timmerman, Behavioral Health Proivder; Kelsey Kienbaum, Medical Assistant.  Johnnie Beans serves as the School Outreach Specialist, and is actively engaged in connecting with the students and staff.


Hours of operation will be Monday – Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm with both scheduled appointments and same day walk-in appointments available. 


School-based health centers often are operated as a partnership between the school and a community health organization, such as a community health center, hospital, or local health department. The specific services provided by school-based health centers vary based on community needs and resources as determined through collaborations between the community, the school district and the health care providers.

CHAS Health at John R. Rogers High School is made possible thanks to funding from Kaiser Permanente, in partnership with Spokane Public Schools.

For a more in-depth look at studies on school-based health centers:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3770486/

The time is always right to do what is right

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an annual federal holiday that celebrates a civil rights leader and movement that challenged racial segregation and inequality.  

Dr. King believed that “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these’.”

Respect for human dignity, social responsibility, and patient-centered are all CHAS Health core values that closely align with that statement. In fact, the very concept of the Federally Qualified Health Center was born as part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

CHAS Health is proud of its origin which is rooted in this movement.

Community Health Centers as a model in the United States were officially established in the 1960s as part of the “War on Poverty” program, with the goal of providing health and social service to underserved and disenfranchised populations.

CHAS Health was founded in 1994 with this goal at the heart of its mission and has continued striving to expand access and improve the quality of care for our patients. 

As we mark another celebration of his life, CHAS Health will be pausing clinical operations for the day (Monday, January 20th). We hope you join us in honoring Dr. King in whatever way you see fit. Folks who live in Spokane are welcome to check out the MLK Unity March & Resource fair.

https://www.inlander.com/spokane/mlk-unity-march-and-resource-fair/Event?oid=18921983

Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Receives Accreditation

The CHAS Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Program has received accreditations from the National Nurse Practitioner Residency and Fellowship Training Consortium (NNPRFTC). The NNPRFTC serves as a national accrediting organization, focused on consistently upholding the principles of excellence in accreditation and clinical training while fostering innovation and leadership in healthcare. Accreditation shows the commitment of CHAS Health to provide the highest levels of rigorous clinical training for postgraduate trainees and the same high level of conduct in business practices.
The CHAS Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Clinic opened in August 2017, to help train the next generation of Nurse Practitioners beyond their stand-alone education. The clinic is designed for fully licensed and credentialed ARNPs seeking to perfect their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a real world primary care setting. The program has expanded healthcare access to patients, while advancing the education of new nurse practitioners. The clinic has three long-term CHAS Health providers onsite, who provide guidance for three fully licensed ARNP Residents during the 13 month program.
Through accreditation, CHAS will be able to further develop our program through self-evaluation; identification of strengths and weaknesses; on-going refinement of the curriculum; and program enhancements to meet changing practice environments. For our patients and communities, accreditation is beneficial because it promotes the health, safety and welfare of society by fostering the development of competent health professionals, some of whom we hope to retain.
This is trailblazing work, as less than 10 programs are accredited nationally and CHAS Health was the first to successfully receive pre-accreditation prior to full accreditation.

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.