#GIVINGTUESDAYNOW | May 5th

#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 is an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity–to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and heal.  Generosity gives everyone the power to make a positive change in the lives of others and is a fundamental value anyone can embrace. #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.

Join CHAS Health for the next two weeks as we share stories from our staff and patients about working on the COVID-19 front lines. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, share our stories with friends, or if you can, participate in the giving to help us continue to serve patients during these trying times. You can donate to the CHAS Health Foundation at: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CHAS

CHAS Health Announces New Foundation; Prioritizes Funding for Patients Impacted by COVID-19

Spokane, WA, April 13, 2020 – Last year, CHAS Health took the initial steps to start a Foundation, with the intent of creating a funding vehicle to address patient and community health equity. The Foundation Board recently formed and recognizes the urgent need for a fundraising campaign to help economically challenged patients facing extraordinary difficulties during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We know people in our community are being impacted by lay-offs and lost wages right now. This leads to loss of health insurance, difficulty affording prescriptions, and other social determinants of health. We want to use the new Foundation to start providing patient assistance immediately,” stated Lindsey Ruivivar, Foundation spokesperson.

CHAS Health is actively involved in the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is quickly adapting operations to meet the needs of patients. Like other health care providers across the nation, CHAS Health is experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical and N95 masks. The organization has temporarily ceased dental operations except for emergencies, in accordance with CDC guidelines and to conserve personal protective equipment. To limit the number of patients and staff in clinics and to help stop the spread of the virus, most patient appointments have been converted to telehealth visits when appropriate.

To-date, CHAS Health has screened 5,546 individuals for COVID-19, and tested 947 individuals; 31 tests have come back positive, and more results are pending. Five CHAS Health clinics have tents to screen patients for upper respiratory symptoms, while minimizing exposure risks for patients and staff.

“The pandemic has necessitated switching a lot of our operations to virtual care, which has proven to be effective both for medical and behavioral health services,” states Aaron Wilson, CHAS Health CEO. “We are focused on providing continuity of care for our patients, regardless of their circumstances.”

The Foundation has begun to receive seed funding, including financial donations from CHAS Health employees who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite operation and equipment challenges, the organization remains optimistic.

“We are excited to move the Foundation forward, and to use this as an opportunity for the community to partner with us to help patients get through the pandemic,” says Ruivivar. “We have been humbled by the tangible donations that have begun to pour in, from people dropping off masks, to businesses donating coffee and lunch for our employees who are working long hours right now.”

The Foundation is actively soliciting donations to provide assistance for patients in need. Donations may be made online at www.chas.org/donate or by calling 509-444-8888 and asking to speak with the Foundation.

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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 insurance status or ability to pay.

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

Importance of ongoing learning in a healthcare setting

Since inception, CHAS Health has positioned our patients at the center of every decision we make.  And in order to provide the best possible care for our patients, it’s essential that we provide learning and development opportunities for our valued staff. The healthcare industry is an ever-changing field that requires extensive skills and training. The development of a successful program is key to employee retention, competency, and the balance of work and personal life. There are many benefits that can be derived from a successful learning and development program for everyone involved.

Why is it important?

Learning presents a special opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees. Learning and development can increase employee retention, job satisfaction, and productivity. It’s a vital tool when implementing new policies, equipment, and/or employees.

Due to our complex and busy schedules, we’ve received feedback that the best way to ensure that adequate time is dedicated to learning is to provide carved-out and focused time for our clinic staff. That’s why the 3rd Wednesday of the month, we are dedicating learning time to our staff and we will open clinic hours slightly later at 9am.

Our newly developed dedicated learning time supports improved patient care, service to our community, and career development.  It’s often difficult to have quality learning time during the everyday work day, especially with how tight schedules can be. With this time carved out, employees will be able to access educational resources to better careers and patients’ lives.

Please note, the third Wednesday and the last Wednesday of every month, our primary care clinics open at 9am.

Spokane Urgent Care locations open at 9am on the last Wednesday of the month only.

Too sick for school?

Flu season is officially here! Over the next few months, many parents of ill children will be faced with the decision whether or not to send their child to school. The most important thing for parents to consider when making this decision is if the child will be able to learn and participate in school activities. We also don’t want to unnecessarily expose other children to illness causing germs. However, we all want to minimize missed school and work days for both students and their parents. Below are a few guidelines that can help parents make this often tricky call.

Fever

A fever is body’s way of fighting off infection and is the most common reason parents keep their children home from school. The definition of a fever is a temperature of 100.4 or higher, though some schools and daycare centers will have their own rules. The general rule of thumb is to keep your child home until they have been fever free for 24 hours.

Upper respiratory Infections

Most children will have several different cold viruses each winter. A child with typical cold symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, and cough can usually participate in school without any restrictions. Coughs may linger for several weeks after the other symptoms have resolved. It is important to go over the importance of coughing or sneezing into an elbow or a tissue and proper hand washing techniques with your sick child to limit the spread of these germs.

