Senator Maria Cantwell stops by CHAS Health to talk about Basic Health.

United States Senator Maria Cantwell stopped by CHAS Health’s Maple Street Clinic to urge Washington State to bring back Basic Health Plan.

Basic Health is a federal program that was modeled after Washington State’s Basic Health Plan, which went away when the WA HealthPlanFinder Marketplace website was implemented. This program would help patients who have had difficulty affording the cost of Marketplace Plans.

Cantwell was joined by Washington State Representative Marcus Riccelli, CHAS Health CEO, Aaron Wilson, the Native Project CEO, Toni Lodge, and other advocates urging the state to adopt the affordable insurance program again. Cantwell said it could help about 162,000 people in Washington, who earn between $16,242 and $23,540 annually, which is just above the Medicaid eligibility rate. “The Federal Basic Health Plan will help patients maintain affordable coverage and will also reduce unnecessary health system costs by enabling patients to maintain continuity of coverage instead of churning between the Apple Health program and the exchange plans” says Wilson.Cantwell press conference chas

“Our state has been an innovator in health care in so many ways, and Basic Health is just another example of that.” Cantwell said, now that we have the basic health plan as a federal option, currently a family of 4 in Spokane with an income of 48,000 per year could have these options. Right now, paying a monthly premium of $259/month for a private plan on the exchange, that same family in New York under the Basic Health Plan is paying just $20/month. If the Basic Health Plan had similar premiums…that family could save over $2886/per year.”

Many families are, “literally one broken arm away for their kids to sending them in to financial hardship.”

It’s a plan that saves the consumer money, improves the overall health of our community, and it saves the state money. There could be more than 10,000 people in Spokane that would qualify for the Basic Health Plan.Cantwell press conference chas 3

 

Welcome to Cheney!

In the lungs of Spokane County sits an underestimated college town with a full-time residential population of around 12,000. During the school year, that number jumps up to a hefty 17,600 as Eastern Washington University brings in students from all over the country and through all walks of life.

Cheney is known for its small town charm that hails from the vast agriculture and rail ties as it sits at the highest point on the railroad between Spokane and Portland. In connection, Benjamin Pierce Cheney, a Boston railroad industrialist who became the director of the Northern Pacific Railroad, was the inspiration for Cheney’s well-known name today.

Although this little town does not seem to thrive as much as it did in the past, it is home to a historic downtown district, an evolved university district, and the occasional Seattle Seahawks practice. With EWU students hard at work by day, the town booms with fluorescent lights by night – awake and in constant celebration.

Through an abundance of agricultural appeal, Cheney boasts community rodeo days and farmers’ markets through the summer season. It’s filled with parks and trails for the outdoorspeople, and the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge – which homes basalt outcrops, canyons, ponderosa pine forests, and some of the last breeding habitats available in the eastern Washington area.

As Eastern Washington University continues to be the largest employer in the city of Cheney, it has grown to offer state of the art facilities with many more remodels underway. The Spokane Transit Authority provides efficient public transportation to, from and around the Cheney area that aids in daily commutes and the ever present “think green” initiative.

Cheney has been home to quit a few notables including: Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson who grew up in Cheney and became an aircraft commander and instructor pilot for the Air Force. With his abundance of medals and honors, he found himself an astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in February of 2003. I trip that gave him purpose, but took his life.

Another notable resident of Cheney was NFL football player Steve Emtman who played for the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. Born in Spokane, Steve then grew up in Cheney and eventually came to be a star athlete. He won both the Outland and the Lombardi Award and was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Although full of injuries, Emtman’s NFL career landed him into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He is also the founder of his company Defender Developments, LLC in which he established the 1,312 unit housing development, Terra Vista, located on the south side of Cheney.

Among others, Cheney has been home to geologists, authors, Olympians and scholars. Currently, it houses sports teams, diverse restaurants, a grocery store, a hotel for travelers, a red football field, 4 dentists and now, with the addition of the new CHAS clinic, 2 medical clinics. Close to the airport and now boasting a beautifully crafted CHAS clinic, Cheney merits a visit or two.

 

Written by: Katiah Peterson

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

Bye-bye colds and flu

Welcome spring and summer! Bye-bye colds and flu. It’s time for spring cleaning and that includes not only your homes but time to make sure you are getting your family’s health in order as well. Dental care is often overlooked or forgotten, but it’s time to get back in for that dental visit if this has slipped your attention. Pediatric and Adult Dental services are available at CHAS. Dental services are important because living in the Spokane area provides many challenges for dental care as our community does not have much, if any, fluoride in our water systems and wells. The current guidelines are for supplemental fluoride for children from 6 months old up to 16 years old. If you have run out of fluoride or forgot to get it at your last medical or dental visit please give us a call so we can make sure we are protecting your children’s teeth as best as possible.

It’s also time to dig out those old immunization records along with that house cleaning and make sure your children are up to date on all of their immunizations for the year. If you are not sure please give us a call so we can help you figure out what may be needed.

With the Sunshine returning to our area it’s time to think about sunburns and protecting our skin and our children from sunburns and potential skin cancer later in life. A light and breathable layer of clothing plus a hat is a great physical barrier, and is a better sun blocker than liquid sun block as it provides the right protection for your infant as well as for any family member. When wearing less than full coverage; a good sun block with both UVA and UVB provides the most protection. The American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends a SPF level of at least 35 for all children, but remember that sun block can wear off with sweat or with water. Remember to reapply sun block as needed to avoid that summer burn.

Also, along with spring cleaning it’s time to find that old book you haven’t read in a while. New books are always nice but search for that old favorite too. Remember to read to your children daily or better yet, have them read to you when old enough. Help them to read their old favorites to continue that love for reading and make sure they have books to read for their Spring and Summer breaks. The library is always a good place to find new favorites and it doesn’t cost you anything. So get out there and read and explore new worlds, you’ll be glad you did.

Daniel Moorman, MD

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