International Community Health Services (ICHS), which operates medical-dental clinics in the International District and at Holly Park, will close its clinics one day a month because of significant cuts in state funding.
“Sadly, the state cuts during the last legislative session have forced ICHS to reduce its operations and services,” said ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola. “We’ve already gone through several rounds of cutbacks, and we didn’t feel we could absorb another round of employee layoffs. We’re disheartened that these cuts have reached the point where they are impacting the accessibility of our services to our patients.”
Last year, ICHS served more than 18,600 patients at its two clinic sites, principally low-income non-English-speaking Asian and Pacific Islanders and others who lack access to affordable health care. ICHS provides interpretation in more than 50 languages. In recent years, the number of patient visits has dramatically increased because of the recession. At the same time, the level of public support has diminished, hampering the ability of ICHS to fully meet the needs of the state’s most vulnerable populations.
ICHS began its one day a month closures on Monday, July 25. The next closure dates for 2011 will be Wednesday, Aug. 31, Tuesday, Sept. 27, Thursday, Oct. 27, Friday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Dec. 24.
Typically, the ICHS medical clinic is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The dental hours are Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
According to Batayola, the closure dates were selected to fall on different days of the week to minimize the impact on employees and patients. The closures will continue indefinitely until further notice. ♦