There are 10 voluntary agencies (often referred to as Volags) in the U.S. that operate Reception and Placement Programs under cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State. Six of these national Volags have refugee resettlement affiliates in Arizona. There are four such affiliate agencies in Maricopa County and three in Pima County. Under the cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State, the resettlement agencies provide case management to incoming eligible refugees in the form of assistance with such transitional needs as housing and essential furnishings, food, clothing and pocket money, community orientation and social/employment service referrals. These services link to longer-term services.
A requirement of the resettlement agencies’ cooperative agreement is that the refugee must undergo a medical screening within 30 days of arrival into the United States, or within seven days for Class A cases. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) provides the medical screenings in the Phoenix area and University Physicians Healthcare Inc. (UPH) a private provider in Tucson is contracted with the State to provide the screenings in Pima County. The Pima County Health Department provides follow-up and medical management for any tuberculosis findings for refugees resettling in Tucson.
- Local Voluntary Resettlement Agencies in Arizona
- Maricopa County Department of Public Health
- Pima County Health Department
- University Physicians Healthcare Inc.
According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) State Letter # 95-37, Medical Screening Protocol for Newly Arrived Refugees, the purposes of the screening are to ensure follow-up of Class A and B conditions identified during overseas medical exam, identify persons with communicable diseases of potential public health significance and identify personal health conditions that adversely impact effective resettlement.
The medical screening encounter is the refugee’s introduction to the U.S. health care system and an opportunity for referral to appropriate continuing care.
After one year of residing in the U.S., refugees are eligible to apply for adjustment to Lawful Permanent Resident Status. A requirement of this application is to undergo a medical examination by a civil surgeon designated by the district directors of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.