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Ensuring the Right Case Management Process for Immigrant Patients

Immigrants from around the world require culturally responsive evaluation and treatment planning for their medical needs. However, factors like the language barrier, poor health insurance policies, and immigration status are frequently not taken into account. The answer to incorporating the best medical repatriation practices for immigration lies in efficient case management process in social work and medical care.


Health of Immigrants

Immigrants are faced with many barriers when entering the United States, and healthcare is one of those barriers. Before legal immigrants and refugees come to the US, they must undergo a health screening. This prevents a higher risk of infection and reduces the burden on local health systems. Many immigrants who enter the country illegally aren’t informed enough to seek proper health care. There are many reasons why these immigrants don’t seek health care, including fear of law enforcement or unfamiliarity with the English language. As a result, health worsens over time and so does the fear of getting deported. According to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), hospitals are required to provide treatment to every patient with a medical emergency. Although some hospitals do offer healthcare services to immigrants, there is an upward trend seen in medical deportations.


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Factors for Medical Case Management of Immigrants

Out of all the essential components to case management, hospitals are the most important as they play a significant role in providing care to all people who seek it. Another crucial factor in case management is psychology. Ensuring the emotional well-being of an undocumented person goes a long way for their well-being. There is no cookie-cutter approach to conducting health assessments on immigrants. Each person is unique and requires an individual approach to their care.

The Case Management Society of America released the Standards of Practice for Case Management (CMSA, 2016) which includes a Standard for Cultural Competency. This standard states that a case manager should recognize the diversity surrounding his or her workplace regarding language or culture of a specific patient or caregiver. To further demonstrate this competency there are a few guidelines to follow.


Engage with Immigrant Patients

The first meeting with a patient is imperative. A case manager should focus on establishing confidence in the treatment system and building a rapport, before rushing in with the questionnaire.


Familiarize Immigrants with the Medical Treatment Processes

Through the use of a communication framework called LEARN, providers can overcome the communication and cultural barriers that come along with immigrant patients. Each letter stands for something different.

  • Listen to Patient
  • Explain the Process
  • Acknowledge Concerns
  • Recommend Action
  • Negotiate a Plan



Case managers should be communicating in an appropriate, considerate, and sensitive manner while also being aware of the patient’s cultural and language requirements.



Accommodation Throughout Case Management Plan

The plan of care involves development, assessments, and goals. Each of these should take into account a clients needs based on their culture, immigration history, and identify the strengths of the immigrant’s community and their beliefs about health, healing, seeking help, etc. and integrate relevant information in the treatment process.


Gather Relevant Collateral Information

Many times, families of immigrants tend to play a more significant and influential role in the immigrant’s participation in treatment and can be a vital source of relevant information. Therefore, the counselor should engage the family of the immigrant earlier in the treatment process.


Select Appropriate Screening and Assessment Tools

Screening devices, valid clinical scales, and tools like culturagram can help the clinical supervisors and counselors design a treatment plan suitable to the immigrant. These tools aid patients throughout their treatment and explain care to the patient in an appropriate manner.

Find Appropriate Resources

Resources increase a patients access to care and also improve the outcome of that care. Resources include anything that will ease the process like language interpreters, pamphlets in a patient’s native language, and more. Moreover, this helps the immigrants stay engaged in medical treatment.


Pursue Professional Education

Case managers should maintain a level of education to advance their understanding of a patient’s cultural requirements. It should also serve as a standard on how to better serve diverse patient populations.


Proper case management of immigrants follows the global health and security policies, in addition to the individual’s socio-cultural background. Allista, a chronic care solution, focuses on finding the suitable healthcare treatment for deported immigrants and provide services that consider the physical, behavioral, and psychological problems of the immigrants. Allista reaches out to those immigrants who do not receive medical attention in the US due to legal reasons and partners with Hospital Americas and Hospital en Casa to find suitable care for those in need.


Are you a case manager who needs assistance with an immigrant patient? 

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