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White House Honors Community Health Enrollment 'Champions'

Courtesy of International Community Health Services

This week the White House honored community heroes for their work in educating and signing up Asian American and Pacific Island residents for health care.

Teresita Batayola was recognized for her work as head of International Community Health Services, one of the largest nonprofits in Seattle that serves Asian and Pacific Island Americans.

Batayola said helping residents sign up for health care is more complex than filling out forms. Many clients speak limited English, and many more know little about health insurance. The application process can take an hour or two.

At the White House event Batayola shared ICHS’s experience in enrolling patients. She said having information available in multiple languages could help community efforts.

“The big thing that we would really advocate for is for our state exchange to add other languages beyond English and Spanish,” Batayola said. “It would help that much more for our own state infrastructure to get broader, in terms of accessibility to everyone else.”

The White House estimates that about 2 million Asian Americans are uninsured. Many lack access to medical care and preventive health screenings.

Batayola was one of 11 community leaders honored with the Champion of Change award. The event was also an opportunity to share strategies in preparation for the next enrollment period.

Year started with KUOW: 1994