Improving Healthcare Access for Refugees in Atlanta
The IRC in Atlanta has been awarded a $200,000 grant to promote improved access to healthcare services for refugees in metro Atlanta. The federal grant, from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, will fund this important initiative for 17 months.
The goal of program is to integrate refugees rapidly and successfully into healthcare systems in Georgia and ensure they have full access to the care they require. Refugees arrive to the US with a variety of healthcare needs, ranging from basic preventive care from primary care doctors and pediatricians, to specialist care. In a growing number of cases, some member of the family is living with a disability. Navigating the healthcare system to schedule appointments while covered under public or private insurance can be a daunting task for anyone, more so for someone new to the US culture and system.
IRC’s Healthcare Access program will provide refugees in need of physical and mental healthcare services, including extended medical and disability case management, medical interpretation services and education to improve their awareness of critical health access issues affecting them in their new community. Through this grant, IRC will offer one-on-one counseling and orientations to the healthcare system. In addition, it will offer a variety of health education classes to groups, covering a wide range of topics, such as nutrition, diabetes, and reproductive health.
The services offered will directly improve the refugees’ ability to receive appropriate care, understand their treatment and the systems that deliver those treatments.
In addition, the grant will enable IRC Atlanta will conduct outreach to Atlanta area doctors and clinics in order to raise awareness of refugee healthcare access issues, such as cultural health practices and views on the use of prescription drugs. Through individual visits to healthcare providers, IRC will gather information on how doctors and clinics manage their language and interpretation needs and provide them with information on how to make best use language lines and certified interpreters. In order to strengthen the local capacity to serve refugees, IRC will train 30 bilingual refugees to be certified medical interpreters.
Through this holistic approach, IRC Atlanta’s Healthcare Access Program will increase the ability of refugee families to receive healthcare services that are vital to their well being, community integration and employment prospects, as well as the capacity of the regional healthcare provider community to meet these needs.