Friendly Faces in New Spaces

During COVID-19, a great number of CHAS Health staff found both their workplaces and roles transformed.  With nonessential services suspended and many office visits converted to telephone or virtual visits, the need to check in patients at the front desk diminished and had the potential to compromise patient and staff safety if continued.  Toni Hites from the CHAS Latah Community Health clinic in Moscow, Idaho found herself still greeting patients, but instead of operating from the comfort of the clinic’s front office, she was now something like an extremely friendly healthcare bouncer–posted outside the clinic front door, donned nose to knees in protective gear.

“I have been enjoying my new role as a greeter, because I get to meet all of the dental people. It has been great getting to know my co-workers who I would not usually get to work with this closely. I have also gotten to know my pharmacy co-workers as well.  We have a great team here at Latah CHAS, and they have made this fun even in these difficult times.  I have also gotten to hear from the patients how they appreciate all we do for them, like running in to get their prescriptions for them.”

If you are a CHAS Health patient needing pharmacy services, give as a call at (509) 444-8200 in Washington or (208) 838-8300 in Idaho.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

COVID-19 and Community Generosity

During the pandemic, we have received a heartening number of donations of individually wrapped food for employees serving in our clinics and tents, face masks for staff and patients, and monetary gifts to fill in the gaps.  Gifts have arrived not just from caring individuals and organizations all over the Inland Northwest, but also from Seattle, Chicago, Iowa and Florida.  Our own employees and even family members of staff have made generous donations as well.  This is the story of Katie Negri, one of our incredible Application Support Analysts, and how she and our community came together to give:

Katie is part of a Facebook group named “Helping Spokane County get through COVID-19” and she noticed an organization called Spokane Ear Savers mentioned several times. 

“I originally reached out looking to purchase some of the ear savers for a few of my co-workers in IT, but when I mentioned I worked for CHAS, Briana, the woman who responded to my message, stated that she wanted to donate 200 to our practice.” 

After picking up the initial order of 200, “Briana messaged me again to let me know that they made an additional 200 ear savers to donate to CHAS and that I could pick them up whenever it was convenient. This group is amazing and extremely thoughtful!”

A big thank you to our own Katie and to Briana at Spokane Ear Savers for coming together to serve our community and staff during COVID-19.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

By Vanessa Bryant

COVID-19 and New Staff Roles

During COVID-19, a great number of CHAS Health staff had to quickly shift to doing their work differently or doing completely different work!  The impact was especially great on our dental team.  When the pandemic necessitated the treatment of dental emergencies only, Dental Assistant Ayla Maki from CHAS Latah Community Health in Moscow, Idaho got a brand new temporary job:

“During COVID-19, I transitioned from being a dental assistant to helping in the pharmacy as a technician.  Working in the pharmacy has been fun and informative.  The Latah pharmacy staff have been encouraging, patient, and supportive during this new experience!  I have a whole new respect for those working in the pharmacy and what they do on a daily basis.  I am incredibly grateful for this new experience, as well as being able to keep helping out in the clinic where needed during this transitional time. I am thankful for CHAS and that they have continually supported me and my fellow employees through this temporary situation.”

If you require emergency dental care or are a CHAS Health patient needing pharmacy services, give as a call at (509) 444-8200 in Washington or (208) 838-8300 in Idaho.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

COVID-19 and Patient Calls

One of the challenges of being a Call Center Representative at a healthcare organization, even when it isn’t a crisis, is that you often don’t get to circle back with the patients you assist day after day and inevitably worry about.  On one such occasion during COVID-19, our call center expert Sam at Spokane’s downtown CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic, was fortunate enough to reconnect.

“Last week I had a patient with a 3-month-old son call in panicked that he had been having trouble breathing that morning…” Sam quickly got the patient on the phone with a nurse, “…and I’m not quite sure what had happened from there.” 

Luckily, when the patient called back a few days later, Sam was once again connected with her. 

“She thanked CHAS for being such a great resource for her and her family.  She said that our team is always going above and beyond for our patients’ health!  She emphasized how in the midst of the craziness of COVID, CHAS was there for her!”

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Working the Tent during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 Crisis, many of our employees were moved from working inside their regular clinic location, to helping in our screening tents outside of our primary care clinics.  Here are some comments about tent work from one of our amazing Nurse Practitioners, Todd:

“The patients and families I interacted with [in the tent] were ALL amazing, supportive and understanding of the processes we went through to keep them and their family members safe.  In those moments there was a real sense of community and we are all working together.” 

Todd noted that CHAS support staff were all great; not just the Medical Assistants and other staff screening at the door and running for supplies, but even the facilities employee who got the heat on to make employees more comfortable and who broke down the tent at the end of the day.  

“I feel very fortunate to work for an organization that supports its employees, families and community in a time like this.”

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Gumby and COVID-19 Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you about the historic flexibility of CHAS Health workers, which we celebrate with a yearly Gumby Award.  Not only have a huge number of our employees transitioned swiftly to working from home (in no small part due to our amazingly responsive Gumby-Guru IT staff), but those still working in our clinics and screening tents had to learn to change protocols daily.

Our fleet of Gumbys learned to use new equipment and garb, they learned to treat patients while also social distancing, and some of them even learned how to do completely new jobs as a number of our functions had to be adapted, curtailed or shut down for patient and employee safety.

