The White House this week is thanking the leader of a Seattle-based health organization for her work educating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders about the Affordable Care Act.
Teresita Batayola is chief executive officer of International Community Health Services (ICHS), which has medical and dental clinics in neighborhoods including Seattle’s Chinatown International District and at two schools.
During the recent Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period, ICHS staff helped nearly 6,000 people purchase insurance through the state’s insurance exchange and sign up for Medicaid. In addition to working with patients at their clinics, the staff also held enrollment events out in the community.
More than 146,000 people statewide signed up for insurance through Washington’s exchange, many of whom were eligible for tax breaks that brought down the price of their premiums. More than 423,000 residents joined Medicaid, which is locally called Apple Health. Insurance enrollment will open again in November, and people eligible for free health care through Medicaid can join any time.
Batayola will be recognized Thursday at an event honoring 11 advocates and community leaders as “Champions of Change” because of their efforts to reach out to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The event will include presentations by representatives from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and a panel discussion with the community leaders.
ICHS is the state’s largest non-profit organization offering health and dental services that specifically meet the cultural and linguistic needs of residents from Asian and Pacific Island communities. The organization’s staff are bilingual and offer assistance in Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, Samoan and Vietnamese.
The Champions of Change program is meant to publicly recognize “individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities,” according to a White House press release.