Establishing Primary Care

What: The Health Screening exam done at the County Public Health Department covers basic immunization, but it is not a thorough physical exam that will identify major health needs. Therefore, refugees need to establish primary care. Once primary care is established, an appointment for a physical exam is made. The Physical Exam helps find undiagnosed problems and also focus on less urgent, but still important, health needs.

Where: The Physical Exam takes place at various health clinics, depending on the client’s listed provider usually through Apple Health.

When: The wait for an appointment can be over one to two months; it happens as soon as we can get an appointment.  If more urgent medical needs exist they can go to an Urgent Care and in case of emergencies the ER at a hospital.

Duration: The exam usually takes 1-2 hours.

What to Bring: Provider One Insurance card; ID (state ID; I-94 & employment verification ID; or passport if they have one);  any medicines/medicine bottles they have (even if they are not taking the medicine currently); any medical records, x-rays, or immunization records; any referrals. (most of this information is in their White Plastic IOM bag that they arrive with.

How to Help: Please arrive at least 30 minutes before the appointment. If interpretation is needed, many community Health Centers have access to a language line; the client or volunteer can request to use this line. If the Health Center does not provide a language line, an interpreter (generally another refugee that the client knows who also speaks English) should accompany them. If you need help securing an interpreter, contact World Relief.  If the refugee would like assistance, the volunteers can help the refugees navigate through the appointment (checking in, using the hand sanitizer, etc.), and the volunteer can help them learn how to do it themselves next time. Many clients don’t know that they can and should ask any questions or express any health concerns at this time.  If the refugee would like them to, the volunteer may remain with the refugee for the start of the appointment and let the doctor know of any health concerns that you are aware of, and encourage refugee partner to ask any questions. Volunteer should then wait in the waiting room.

Inform World Relief:  If the refugee is still receiving case management from World Relief, the volunteer should inform the caseworker of the completion of the appointment.