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 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

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

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.

Proper Sanitation Techniques

Proper and safe sanitation is necessary for health. There are many ways to keep the surfaces and items you utilize on a daily basis sanitized. From cleaning and disinfecting, laundering, and properly washing your hands, maintaining safe sanitation can seem more complicated than it actually is.

While it may seem like a thoughtless task you do, most people do not wash their hands correctly. Washing your hands should be done after the following times;

  • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After using the restroom
  • Before eating or preparing food
  • After contact with animals or pets
  • Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance (e.g. a child)

To properly wash your hands, use warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Remember to focus on the back of your hands, your fingernails, and all the way to the wrist to ensure maximum cleanliness. If you cannot wash your hands, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. When using hand sanitizer be sure to follow the 20-second rule as well and rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands. Be sure to avoid touching your faces if your hands are not washed.

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt, whereas disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs. While cleaning does not kill germs, it lowers the possibility of germs spreading by removing them from surfaces. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned on a regular basis. These surfaces include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. To properly clean a surface use warm water and soap.

To correctly disinfect and area you can use a diluted household bleach solution, an alcohol-based solution with at least 70% alcohol, household cleaners, or you can create your own bleach solution. To make your own bleach solution you can mix 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water. When disinfecting, remember to keep the surface wet for several minutes with the disinfectant solution for several minutes to ensure germs are killed. If someone in your household is expected to have a virus or infection, frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected on a daily basis.

For soft surfaces and other items such as clothing, towels, and linens, be sure to launder items as possible. Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other items. Be sure to clean and disinfect your hampers as well. For items that cannot be put in the laundry, clean using soap and water or with the appropriate cleaners.

If someone in your house has an illness be sure to use disposable gloves when cleaning and dealing with infected items. Proper sanitation techniques can help prevent illnesses and germs from spreading to you and your loved ones.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

Managing Stress and Anxiety with COVID-19

With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, stress and anxiety can be difficult to manage. Coping with stress during these times is essential for you and your loved ones. While stress can appear differently in everyone. According to the CDC on their website to help with anxiety and stress during the coronavirus, common signs of stress can include;

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Common changes to watch for in children include;

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

As important it is to know the signs, it is just as important to know the resources to help with stress and anxiety. Taking care of yourself during these times can seem difficult with orders to “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place”. We are fortunate to have resources online to help us through this unique time.

Health.com recently published an article “10 Virtual Therapy and Mental Health Apps to Cope With Coronavirus Stress” that has great options to explore while at home, https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/virtual-therapy-mental-health-apps. All apps suggested in the article are free to download, with some having in-app purchase options. If you currently have a behavior health physician that you work with, ask them if you can schedule an appointment via online video conference.

If you are having these feelings, please feel free to reach out by calling 509.444.8200 or learn more about our behavioral health services.

Additionally please keep in mind how to deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Below is a graphic from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. You can also access more resources by visiting www.adaa.org.

by Mike Cardenas, Marketing Specialist

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