Some states are pretty secretive about refugee health data—Tennessee is one of them
Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 28, 2016
Michael Patrick Leahy (Breitbart) continues his series on Tuberculosis and other communicable diseases entering the US with the refugee population with this news from Tennessee.
Citizens of the Volunteer State are not given information about the health status of their new ‘refugee’ neighbors.
We have a tendency to focus on the Islamic terrorism angle with refugees and migrants to the US generally, but in addition to the cost to the taxpayer is this oft-forgotten worry about refugees—-we are very lax about refugee health.
However, if you are a different sort of legal immigrant or adopting kids from abroad, you know how rigorous that health screening is and how many immunizations must be given abroad or immediately upon arrival.
Not so with refugees as we are learning from Leahy’s investigative work.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee—Both the Tennessee Department of Health and the VOLAG (voluntary agency) that administers the refugee resettlement program in the Volunteer State, Catholic Charities of Tennessee’s Tennessee Office for Refugees, are failing to make public critical information on refugee tuberculosis (TB) health care.
Breitbart News asked the two organizations to provide the following refugee TB healthcare data, which several other states make public on an annual basis, but neither provided it:
• The percentage of refugees who successfully completed medical screenings within 90 days of their arrival, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
• The percentage of refugees who tested positive for Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI).
• The percentage of refugees who tested positive for LTBI who completed medical treatment.
• The number of refugees who were diagnosed with active TB upon their arrival in Tennessee.
Tennessee is one of fourteen states that have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement. In those states, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has selected a VOLAG to run the refugee resettlement operations under the statutorily questionable Wilson Fish alternative program.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed a resolution in April to sue the federal government for its operation of the refugee resettlement program on Tenth Amendment grounds. In May, Gov. Haslam chose not to veto the resolution, so a lawsuit is in the works, though Tennessee’s embattled Attorney General Herbert Slatery could raise an objection impacting the Tennessee General Assembly’s standing.
At least seven states that are not part of the Wilson Fish alternative program, California, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Indiana, and Florida, regularly report on the health data, tuberculosis and otherwise, of refugees resettled in their states.
Go here for more of this very thorough report.
All of you working in ‘pockets of resistance’ should start checking whether your state collects refugee health data. There are several diseases and parasites the come in with refugees in addition to TB.
We have 297 previous posts on refugee and immigrant health issues archived at RRW.
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