BE A CHAMPION! PLEASE IMMUNIZE!

Community Health Association of Spokane Valley Clinic

It is National Vaccine Awareness Month and that means… it’s time to talk about immunizations.

I will keep this short and sweet as we want to stay focused. Please come in and talk to a provider at any time if you have any questions or concerns about vaccination so we can discuss why they are safe and so important for you, your family and your community.

 

  1. Starting in September CHAS will have flu shots available for anyone who comes to any of our clinics. We will be here and ready to go to help keep you healthy thus If you have an appointment prior to the start of September you can come back in at anytime for a nurse visit to get your annual flu vaccination. If you are wondering “Do I need a flu shot” this post from a nurse who questioned her need for the vaccine while pregnant  may be just for you. http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/nurses-vaccinate-to-protect-families-and-patients/

 

  1. Please ask our medical staff at every visit if you need any vaccines. We should check every time you come in so we take every opportunity to keep you protected and healthy. If you don’t ask, who will? One question and 30 seconds of your time could save your life or the life of someone you love.

 

  1. For Teens- In 2014, nationally, 4 out of 10 teen girls and 6 out of 10 teen boys had not even started the HPV vaccine (Gardisil) series making them vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV. Your teenager also needs to shots to protect them from meningitis and a TDaP to protect them from tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough). Please start asking about HPV and if your teen starts this vaccine series, please remind them to finish it.

 

  1. Be a Champion! This month, I encourage everyone to be a champion for vaccine Please look up just one vaccine, any one of your choice and become passionate about it for your community. Be familiar with the results of getting such an infection and how not getting immunized can impact your community. Please go to http://www.immunize.org/vaccines/ this site will give you discussion points about each illness, pictures of what the illness looks like, and tons of resources to access so you can learn everything you need to know about vaccination. Let’s work together to make our community as safe as it can be. Please look at this resource  http://www.voicesforvaccines.org/ too as it helps you see each illness through the eyes of families and individuals affected by each preventable illness.

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