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Refugee Health

Health Professionals Serving Refugees - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What do I need to know about the refugee resettlement system?

When a refugee patient visits, be sure to ask the patient if he or she currently has a case manager and a resettlement agency. The local voluntary resettlement agencies assign a case manager to each refugee arrival. Caseloads for the case managers are significant, but they can be the best source of information, especially within the first 90 days of arrival.

When contacting the case manager it is especially helpful if you provide the patient's name, date of birth and RMAP ID number (which is the same as their alien number) so that you can obtain any forwarding information on the patient.

What is the scope of the refugee domestic preventive health screenings?

Both contracted clinics in Arizona apply the current CDC guidelines to their screenings. The intent of this exam is to determine if the refugee has any communicable diseases.

The domestic preventive health screening consists of:

  • Patient Medical History
  • Physical Exam
  • Brief Mental Health Assessment
  • Tuberculosis Screen and Chest X-ray
  • Laboratory Testing for:
    • Hepatitis B/Hepatic Function
    • HIV
    • Lead (16 years and younger)
    • Sexually Transmitted Infections (12 years and older) Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis
    • Anemia/Eosinophilia
    • Parasites
    • Malaria
    • Hansen's Disease
  • Immunizations

Click here for more information about the refugee domestic preventive health screening

How is the Tuberculosis testing conducted?

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health is currently using the T-SPOT test and the U of A Medical Center has currently chosen the QuantiFERON®-TB Gold test (QFT-G). Please consult the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) document Updated Guidelines for Using Interferon Gamma Release Assays to Detect Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Infection - United States 2010 for more information about the use and application of these tests.

Both clinics are continuing to conduct chest X-rays and sputum tests as needed with clients to rule out active tuberculosis.

TB Clinic contact information:

Maricopa County

Maricopa County Department of Public Health
Tuberculosis Clinic
602 506-8282
602-506-1970 – Fax

Pima County

Pima County Health Department
Tuberculosis Clinic
520-243-8450
520-243-8465 – Fax

How can I obtain medical records for my patient from their domestic health screening exam?

Medical records from the patient's domestic health screening are available at the following:

Maricopa County

Maricopa County Department of Public Health
Medical Records Office
1645 E. Roosevelt
Phoenix, AZ 85006
602-506-6018
602-506-5079 – Fax

Pima County

University of Arizona Medical Center South Campus
Refugee Clinic
2800 E. Ajo Way
Tucson, AZ 85713
520-694-2919

What if I have a patient who has not received a domestic preventive health screening yet?

The intent of the refugee domestic preventive health screening is to rule out any communicable diseases. The role of the screening clinics is not to serve as the refugee's primary care provider. Therefore, if other health conditions are known to be present, or arise shortly after arrival, your practice or facility may see the patient prior to their screening. Each refugee carries their own overseas medical records during transit. If the appointment is made in advance, ask the patient to bring their "IOM" bag and any immunization records.

It is very common for a newly arrived refugee to not remember the name or address of the first health professional that they see after arrival. A simple way to enhance communication between your practice or facility and the screening clinic is to give the refugee a business card during or after the first visit and encourage them to carry it with them. When the refugee arrives at the screening clinic for the preventive health screening, the clinic can ask for the card and will know who their PCP or health provider is and can work with your office for any follow-up care or exam findings.

Why do I need an interpreter?

According to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, "No person in the United States shall, on ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

For more information, please see:

How do I incorporate interpretation and translation into my work?

What do I need to know about the translation of documents?

Where can I learn more about cultural competency standards?

Please refer to the National CLAS Standards (National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care), developed by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

Where can I learn more about various cultures?

Learning more about a culture's history and background can help develop an appreciation and understanding of diverse refugee populations. However, it is important not to generalize about the characteristics, preferences or attitudes of various cultures.

Where can I get more information regarding the medical requirements for a refugee to adjust their status?

After residing in the United States for one year, refugees are eligible to apply for an adjustment of status to that of a legal permanent resident. Part of this application process to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the completion of an I-693 medical form.

If the refugee has already had a medical exam upon admission as a refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, they generally do not need to repeat the entire medical exam. For those that have a Class A or B condition identified during their initial exam, the form must be completed by a civil surgeon.

For all other refugee applicants applying for an adjustment of status under Section 209 of the Immigration and Nationality Act the "vaccination sign-off" portion can be completed by an attending physician of a local health department that is voluntarily participating in the Headquarters Office of Adjudications blanket civil surgeon designation.

For more information, please see: