Refugee Medical Screening
Refugees are required to be medically screened overseas to be cleared for admission into the United States. Upon arrival, refugees should also complete a domestic medical screening.
The Refugee Medical Screening (RMS) program provides guidance, technical assistance, and funding for state refugee programs to implement and manage domestic screening.
Two sets of guidance lay the foundation for refugee medical screening:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a series of guidelines to assist clinicians, health professionals, and public health departments in conducting medical screenings. These guidelines are referred to as Guidelines for the U.S. Domestic Medical Examination for Newly Arriving Refugees.
- In 2013, ORR issued the Revised Medical Screening Guidelines for Newly Arriving Refugees (State Letter 12-09) which endorses CDC’s guidelines and establishes a framework for reasonable medical screening reimbursement costs. Additional documents detail the clinical components of the RMS:
ORR’s Domestic Medical Screening Guidelines Checklist and List of Relevant Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Codes by Screening Activity.
The purposes of the medical screening are to
- Follow-up on medical issues identified in the overseas medical screening
- Identify persons with communicable diseases of potential public health significance
- Enable refugees to successfully resettle by identifying health conditions that threaten their well-being
- Refer clients to primary care providers or specialists for ongoing health care
State refugee programs or state-alternative programs, such as Wilson-Fish agencies and Replacement Designees, administer Refugee Medical Screening programs.
Contact your state’s Refugee Health Coordinator to learn more about the Refugee Medical Screening program.