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.

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Coronavirus | COVID-19

CHAS Health is dedicated to the health and wellness of the communities we serve. Recent global events have raised questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to stay healthy. Below are answers to frequently asked questions. If you still have concerns for your health related to the coronavirus, please call us for more information at 509.444.8200 or 208.848.8300.

1. What is coronavirus aka COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the official name of the disease that is causing this 2019 coronavirus outbreak, first discovered in Wuhan China. The virus likely originated in animals and spread to humans. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that cause mild, cold-like illnesses. Some coronaviruses can cause illnesses in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels and bats. This was the case with SARS and MERS. In rare cases, animal coronavirus cases can spread to humans.

2. How is the virus spread?

The way this virus is spread is not yet fully understood. However, based on other coronaviruses, it may spread between people by coughing and sneezing into the air, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, and rarely through stool contamination with the virus present.

3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms can include runny nose, headache, and sore throat, and rarely digestive problems such as diarrhea or stomachache.

4. How can I protect myself from getting the virus?

The most important thing you should do is clean your hands frequently, especially before touching your face or eating. When you wash your hands, use soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw tissue away and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces. Stay home and away from others if you are feeling ill.

5. I think I’m experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, what do I do?

If you have traveled from a high-risk area (currently identified by the CDC as China, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Iran) or you have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath and feel you may have been exposed to this virus:

• Do not go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room

• Call you doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms

• Washington CHAS Health Patients: 509.444.8200

• Idaho CHAS Health Patients: 208.848.8300


Learn more FAQs about coronavirus (COVID-19) at https://chas.org/health-alerts