It may be necessary to keep a child home if they have more severe symptoms, such as extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, or anything else that will keep them from learning and participating at school. If a child has influenza (the “flu”), they should be kept home from school until their symptoms have resolved. The flu is similar to a cold but is accompanied by high fevers and body aches. We recommend an annual influenza vaccine to help lower the risk of this illness.

If your child has an ear, sinus, or strep throat infection it is recommended that they stay home from school until at least 24 hours after antibiotic treatment has been started. Conjunctivitis (also known as “pink eye”) can be caused by allergies or a virus, but when it’s caused by bacteria it is very contagious and needs antibiotic treatment before the child returns to school.

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Children with vomiting and diarrhea should also be kept home until their symptoms have resolved. If there are no other symptoms, older children with mild diarrhea that are able to use the toilet and wash their hands on their own may go to school if they don’t have any other symptoms.

Skin

Most childhood rashes are caused by viruses and most are not cause for concern. Certain rashes, such as chicken pox are more severe and highly contagious. If a rash is accompanied by a fever, the child should not attend school. If you are unsure what is causing a child’s rash, it’s a good idea for them be seen by their healthcare provider to find out what the rash is and any precautions that should be taken.

Lice is another common reason for children to miss school. In the past, many schools had a “no nits” policy. Experts now agree that these absences are unnecessary and children can return to school as soon as they have had one lice treatment.
Illnesses are a normal part childhood. We can’t keep our children home for every sniffle and sneeze, but we do want to minimize the spread of germs and make sure that our children go to school ready to learn. If you have any questions about whether or not to send your child to school, talk to your child’s healthcare provider.

Autumn Barbero, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Post-Holiday Depression

Presents have been unwrapped; cookies cooked and consumed, memories of joy on faces remain in your phone. But now that the festivities are over and it’s time to start taking down the lights, are you feeling down? It’s no surprise that the decrease in celebration and excitement can certainly affect moods, causing disappointment or even sadness. “It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, so if you are feeling that way, you are not alone,” says Martha Nelson, CHAS Health Behavioral Health Provider.

 

Causes:

  • Busyness – It’s a crazy hectic time of year. You just finished having so many people to get the perfect present for, the perfect meals, and attended too many functions. It’s such a wonderful time, but also, exhausting. Coming down from the busyness and hype is tough.
  • Family – Family is the best! Family is the worst! All kinds of feelings come up during the holiday season and it can certainly take an emotional toll. Do you have family members that are stressful to be around? “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” most definitely applies here. Even the most incredible families can cause some levels of exhaustion.
  • Memories – Holidays bring past memories, and often a sense of nostalgia for good times that have passed and loved ones that may be gone.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is a common contributing factor for holiday depression. It can be a packed time of year, with normal routines and exercise out the window. Additionally, it’s cold outside (and so warm under the blankets). No wonder you can feel fatigued. It’s the time of year I personally put off a lot of things in exchange for sleeping in or going to sleep early.
  • Sugar and food – So many good treats! So many good foods! During this time of year, there is so much to eat, drink, and be merry with. It’s easy to go overboard, throw your routine out the window, and over eat (or under eat if you swap eating something good in order to splurge on a dessert). The amounts of blood sugar spikes can lead you feeling crabby, hungry and a little bit sad.

 

Ideas to help cope with post-holiday depression:

  • Take what you enjoyed during the holidays and continue it throughout the year. If you enjoyed spending time with friends and family, invite them over soon for a meal, play some games, or watch a movie.
  • Have fun! Go to a movie, see a play, go to the Museum of Arts and Culture, ski or do some tubing at Mt. Spokane.
  • Start or continue your exercise routine. Sometimes exercise goes out the window during the holidays (sometimes it goes out the window well before the holidays too). But, now is a perfect time to re-start or get in to a new routine. Include a buddy so you have company and someone you look forward to hanging out with and to hold each other accountable.
  • If you’ve gained weight, don’t worry about it. There were a lot of good treats around. No regrets. It doesn’t mean you are weak, worthless, or irresponsible, it means there were some awesome cookies around…gotta live a little. Right? However, it’s never too late to get back on track with a healthy eating plan.
  • Plan something each week to look forward to.
  • Take care of yourself, including eating well (don’t confuse this with not eating), exercising and getting enough sleep. Have a good attitude as well; it’s easily to slip in to negative notions.
  • If the post-holiday blues hang on for too long, consider reaching out to a behavioral health specialist. Seasonal affective disorder is a legit issue that many people deal with. As we roll in to 2017, remember to make the resolution to highlight health and happiness.

By Matt Grebe and Martha Nelson

Pokémon Go, For Your Health?

If you’ve seen an increased number of people walking and biking around town with their phones glued to their faces, there’s a strong chance they are searching for a Charmander, Snorlax, or one of the other 151 Pokémon varieties. Of course we’re talking about Pokémon Go, the latest interactive app to blow up your Facebook and Twitter feed. The coolest part of the app (aside from finding a Squirtle in your backyard), is it’s actually helping people to get outside and exercise more.