Through it all, staff continued to laugh, learn, and thanked CHAS for keeping us on the books when so many people were losing their incomes. Our employees embody the “We can do this” spirit.  Of course we can… We’re Gumby, Danggit!

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS


By Vanessa Bryant

Gumby and COVID-19 Part 1

The COVID-19 crisis has required the unbelievably flexible employees of CHAS Health to extend themselves even more than usual.  Did you know that at CHAS, we have a Gumby Award?  For those of you who are Millennial or younger, Gumby is a big green clay old-timey cartoon character known for his flexibility, recently portrayed once again by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live (the original Gumby is significantly less salty and more agreeable than Murphy’s version).  Since what seems like the dawn of time, we have been giving this award out yearly to express our appreciation for the extreme resilience and adaptability of our employees.  Our jobs change constantly and we swiftly accept change and move on to focus on how to best serve our patients in the context of today’s changes (or this morning’s changes, or this minute’s changes…). 

Working from home has been a new experience for many of us during this time, and has been particularly unusual for our front line health care workers. 

Rachel Clements, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at CHAS Lewis and Clark Health Center in Lewiston, Idaho shared, “I am so grateful that I can connect with my patients by phone or virtually so that I can help them achieve health.  It’s also a joy to be able to talk to people when we are most comfortable (both of us at home).  I get so many compliments on my kitchen curtains!” 

Rachel’s positivity and humor around this change are emblematic of the quiet heroics our health center staff display daily.

Due to the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis, some of our staff transitioned from working at a clinic to working at home on same day notice.  Less Gumby-like employees may have struggled with such a quick turnaround but at CHAS we’re more like, “That’s it?  What else you got?”

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

By Vanessa Bryant

Treating COVID, Grieving COVID

She may be wearing a surgical mask, but there is a person behind that mask who is dealing with the reality of the pandemic just like the rest of us.  Here is a story from Amanda, a Registered Nurse working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis in Deer Park, Washington:

“It is natural to worry about the exposure and safety of my family, but my mind is definitely at ease knowing I have the PPE [personal protective equipment] to protect me from this terrible bug… My grandmother (in-law) passed recently, on hospice, from brain cancer. Her daughter was unable to visit her because she also has cancer and with the stay-at-home order as well as her being high risk to go in public, she was unable to see her mom during her last days–which breaks my heart. If this was my own situation, I would be absolutely devastated not to be with my mom in her last days.”

If you are struggling with grief or coping right now and would like to explore counseling services, call CHAS Health at 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Health Access during COVID-19

When businesses had to close their doors due to COVID-19, people lost their jobs and wages. In health care, we see the impact job loss has on patients who suddenly lose their health insurance, and find that they have difficulty affording prescriptions.

Every day, but especially during the pandemic, CHAS Health’s Patient Services Coordinators help members of our community to gain access to much needed healthcare services.  Here is a story of our team working together at Maple Street Clinic in Spokane to help a patient:

A patient contacted the office to cancel her appointment because her son and daughter-in-law lost their jobs due to COVID-19.  She didn’t want to be a financial burden to her family by keeping her appointment. Her healthcare provider asked her to come in anyway, telling her CHAS would find a way to help with costs. After meeting with a CHAS Patient Services Coordinator, the patient was able to get assistance and a voucher for her prescriptions. The provider had also referred this patient to a specialist, but she didn’t want to go for the reasons previously stated.  The clinic team was able to get this patient full coverage for her specialist visit, allowing her to receive the care she needed without the worry of burdening her family financially during the pandemic.  

If you need help with health insurance or accessing other resources, call to speak with a CHAS Patient Services Coordinator: 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

Dental Emergencies and COVID-19

Our daily routines have been interrupted as we all work to practice social distancing, and many businesses that we would regularly frequent are currently closed. These changes have also impacted the health care system. Per state and CDC guidelines, dental services may only be provided for emergencies during the pandemic. This order has led many dental practices to temporarily close their doors, or provide limited hours.

What do you do if you have a toothache during the pandemic, and there isn’t a dentist open in your home town right now?

Here is one patient’s story, as told by Jessica, Dental Support Supervisor at CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic, located in downtown Spokane:

“We had a dental patient come in all the way from Ritzville because their one dentist who travels from Ellensburg was not seeing patients. He was in a lot of pain: unable to sleep, unable to control the pain with over-the-counter drugs, unable to eat. He was pretty hesitant to have treatment done by someone else, but was in so much pain he said if he did not get this tooth out of his head, he was going to take some pliers to it and get it out himself!

To make matters worse, his appointment was scheduled for the following week, not that day. Because we knew he traveled all the way from Ritzville, our dental team was able to pull together and make it work, despite a full schedule.

The patient was so grateful by the end of the visit, he thanked all of the staff present, saying Dr. Orth was the best dentist ever and he just might continue to travel for all his dental care because he liked her so much!”

CHAS Health clinicians are honored to be able to serve everyone in need during this challenging time.  If you need emergency dental services, please call us at 509-444-8200.

This blog post is part of a special CHAS Health Foundation series for #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. #GivingTuesdayNow is a global day of giving that focuses on the collective power that individuals, communities and organizations use to celebrate generosity and philanthropy worldwide.

This mission of the CHAS Health Foundation is to create health equity by strategically investing in patients, partners, and communities. The CHAS Health Foundation supports CHAS Health, a non-profit community health center serving over 97,000 patients annually regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS