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CHC earns Patient-Centered Medical Home certification

Community Health Center of Snohomish County (CHC) has achieved Patient-Centered Medical Home certification by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. Certification distinguishes this medical home from many other outpatient facilities by providing the highest quality of care to its patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation. We have met nationally recognized standards for the provision of quality health care set by AAAHC.“At CHC we believe in practicing patient-centered care, where our team of health care professionals work with our patients to build relationships based on their health care needs. I like to say that being a patient-centered medical home is similar to being in fire protection. We would rather work on fire prevention than be called upon to fight the fire once it has already started. To do this, you need to focus on the whole person and not just the one issue they may be presenting with. It really is a new concept in healthcare.” said Tove Skaftun, Chief Nursing Officer.CHC team members work with the patient and their families to accomplish goals aimed at improving patient’s health. Plans encourage patient participation and are developed “to meet the patient where they are at, at that moment,” said Jessica Ro, Communications Manager at Community Health Center, in an email. Addressing the whole person, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is the foundation for which PCMH is designed and it just makes sense.Ambulatory health care organizations seeking certification by AAAHC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by AAAHC expert surveyors – physicians, nurses, and administrators who are actively involved in ambulatory health care. The survey is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help an organization improve its care and services. It took two years for Community Health Center to get the accreditation.“Going through the process challenged us to find better ways to serve our patients, and it is a constant reminder that our responsibility is to strive to continuously improve the quality of care we provide.” said Bob Farrell, Chief Executive Officer.We wanted to implement a health care model that was designed to improve the overall health of the patients that we serve, Ro said in an email. Often times people see community health as the place of last resort. A place where you receive substandard care until you can get insurance and see a “REAL doctor”. This just isn’t who we are. Our patients deserve care that is as good as, if not better than, some of the leading healthcare organizations in the country. Our patients come from all across the globe and the bottom line is that they deserve not only our respect, but the best that we can offer. Being a Patient Centered Medical Home helps us deliver care that we are proud of and that our patients deserve.Community Health Center of Snohomish County is a nonprofit, Federally Qualified Community Health Center providing medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health and nutrition care to over 54,488 individuals with 202,132 visits in 2017. For over 35 years, CHC has provided services to Snohomish County residents who face barriers to health care with the mission to provide our diverse community with access to high quality, affordable primary health care. CHC operates seven medical primary care clinics, two medical walk-in clinics, five dental clinics and five pharmacies and are located in Arlington, Edmonds, North Everett, Central Everett, South Everett and Lynnwood. For information or to schedule an appointment, call 425-789-3700.

More Snohomish County health professionals ready to offer opioid drug treatment

EVERETT, Wash. – After Governor Jay Inslee unveiled his plans to battle the opioid crisis, dozens of medical professionals in Snohomish County are now ready to help on the front lines by making it easier for opioid sufferers to get the help they need.They have completed training to prescribe a controversial drug designed to help addicts overcome the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that often stop them from getting clean.“It does not play favorites,” said Dr. Tom Tocher. “It picks any age, gender; it doesn’t discriminate.”Tocher, from Community Health Center of Snohomish County, began helping people fight their addictions back in 2003.  He was one of the first physicians in Western Washington to use Suboxone and/or Vivitrol to help opioid users going through withdrawal and cravings. And today, he says, the need for therapy is greater than ever.“There’s bound to be somebody in your life that you’re connected to,” he said, “you may just not know it.”In 2017 Tocher says Snohomish County saw on average eight overdoses every day, and 100 were fatal throughout the entire year.Now in 2018, Tocher says 40 doctors, nurses and other professionals at seven Community Health Centers in Arlington, Everett, Lynnwood and Edmonds are approved to offer the therapy.Tocher says patients who qualify can begin treatment quickly and it’s only a normal visit with a doctor – which could help break the stigma of treatment."You can live a normal life and be on these therapies and people don’t have to know, it’s just like going to a regular doctor’s visit," he said.But not everybody will qualify, says Tocher. Patients have to be ready to make a change and know that the first time may not be the magic bullet for everyone.For now, his colleagues at the non-profit clinics can handle 1,200 patients this year –and as many as 4,000 during the next cycle. But with more than 50,000 people Tocher believes to be abusing opioids in Snohomish County, the need for therapy still outpaces the availability.“This is not a magic bullet but it’s a tool in our toolbox and we should be using more of it,” he said.

Primary care doctors train to take on opioid addiction

EVERETT — Dr. Tom Tocher wants primary care physicians to play a bigger role in opioid addiction treatment.Last summer, about 40 health care providers at Community Health Center of Snohomish County completed training to prescribe Suboxone, a medication that alleviates opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings.The trainees included every doctor who sees adult patients at CHC’s seven clinics, said Tocher, chief clinical director of the nonprofit.“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” he said.People shouldn’t have to go out of their way to get treatment for opioid addiction, he said. Equipping primary care physicians with the ability to prescribe Suboxone gives patients more comfort, convenience and privacy.“It’s just like a regular doctor’s visit and nobody needs to know,” Tocher said.Snohomish County is in the middle of a crisis. In the past decade, hundreds of people have died from overdoses caused by opioids, a category that includes heroin and fentanyl as well as common painkillers, according to the Snohomish Health District.Tocher said he was one of the first doctors in the state to start prescribing Suboxone, back in 2003. Because of the scarcity of providers at the time, he said, he had patients show up to his office from as far as Seattle and Lynden.He’s been on the Suboxone bandwagon ever since. Throughout the years, he has seen people’s lives perform 180-degree turns as a result of the medication, he said.Want stories? “How much time do you have?” he asked.An Army veteran got addicted to opiates after he injured discs in his neck and back. He said his life went into ruins. Then he started Suboxone treatment and things got better. He went from living in his mother’s basement to managing a grocery store.One woman Tocher saw was swiping buprenorphine, the generic version of Suboxone, from a friend because she was scared to see a doctor for her addiction. Tocher said he got her on a prescription and she has led a more stable life.He wants everyone to know they can get help.So far, CHC is prescribing Suboxone to about 190 patients. That should ramp up, Tocher said, especially when doctors transition from their first year, when they can only see 30 patients, to seeing up to 100 patients in their second year. Those caps are set by federal laws.He said he wanted to give his doctors a gradual start, but that he expects them to eventually take on a full load of patients. That means the nonprofit could see a total of 4,000 patients after the first year.Still, Tocher said, CHC can only do so much by itself. If everyone suffering from addiction in the county is going to get treatment, more doctors will need to sign up, he said.The training isn’t hard. It’s eight hours for doctors, and 24 hours for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.But there’s still stigma in the medical community about treating addiction with medications like Suboxone or methadone, Tocher said. Some doctors tell him that it’s just replacing one drug with another.He hopes that perspective changes and that more providers see addiction like any other disease. Doctors wouldn’t deny insulin to someone with diabetes, he said.“We don’t apply these kinds of judgments to other ailments people have,” he said.Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan Twitter:@zachariahtb.

CHC of Snohomish County Offers Opioid Addiction Treatment

The Nation is in an opioid epidemic. In 2017, 72,000 people in the US died from drug overdoses. Of those, 49,060 were from opioids - up from the previous year. Snohomish County is seeing some of the worst of it, being second only to King County in Washington State with 100 opioid overdose deaths in 2017. This is a problem for our community, but there's help.Community Health Center of Snohomish County provides opioid addiction treatment to adults who are addicted to opiates and meet admission criteria. To learn more about Community Health Center's Medically Assisted Treatment Program, or M-A-T Program, The Everett Post's Tavis Buchan spoke with CHC's Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Tom Tocher.Listen to the conversation here, and find more resources below...Addiction is a serious matter. If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction, learn more about what CHC has to offer at any of their 7 locations in Snohomish County at or call 425-789-3789.

Better access to oral health needed for all

By Sue Yoon and Rachel Greene Low-income families, particularly kids, are lacking dental care and the well-being it provides. Middle school was when Anna, a patient, said she first became aware that others noticed her poor oral health. But it wasn’t the last time she said that she felt deeply ashamed about the condition of […]

CHC on KOMO4 News

Community Health Center of Snohomish County’s CEO, Bob Farrell, at Edmonds Clinic, was on KOMO4 News November 9th reminding the community that CHC is open to all and that our priority is to serve you with access to quality primary health care.

New Everett-College Clinic opens November 13th!

We’re very excited to announce that we will be opening a new location in Everett on November 13th! As of November 6th, ownership of Providence Everett Clinic will be transferred to Community Health Center of Snohomish County. Our grand opening will be on the 13th to see patients and we’re happy to say that current […]

Change in our Electronic Health Record System

ContentsCHC has made a change to its Electronic Health Record system. This means a few things will look different and we ask for your patience and understanding as we learn the new system to better serve you.– Patient Portal:– Medical Statements:– Medical service payments: CHC has made a change to its Electronic Health Record system. […]

NWRPCA’s Northwest Pulse: Spotlight on Operations Staff – Mallory Lisk

With the mission of Community Health Center of Snohomish County to provide our diverse community with access to high quality, affordable primary health care, we are also aware that everyone’s health needs are not met through traditional modes of care delivery, which necessitates the need for us to connect with our patients and find out […]

U.S Congressman Rick Larsen visits Everett-North Clinic

We were honored to have Congressman Rick Larsen visit our Everett-North Clinic last month. His visit was to discuss and appreciate the great efforts Community Health Center of Snohomish County provides our community with our Immunization and Vaccines program. With August being National Immunization Awareness Month and back to school and the flu season just […]