Refugee Preventive Health Program: Overview
The Refugee Health Program (RHP) is one part of a comprehensive Refugee Resettlement Program administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) | Bureau of Community Health Systems in cooperation with Kansas Department for Children and Families.
When refugees arrive in the U.S., they pass through the U.S. Public Health Services Quarantine State at their port of entry. There the overseas medical records are inspected and individuals are visually inspected for apparent illness. Documents of the refugees settlement information and medical records are sent to the State Refugee Health program and/or local health department.
In order to assure effective resettlement of new refugees, the voluntary resettlement agencies or local sponsors are requested to notify the local county health department and arrange an appointment for a health screening within the first two weeks of arrival. The local public health department will receive notification from the State refugee health coordinator or the USPHS quarantine station of the impending arrival of the refugee(s). If the local sponsor or refugee has not contacted the local health department with in two weeks from the expected date of arrival, a follow-up call or contact with the local sponsor is recommended. Expedient screening appointments are recommended for all refugees but those with health conditions that require immediate evaluation. Initial health assessments are accessible to all arriving refugees in any of the 105 Kansas counties through the local county health departments and provide complete health assessments through the county health department system with increased emphasis on follow-up and management of abnormal health findings. The purposes of the health screening are as follows:
- to ensure follow-up evaluation, treatment and referral of conditions identified during the medical examination.
- to identify persons with communicable diseases of potential public health importance.
- to identify personal health conditions that adversely impact on effective resettlement and personal well-being (e.g., job placement, language, training, or attending school, etc.).
The services are funded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA), Medicaid, and if appropriate, State grant funds. The program coordinates with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in collaboration with the Office of Refugee Health (ORH), the Division of Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation, State Refugee Coordinator.