Special Projects Fund



Funding Area

Special Projects Fund


January 2016


This NYHealth report examines the development, implementation, and replication of an innovative health care model for newly arrived refugees to the United States. The model makes primary care services available to refugees and allows health centers to provide that care in a sustainable, cost-efficient manner.

The United States has a longstanding history of accepting refugees in search of a new life, all of whom have fled war-torn countries or cannot safely return to their home country. Approximately 3,000–5,000 refugees per year have resettled in New York State, the majority in the upstate region. Many refugees share similar health-related challenges that make it difficult to access health care, including exposure to torture, terrorism, and lengthy stays in refugee camps, as well as language barriers. For many health care providers, the provision of care for refugees has proven to be a financial stress or unsustainable. As a result, health care clinics have either shut their doors to new refugees or have closed down altogether because of the financial burden of treating these patients.

The report outlines NYHealth’s support to develop and pilot a sustainable model of care for this vulnerable population that would allow primary care practices to see new refugees without becoming financially overwhelmed. The report also takes a look at replication efforts in other parts of the State, offering lessons learned and next steps for implementing the model.

Watch a video about the model’s impact on newly resettled refugees, along with the community and health benefits it has generated.