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

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

PSPC: Another CHAS-ism or a Glimpse into Integrated Care?

The following individuals are part of the core PSPC team (most of team pictured above): Pharmacists Heather McNamee and Kelly Smoot, Pharmacy Technician Amber Frohberg, ARNP Kathryn Sander, Pharmacist Jason Doss. Dietician Keri Smith and Quality Improvement Manager Amy Walker  (not pictured).

CHAS’ Pharmacy Department has become well-known for advancing the responsibilities of Pharmacists, not only in Spokane, but contributing to moving the profession forward nationwide!

One such recent effort which has spotlighted the Pharmacy Department is its’ involvement in the Patient Safety and Clinic Pharmacy Services Collaborative (PSPC).  According to HRSA’s website, the PSPC is “a breakthrough effort to improve the quality of health care across America by integrating evidence-based clinic pharmacy services into the care and management of high-risk, high-cost, complex patients.”

CHAS became involved in the PSPC in October 2010 stemming from a desire to have Pharmacists recognized as providers while tracking measurable patient outcomes.  A barrage of high-risk conditions were considered, but diabetes was selected as the focus because it closely aligned with work that was already being done at CHAS related to the Beacon and Patient Centered Medical Home initiatives.  The ultimate goal of CHAS’s PSPC efforts is to take patients with high-risk diabetes and stabilize them using an integrated care model.  And isn’t CHAS the perfect place to do such a thing?! With Pharmacists and medical providers all under one roof, it was a no-brainer!

Primary Care Providers can refer patients with complicated diabetes to the team, those whose A1cs are too high or those who simply have educational needs.  The model looks like this: a Pharmacist, who also happens to be a Certified Diabetic Educator, meets with the patient and performs a needs assessment which includes documentation of all medications, insulin titration needs, creating an educational plan and goal setting by the patient.  From there, the patient can be seen strictly by one or a combination of the team members which includes a primary care provider, pharmacist, and dietician.  The data measured which includes A1c, adverse drug events, potential adverse drug events and medication reconciliation is reported internally to Quality Improvement and nationally. 

To date, approximately 180 patients have enrolled in this integrated program.  Visits include in-person, over-the-phone, and monthly group educational sessions (see upcoming schedule below). “As predicted, the patient results have been great,” states Pharmacy Director, Heather McNamee.  Kelly Smoot, Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator goes on to say that the team approach has made a bigger difference to patients than she originally thought.  “We’ve gotten a lot of positive patient feedback.  We’ve had a lot of patients lost in care and out of control for years, but now they feel like they have people they can call.” 

Another unexpected consequence of the PSPC program has been the increased role of the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).  “I never expected as many combo visits with the provider. It opens the door to help monitor for complications.  A lot of CDE’s don’t get to do this.  I love my job,” says Kelly.  

PSPC services are available in the following clinics: Valley, Maple, and North County, with hopes to eventually offer these at all locations. 

 2013 Diabetes Group Visits
Pre-registration is required.  Patients can call 509.444.8200 to register or for more information.

Valley Clinic



March 15, 2013
April 19, 2013
May 17, 2013
June 21, 2013
July 19, 2013
August 16, 2013
September 20, 2013
October 18, 2013
November 15, 2013
December 20, 2013
Know Your Healthy Numbers
Oral Health
Stepping into Activity
Diabetes Drugs
Dining Out & Eating on the Road
Monitoring and Your Meter
Insulin-Facts and Myths
The Natural Progression of Diabetes
Holiday Meal Planning
Coping with Diabetes Emotions

 Maple St. Clinic



March 22, 2013
April 19, 2013
May 17, 2013
June 28, 2013
July 12, 2013
August 9, 2013
September 20, 2013
October 18, 2013
November 15, 2013
December 27, 2013
Monitoring and Your Meter
Know Your Healthy Numbers
Foot and Eye Care
Stepping into Activity
Diabetes Drugs
Dining Out & Eating on the Road
Insulin-Facts and Myths
The Natural Progression of Diabetes
Holiday Meal Planning
Coping with Diabetes Emotions

 North County Clinic



March 28, 2013
April 18, 2013
May 23, 2013
June 20, 2013
July 25, 2013
August 22, 2013
September 26, 2013
October 24, 2013
November 21, 2013
December 19, 2013
Know Your Healthy Numbers
Foot, Eye and Oral Care
Stepping into Activity
Dining Out & Eating on the Road
Diabetes Drugs
Monitoring and Your Meter
Insulin-Facts and Myths
The Natural Progression of Diabetes
Holiday Meal Planning
Coping with Diabetes Emotions

Hep C Program Comes to Life at CHAS

Hep C Program Comes to Life at CHAS
April 2012
By Katie Kolbet, Communications

Dr. Ethan Angell, Primary Care Provider - Community Health Association of Spokane

Dr. Ethan Angell and Michelle McCartney, Medical Assistant, are pioneers of sorts here at CHAS.  About 5 years ago while working together in family practice they started to notice a cycle of patients presenting with Hepatitis C.  Sadly, a lot of people don’t realize that they have Hep C until they are in the process of liver failure. There also are not many clinics that accept or know how to really deal with this condition. “We knew there had to be a better way to service patients with Hep C, to be able to build a relationship with them, get them clean (which is a requirement for the program) and help them deal with the side effects of the medications that clears the virus,” states Michelle.

Dr. Angell recalls the main motivation behind the push for the Hep C program. “A few years ago we had a patient who we became very close with.  He was in need of a liver transplant and was sent over to the University of Washington.  Two days before his appointment there, he passed away.” “It was the first funeral Dr. Angell and I attended together,” adds Michelle.

From there, they pushed to get a pilot program started that would help people with this curable disease. In 2009, they were allowed to take on five patients.  All five cleared the virus, meaning no trace of Hep C could be found in their systems. This was a great result and showed the impact that could be made.

The Hep C program is tough to get into and is growing by leaps and bounds. But with Dr. Angell only seeing Hep C patients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the demand is growing.  Below is a synopsis of 2011:

  • 192 referrals made
  • 100 patients attended the educational classes (a requirement for all participants)
  • 103 patients met with Dr. Angell
  • 20 patients are currently undergoing treatment
  • 9 patients are ready to start treatment
  • 25 patients completed treatment!

Many of the folks who are seen by Dr. Angell and Michelle are drug addicts – most contracting Hep C from sharing dirty needles or snorting cocaine.  Amazingly, the virus can live on a dollar bill for four days!  And most patients find out they have the disease by the plasma clinic where all blood is screened before a donation can be made.

When speaking about the program, Dr. Angell adds, “this is not something that people can just jump in and out of.” In order to be accepted into the program the patient must remain clean for 6 months, and must be emotionally and mentally stable. Patients must be committed to staying clean, or they are removed from the program.  Then there are others that experience side effects that are too much for them to deal with or and yet others that simply do not respond to treatment.

“There can be terrible side effects from these drugs,” says Dr. Angell.

One of the benefits of treating patients for Hep C, who are also primary care patients, is Dr. Angell and Michelle already know them, there is a trust built, and they can treat the side effects better than a Hepatologist would be able to in most cases.  They are also able to give patients their weekly injections at the clinic, because for some, injecting themselves is a trigger of their prior drug use.

For the Hep C program to successfully continue, Dr. Angell and Michelle know that case management is the key! “We are their medical home, a lot of patients are sad when treatment is over – we are part of their family,” Michelle adds.

Congratulations and appreciation to Dr. Angell and Michelle for instituting such a beneficial program at CHAS!