The Minnesota Initial Refugee Health Assessment Quick Guide
On this page:
Purpose of Assessment
Components of the Minnesota Initial Refugee Health Assessment
Voluntary Resettlement Agencies (VOLAGs)
Full Provider Guide Chapter: Initial Refugee Health Assessment
- In Minnesota, the Minnesota Initial Refugee Health Assessment exam fulfills the requirements for the Domestic Refugee Health Assessment. This exam differs significantly from the medical examination completed overseas in both its purpose and scope. The overseas examination is intended to identify medical conditions which will exclude a person from coming to the U.S. The domestic refugee health assessment is designed to reduce health-related barriers to successful resettlement, while protecting the health of Minnesota residents and the U.S. population.
- The overseas examination is valid for up to a year, if there are no Class A or Class B TB conditions, so there is potential for a lengthy lag period between medical clearance and arrival in Minnesota. The possibility exists for an individual to develop medical conditions, such as active tuberculosis, after the overseas exam, which may remain undetected until the Minnesota Initial Refugee Health Assessment is administered.
- Obtaining the results of this health assessment on new refugees is crucial to the development of appropriate public health responses to health issues. For example, when the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) determined that a large number of Somali refugees were arriving with positive TST results, the MDH Tuberculosis Program sought and obtained funding to create a video about TB in Somali.
- Every state that resettles refugees designs the parameters for its state refugee health examination. The components of the examination in Minnesota, based upon the recommendations of the Immigrant and Nationality Act of 1980, include:
- Immunization assessment and update
- Tuberculosis screening
- Hepatitis B screening and vaccination
- Intestinal parasites screening
- Sexually transmitted diseases screening
- Malaria screening, if history or symptoms warrant
- Lead screening for children age 17 years and younger
- Any board-certified health care provider in Minnesota can perform this examination and document findings on the Minnesota Initial Refugee Health Assessment form (PDF:183KB/4 pages). When completed, this form should be returned to the local county public health department. Other states will have their own process for documenting findings.
- Providers must be aware of the fact that this domestic examination is a refugee’s first experience with the United States health care system. This is an opportunity for the provider and refugee to build a trusting relationship.
- When performing a history and physical exam on refugees, providers should be considerate of the refugees’ cultural and religious beliefs and accommodate them as much as possible.
- Several methods of reimbursement are available to refugees and providers to cover the cost of the initial assessment, including: straight medical assistance, pre-paid medical assistance, or flat fee reimbursement. Methods of reimbursement vary by state.
- These agencies deliver refugee reception and placement services; working with newly arrive refugees on issues such as health service referrals, employment, English-language training and housing.
- Find more detailed information in the Minnesota Refugee Health Provider Guide: Initial Refugee Health Assessment chapter along with appendices and additional resources.