Released last week, Pokémon Go is an interactive game that uses your phone’s GPS, camera,  and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around using augmented reality. The Pokemon that the players catch can be powered up and used to take over or train at local gyms (usually monuments, churches, other public spaces). Different types of creatures appear as you move around your city, with the variety changing as you move from block to block. You’re literally chasing Pokémon around your city, which is making this game a huge hit and an excellent addition to your exercise regimen.

Many people using the app have seen significant increases in their steps since they began playing.

In addition, some Pokémon Go players are seeing mental health benefits. Simply by getting outside and taking a short walk (sometimes with friends) players are helping themselves to battle anxiety and depression. The game can be played solo or with a group of friends/strangers.

Tumblr user Ari is one of them. She has anxiety and depression and for the past three years has avoided leaving the house unless absolutely necessary.

“I have struggled with motivation and energy since I was 9, when I developed severe depression. After that, when I was 15, I developed CPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder] from an abusive relationship that left me completely socially phobic, and starting then I was barely able to leave my house for fear of seeing people.

“But as soon as I got Pokemon Go I was able to leave the house, and I walked outside for hours and suddenly found myself enjoying it. I had the instant rush of dopamine whenever I caught a Pokémon, and I wanted to keep going. Then today and yesterday I purposely put myself in social situations, going to the mall, just to play. And best of all I enjoyed it.

“I think it’s partially because it gives an instant reward. It’s not like going out, having an awful experience, and getting praise after. It’s going out and getting that instant positive affirmation that makes going outside a good experience. I guess most people get that with being social or doing other activities.”

 

Of course the exercise is a side effect of playing Pokémon Go, which is at its core an incredibly fun way  to try and see if you can “catch ‘em all”. It brings back a sense of nostalgia, childhood wonder, and lets players explore their environment.

Now, if someone can help me find a Pikachu in Spokane, that would be amazing.

-Matt Grebe & Rachael Chambers, CHAS Health Communications Team

Welcome to Summer!

 

Helmets– Are highly recommended with all wheeled sports. You only have one head and need to protect that brain for many years to come. If you happen to get in a wreck, get help to make sure you don’t have a serious injury.

Swimming– We have so many awesome lakes, rivers, and pools within a short distance which is why it’s important to practice good water safety. Even if you’re a good swimmer, make sure someone is around to watch you.

Sunblock- We recommend you use a sunblock that covers both UVA and UVB; and an SPF of 70 would be best (with the way most people put on sunblock you only get about half the SPF number listed on the bottle). Don’t forget to drink lots of cool water when the heat rises outside or if you’ve been sweating more than usual! Be sure to stay hydrated to keep your body from overheating.

Camp Physicals-Summertime is a great time to go to camp! Ask your parents to call and schedule an annual physical appointment now so you’re ready for all your activities at camp – and get a jump on the next school year.

Summer Treats– What summer is complete without a few sweets? Remember that we don’t get a summer break from brushing our teeth; we have to do it every day. If you haven’t been into the dentist in a while, now is a great time to let your tooth shine. For extra protection, remember we also have fluoride supplements for kids from 6 months old until 16 years old.

Last, but not least, make sure you talk with your parents about expectations for summer, make sure you know your home address, parent’s phone, and who to contact in case of emergency. Have a fun and safe summer!

7 Benefits of Cycling

 

Who doesn’t love a good bike ride? Especially this time of year, the weather is beautiful in Eastern Washington. Instead of driving to work-using gas and being tied up in traffic- ride your way to work, miss the traffic, get a terrific energy boost, and burn some extra calories while doing it! In fact, biking is shown to have tremendous health benefits, we’ve listed a few for you:

  1. It’s good for your heart! Cycling is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
  2. It makes you strong! Riding a bike is great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body such as: your calves, thighs, and rear end. It’s also a great low-impact mode of conditioning for folks with injuries to the legs, knees, or hips that may prevent them from taking part in more rigorous workout programs.
  3. It keeps you lean! You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace. It has also been associated with helping to keep weight gain down and even has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism even after the ride is over!
  4. It keeps you young! Do you want to live longer for your loved ones? Bicycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as cycling regularly has been associated with increased ‘life-years’.
  5. It makes you light on your feet! We all love to dance – why not ride your bike to get rid of those “two left feet” your friends are always talking about?Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body’s own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
  6. It can put a smile on your face! Any exercise you take part in has a way of boosting endorphins – making you feel better overall, but riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health.
  7. It gives your immune system a boost! Your immune system is the most important part of your body for fighting off those pesky viruses and cancer cells that attempt to take over your body. Cycling can strengthen your immune system, and could protect against such cancers, illnesses or disease.

Though there are significant health benefits to cycling, sometimes we do it just because it’s fun! And who wouldn’t? I know I do. Why do you ride a bike? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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