Afghan newcomers arriving to the United States often encounter a new healthcare landscape, marked by distinct protocols and unfamiliar systems. Tasks like filling a prescription, understanding patient rights, or effectively communicating with U.S. healthcare providers can pose unique challenges. The Healthcare Navigation Toolkit stands as a vital resource, tailored to empower individuals to engage confidently with the U.S. healthcare system. The toolkit offers service provider and Afghan community-facing resources in multiple formats with a commitment to inclusive health education and helping newcomers transition into the U.S. healthcare journey.
Video Training for Newcomers
Afghan and Ukrainian new arrivals have a new tool for learning how to navigate the U.S. healthcare system. Our friends at CORE held Facebook Live events in English, Dari and Pashto to aid clients in understanding everything from what to do in an emergency to how to pick up a prescription and more. Clients who missed the live events can now view the videos on-demand.
Commonly Requested Services and Support
This document provides information on accessing basic needs and services for refugees, immigrants, and migrants who may be ineligible or do not qualify for federal benefits. It covers various areas, including medical benefits, medical care, mental health services, dental care, nutrition assistance, and national-level services for domestic violence.
Requesting an Interpreter
This fact sheet, available in English, Dari, and Pashto, explains why professional interpreters are important for receiving good medical care, and how to ask for one. It also explains patient rights, when to ask for an interpreter, and why it is a good idea to avoid having friends and family serve in that role.
Know Your Rights
This fact sheet explains privacy and confidentiality, the right to an interpreter, the right to be treated fairly, and the concept of consent and patient choice. It also covers the things that patients can do to make their healthcare visit go more smoothly, like arriving on time, asking questions, and bringing in medication bottles and paperwork.
Medicaid is the biggest health care program in the country. It’s an important part of the United States health care system and allows for free or low-cost medical care. This fact sheet explains eligibility, coverage, how to apply, and how to find a provider that takes this insurance.
Update: Most Afghans who received humanitarian parole in the US on or after October 1, 2023 are not eligible for ORR or federal mainstream benefits. This includes Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Keep this in mind when sharing this information with clients.
Conversation Guide: Understanding Medicaid
Many Afghan patients and clients are eligible for Medicaid, but it can be difficult to understand. Support them as they navigate this important part of healthcare access with this conversation guide.
Afghan Medical Professionals Association of America (AMPAA) will enroll patients, regardless of whether they have health insurance, to see providers via telehealth. AMPAA will facilitate the appointments, translations, or any gender-specific provider requests to provide comfortable healthcare to the patients.
Prescription Refills and Safety
Clients can use this guide to learn how to read a prescription label and request an interpreter, and it also offers important safety tips like keeping medications away from children, keeping them in the same bottles they come in, and how to call poison control.
Patient Navigators to Support Afghan Newcomers
The importance of public health roles that directly partner with refugee, immigrant, migrant, and newcomer communities to navigate complex health systems was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforced in the welcoming of people from Afghanistan. Linguistically and culturally concordant public health professionals advocate and coordinate across different parts of the health system and/or social services in partnership with communities.
Orienting Afghan Newcomers to Prenatal Care and Delivery in the United States
HealthPoint is a network of non-profit community-based health centers in Washington state that provides care to many communities, including newcomers from Afghanistan. Learn how the CenteringPregnancy model for prenatal care has helped provide health education and social connection for Afghan newcomers adjusting to life in the United States.
Bringing Vaccines Directly to Afghan Communities
The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) in New York state worked to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in local refugee and immigrant communities using a pop-up clinic model that featured community engagement, effective communication, and convenient care. ECDOH partnered with trusted Afghan community health workers to provide accurate health information in Dari, Pashto and English.
Webinar: Assisting Newcomers with Navigating the U.S. Health Care System
This training is geared toward direct service staff, including case workers, medical case workers, case managers, etc., who are interested in an introductory understanding of the different healthcare benefits and coverage options available to their clients. This training is also relevant for community partners and sponsors providing initial resettlement assistance to newcomers.
PDF: Assisting Newcomers with Navigating the U.S. Health System
This guide provides basic information on U.S. healthcare coverage options and health-related benefits available to newcomers, including Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) and Medicaid. It also names key U.S. health services available to newcomers. This guide was created by Switchboard in collaboration with Minnesota Center for Excellence and Newcomer Health and the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants (NRC-RIM).
Resource: Helping Clients Prepare For Initial Medical Appointments
These resources share ideas about how service providers can help prepare newcomer clients for their initial medical appointments. They include what clients need to know, what service providers should remember to review with clients, and how can clients prepare. Read the blog or download the checklist and reference guide to get started.
Settle In is an app, website, and Facebook community that engages Afghan newcomers in an interactive format. Settle In provides a wealth of information on healthcare in the United States, ensuring that clients have the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their well-being.
The below resources offer guidance on navigating the U.S. healthcare system in Dari and Pashto in written and audio formats. Topics covered include the initial healthcare screenings, types of healthcare providers, healthcare rights, and American concepts of health.