Three outstanding ICHS enrollment navigators awarded by King County Public Health
In an award ceremony on April 7, three International Community Health Services (ICHS) enrollment navigators were awarded by the Public Health — Seattle & King County ‘King County Navigator Network.’ These outstanding public health professionals are a part of ICHS’ multilingual team of enrollment navigators, who offer long-term, phone and in-person assistance to our diverse immigrant and refugee community members as they navigate health insurance enrollment.
Enrollment navigators at ICHS are unique not only in their long term partnerships with the community, but also in their language ability. Navigators speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Spanish, Amharic, and more, enabling them to reach communities in the language they are most comfortable in.
“Health insurance is very complicated,” said Sharissa Tjok community access manager at ICHS. “Having someone that actually speaks your language, who is an expert and that you trust can help you to navigate this process is a key point. There are many navigators out there, but people are willing to wait in line to get the navigator that they trust to enroll them into health insurance.”
The annual award ceremony was hosted by King County Public Health, in recognition of navigators with outstanding enrollment. Three ICHS enrollment navigators were rewarded:
- Kathy Bohn, who enrolled 241 people into Apple Health and 643 people into a Qualified Health Plan. Bohn has been with ICHS since 2014.
- Puiyee (Nicole) Choi, who enrolled 288 people into a Qualified Health Plan. Choi has been with ICHS since 2021.
- Bang-Tam Nguyen, who enrolled 234 people into a Qualified Health Plan. Nguyen has been with ICHS since 2013.
The awards were well deserved, Tjok said that each of these navigators has demonstrated exemplary performance, especially as the years since the pandemic began have been particularly challenging.
“It's recognition of the hard work they did. It’s been a very challenging few years, during COVID,” Tjok said. “Our team has been tremendously helping community members … a lot of community members changed income or lost their job or were furloughed [in the pandemic], and they don't know what to do, so they come to us.”
While usually enrollment navigators have worked primarily during the open enrollment period at the end of year, from November 1 through December 15, special programs have allowed people to enroll year round since the pandemic began. This means that the enrollment navigators have been working nonstop, gaining impressive numbers.
At the same time, they have had to deal with different barriers and challenges for patients and learned to work over the phone in addition to in-person. Still, as reflected by this year’s awards, they have managed to produce incredible results and make a true difference to the community.
“Our role [is] not only to be able to understand [community members], but to help them to understand, to help them navigate barriers, and to build trust,” Tjok said. “We're still able to assist a lot of our patients, and I'm able to see that the community trusts us, and that's something very meaningful.”