More secrecy in Michigan about TB rates in resettled refugees there
Posted by Ann Corcoran on October 17, 2016
It seems almost every day that Breitbart publishes a new investigative report on Tuberculosis in refugees arriving in the US. I will bet every one of you, before Michael Leahy began his series, believed that we screened TB and other infectious diseases out of the legal immigrant flow to America—not so!
Here is Leahy’s latest on the state becoming the epicenter of growing revelations about carelessness with refugee health screening.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, most county health departments in the state, and the local Michigan offices of refugee resettlement agencies are hiding refugee latent tuberculosis (TB) infection rates from the public.
Michigan’s culture of concealment stands in contrast to how several other states deal with latent TB infection rates among refugees.
As Breitbart News reported, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) does not collect latent TB infection rate data from the county health departments and local resettlement agency providers it hires to conduct initial domestic medical screenings for arriving refugees, nor does it acknowledge its clear legal obligation to do so under the Refugee Act of 1980.
“We do not have that data,” MDHHS spokesperson Bob Wheaton told Breitbart News when asked for data on LTBI infection rates based on the entire population of refugees screened.
MDHHS has hired several county health departments and, in some counties, private refugee health screen services working in cooperation with local resettlement agencies to conduct initial domestic medical screenings of arriving refugees. Under Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and MDHHS guidelines, every refugee who completes such a screening is tested for latent TB infection.
But MDHHS says neither the counties nor the private refugee health screening services share this data with them, and the counties and private refugee health screening services who have the refugee latent TB infection data refuse to make that information public.
In the case of at least one private refugee health screening service, the Arab American and Chaldean Council, which MDHHS has hired to conduct refugee health screenings in Wayne County, Macomb County, and Oakland County, that data is also not being shared with health departments in those counties. Providing that data to local county health departments is a requirement of the Refugee Act of 1980. [Too bad we don’t have a legal foundation devoted solely to bringing lawsuits as the Refugee Act is being violated on a regular basis—ed]
Continue reading here. Embedded are links to TB data from many other states.
See our very extensive Health Issues category with 318 previous posts about refugees, diseases and mental health.