Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes

National Health Center Week (August 12th- 18th) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

Health centers serve 27 million patients a number that continues to grow along with the demand for affordable primary care. In addition to their long history as health care homes to millions, health centers produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities and reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the social determinants of health affecting special patient populations.

This year, the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Health Center Advocacy Network invites you to celebrate the incredible health care heroes– individuals who live and breathe the health center mission and exceed the call of duty to support health centers in providing quality health care for patients in the community.

At CHAS Health, we are celebrating by hosting 2 community celebrations! Open House at Cheney Health Center and Ribbon Cutting and Reception at our BRAND NEW East Mission Dental Clinic. Join us August 15th and 16th! Both events will feature a lot of fun and FREE food!

Idaho Enhanced Medicaid Benefits Now Available!

The state of Idaho has recently reinstated Enhanced dental benefits for all Medicaid eligible adults, meaning that patients can access important preventive dental services like exams, cleanings, and fillings. Keep your smile healthy by calling CHAS for a dental appointment today!

 

Sealants! What are they and why does your dentist recommend them?

Our molars are big, round teeth designed for grinding and chewing.  If you feel your teeth with your tongue, you will feel bumps on them.  These are called cusps, they are like the mountain tops of your teeth—they are sharp and pointy.

In between the cusps or mountains, there are grooves.  These grooves are very deep for some people, and they trap bacteria and sugars, causing cavities.  Sometimes, the grooves are so deep and skinny that your toothbrush bristles can’t reach into them.  For these teeth, dentists recommend sealants.

Sealants coat the teeth and fill in the grooves.  Imagine painting a molar with white fingernail polish.  Sealants coat the teeth for several years, preventing tooth bugs from hiding in the deep grooves and causing cavities.

 

Here are a few common questions parents ask:

  • What age children need sealants?
    1. We recommend sealants on permanent molars. At 6 years of age, children’s first permanent molars start coming in.  At age 12, the second set of permanent molars come in.  So, starting at age 6 and again at 11 or 12 years, your dentist or dental hygienist will check to see if your child needs sealants.
  • My child doesn’t eat candy or drink pop. Does she still need sealants?
    1. Even healthy foods like dried fruit can cause cavities in children with deep grooves. We still recommend sealants, as they last for years.  Sometimes, children’s diet changes at school—they start sharing treats with friends, or drinking juice or pop.
  • Do sealants hurt? Will my son have to get numb?
    1. Sealants are painless, no need for numbing! We will clean the surfaces of the teeth, then use a type of “tooth shampoo” to prepare the tooth for the sealant, then place the sealant.  If your child is very sensitive to taste, we even have products that don’t have any flavors and that minimize rinsing with water.  There are lots of options for sealants, and we highly recommend them.
  • Are sealants the same thing as fluoride?
    1. Sealants are a coating for your teeth, they do not contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in toothpaste, some mouthrinse and some water supplies.

by Dr. LaVonne Hammelman

 

 

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, so what a perfect time to review the best way to care for your child’s teeth!  Make sure you bring your little one in by 12 months of age, if you also want to bring them in when the first tooth erupts, that is great too.  This early first visit is important for several reasons.  First, any dental problems that may be developing can be detected early, and this may reduce the need for costly, extensive care in the future.  In addition, the first dental visit is a great time to talk about behaviors that can affect the dental health of your child.

As your child grows, it is important that they come to the clinic every six months to repeat this process. Small procedures such as a toothbrush cleaning, and later a rubber cup cleaning, as well as dental radiographs will be added at the subsequent appointments.  The developing dentition will be monitored and your child will be assessed for orthodontic care.   Sealants are placed on first and second molars around the age of six and 12 to prevent dental decay.  Some tips for lasting dental health:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • The ADA recommends that for children younger than three years, begin brushing with a “smear” of fluoridated tooth paste no bigger than a grain rice
  • For children between the ages of 3 and 6, use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste
  • Parents or caregivers should be actively involved in this process, remember that until your child can tie their own shoes, they do not have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth.
  • Any teeth that touch should be flossed
  • A diet that is good for your body will be good for your teeth
  • Avoid sugary drinks and chewy, sticky foods.
  • In the teenage years it is important to help your child maintain a healthy diet also as during the school years candy, soda are more readily available outside the home.
  • Do not let your child get an intraoral piercing as this can be responsible for chipped teeth, soft tissue trauma and occasional tooth loss

 

Try to have patience and keep at it, some children have an easier time than others but patience and persistence will pay off.

Hello November! Tips for a festively healthy fall.

Gobble, Gobble!

The turkey has spoken and November is in!

Turkey

  1. Brr, It’s Cold Out There

As colder weather approaches, remember to layer up and keep warm. Use earmuffs to protect your ears, and gloves or mittens to protect your hands as flu season is very much upon us. If you haven’t already received your flu shot, stop by your local retail pharmacy or doctor’s office and keep those germs at bay by continuing to wash your hands throughout the day. No one likes a sick turkey!

  1. Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. We all love a holiday meal with our families – a warm turkey or ham just out of the oven, mashed potatoes covered in creamy gravy, stuffing and don’t forget those veggies – just remember to show your thanks to your body by maintaining a healthy diet through the holidays.

  1. Friendship Never Gets Old

As the days get shorter with the new season, it’s important to remember to use the buddy system when walking or biking to and from places. Carpooling is also a great way to save on gas and help keep the environment healthy! Make new friends, and keep the old.

  1. Get Up and Get Out

Stay healthy by getting regular exercise and spending time with family. Go outside during half-times and toss the ball around; do a little jig when your team makes a touchdown; or even join your family on a stroll through the park while you pick out your favorite leaves. Whatever it may be, doing 30 minutes of regular exercise will keep your mind, body and heart happy and strong!

  1. Take Care of Your Teeth

As you just spent weeks eating all of your Halloween candy, your teeth are certainly feeling it. Be sure to brush and floss at least twice daily, and especially after eating that delicious kettle corn you’ve been looking forward to. Avoid chewing on kernels as they can get stuck in your gums and cause discomfort, tooth breakage, and sometimes even infection.

Author: Katiah Peterson

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