International Community Health Services (ICHS), which helps low-income and uninsured people in Seattle, especially in the Asian Pacific Islander community, could see 80 percent more medically uninsured patients and an approximate $800,000 budget shortfall next year if Basic Health cuts unveiled by Gov. Chris Gregoire become law.
ICHS is calling upon state lawmakers to protect Basic Health, which is a state safety net that provides medical insurance to low-income people not eligible for Medicaid. ICHS also backs state support for multilingual interpretation for patients and other health services.
“The Basic Health cuts would halt access for thousands of patients at ICHS and add greater financial stress to our clinics in the International District and Holly Park,” Teresita Batayola, CEO of ICHS, said. “Our patients, services, and mission will be put at risk.”
As of Sept. 30, 2011, ICHS had 2,284 patients who are Basic Health enrollees. If Basic Health is eliminated in January 2012, ICHS would see a projected shortfall of about $800,000. This takes into account projected revenue for 2012.
If Basic Health dollars from Olympia are cut, these 2,284 people would become uninsured “self-pay” patients. As a federally qualified health care center, ICHS does not decline services to people.
In the year-to-date period for 2011, 30 percent of medical and dental patients at ICHS are uninsured. In 2010, about 20 percent of ICHS patients were medically uninsured and 16 percent were Basic Health enrollees. The rate difference for the medically uninsured, from 20 percent to 36 percent, is 80 percent.
The $2 billion in proposed cuts that Gregoire announced last month include $48.1 million for 35,000 low-income people statewide for Basic Health and $4.8 million for medical interpretation services for Medicaid recipients who are limited English speakers. (end)
For more information, visit www.ichs.com.