Event helps Asian and Pacific Islanders enroll in health care

The Richmond Memorial Convention Center was the site recently of a health care enrollment event directed at Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities are some of the least represented in healthcare enrollment, yet represent about 12 to 13 percent of the population in West Contra Costa County, said Sean Kirkpatrick, Co-Interim Executive Director of Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA). But because they are divided by many different languages and cultures, it can be difficult for them to be reached by government services.

The event provided education, pre-enrollment screening, enrollment and was presented in 17 different API languages and dialects including Nepalese, Tagalog, Tongan, Mien, Korean, Cantonese, Burmese, Thai, Mandarin, Lao, Hindi, Khmu, Punjabi, Samoan, Tibetan, Vietnamese and Urdu.

“Individually these communities are very small, so it’s really hard to do the advocacy,” Kirkpatrick said. “But together, they represent a significant portion of the county’s population. And we feel like sometimes all boats rise when you do the advocacy and do the outreach together.”

The enrollment period for Covered California, which began November 15, lasts until Feb. 15, 2015.

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