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Connecting King County residents to health insurance

On April 7, International Community Health Services (ICHS) staff members Kathy Bohn, Sam Lam, and Thao Truong were recognized by Public Health King County for their leading efforts connecting local residents to their health insurance options. Bohn, Lam and Truong were honored for helping the highest numbers of individuals enroll in qualified health plans during Washington state’s open enrollment period ending January 2017.
Understanding insurance and how to pay for health care is confusing for many people. ICHS’ Navigators help individuals and families through the application and enrollment process, and are frequently a vital link to affordable health care for those who need cultural, language or other support.

Join ICHS for National Minority Health Month

This April, join ICHS in a campaign of awareness and advocacy for National Minority Health Month. The theme for 2017, Bridging Health Equity Across Communities, emphasizes collaborative, community-level work to achieve health equity.

America is a land of equal opportunity, but the health of our people is not always equally met. Who you are. Where you work. Learn. Live. Play. Pray. All contribute greatly to your chance of contracting disease, managing a preexisting health condition and how long you will ultimately live. In particular, refugee and immigrant communities often face cultural or language barriers that make it hard to make appointments, see a provider or understand insurance or health benefits. Here in King County, as rising prosperity has left many in our minority and economically vulnerable communities behind, people face barriers resulting from rising housing costs, and the challenge of accessibility and reliable transportation. Others might go hungry or without good nutrition.

The good news is, these gaps don’t have to exist. We can take action to address them.

ICHS has long been a champion of overcoming environmental, economic and cultural barriers to health care. We place our staff and providers, programs and resources, right in the neighborhoods where our patients live. Our staff, providers and interpreters speak more than 50 languages. We respect all people. We turn no one away. We partner with like-minded community leaders and organizations to create an important health and human services safety net that is on the front line of creating equal access to health care. This is what we live and breathe, each and every day.

ICHS’ full-service medical and dental care clinics in: Chinatown-International District in Seattle, South Seattle, Bellevue, and Shoreline are where we:

  • Served nearly 29,000 patients in 2016; while innovative programs such as the ICHS Mobile Dental Clinic further reduce transportation barriers
  • Consistently increase capacity and services as need grows. For example, ICHS opened two new ICHS clinics in 2014 and tripled dental service capacity since 2010
  • Have successfully increased enrollment in medical insurance. Just 11% of our total patient population in 2016 was uninsured
  • Provide ongoing work with other community organizations and leaders to expand our reach and impact; and identify future unmet needs, such as our growing age 65 and older population

We invite you to join us – during the month of April, and every month thereafter – in working to create health equity for: Healthy People. Stronger Families. Vibrant Communities.

UW honors ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola as a WOMAN of COURAGE

On April 1, International Community Health Services’ (ICHS) CEO, well-known health center movement leader Teresita Batayola, was honored at the University of Washington Women’s Center’s WOMEN of COURAGE: Undaunted gala. Batayola was named a WOMAN of COURAGE for her achievements bringing equity and diversity to local and global communities.

Each year, the UW Women’s Center gala recognizes men and women who are helping shape a better future.

“It’s hard to find a more passionate and effective advocate for ICHS and the community’s needs than Teresita,” said Hiroshi Nakano, director of Value Based Care at Valley Medical Center and a member of ICHS’ Board of Directors. “There are those that can tell you what is needed, but Teresita is among a select few with the leadership ability to mobilize an organization, the community and broader stakeholder groups into demonstrable results towards equity.”

Batayola has led ICHS since 2005. She has brought her vision and leadership as a prominent national advocate of affordable health care and health equity, and in particular, of work to improve the health outcomes of minority populations. She is a past president of the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers and serves on the boards of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the Community Health Plan, Community Health Network and the Community Clinic Contracting Network. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Batayola to the Healthier Washington Health Innovation Leadership Network and to the Seattle College District Board of Trustees.