CFMS Position Paper on Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)
We are an organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 15 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast.
M Bushra, S Hashmi, A Agarwal, C Brown…
Increased efforts towards addressing needs of immigrant, refugee and asylum seeking populations within medical school curricula, medical trainee programs and informal education initiatives will translate to better provision of health care services upon arrival, and create medical graduates and future physicians who are well trained to provide healthcare for newcomer populations.
The CFMS endorses the following principles in support of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers:
1. Immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers have unique healthcare needs and requirements.
2. Since the reinstatement of the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) in 2016, physicians and other health care providers are eligible to provide care for patients who have received coverage. However, potential patients continue to be turned away by providers because of uncertainty regarding coverage and perceived administrative burden.
3. Newcomer populations face significant system-level barriers in access to healthcare in Canada, including limited pre-arrival healthcare, issues with eligibility and entitlement and difficulty navigating a complex healthcare system
4. Newcomer populations face significant individual and societal barriers to success and optimal health, including unemployment, cultural and language challenges, mental health issues and social isolation
5. Canadian medical students can be better trained on the physical and psychosocial healthcare needs of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Such education and training should be incorporated into Canadian medical curricula…
The CFMS recommends the following policy level changes to the Government of Canada, and medical licensing and regulatory bodies of Canada :
1. Establish a national refugee and immigrant health strategy tasked with the creation and implementation of recommendations for healthcare providers to ensure high quality, ethical and safe care for refugees and immigrants to Canada. 1.1. Increase education and training in IFHP coverage and usage.
1.2. Eliminate inefficiencies and barriers in providers accessing and using IFHP for their patients.
1.3. Create and implement a streamlined and regularly analyzed process for provider application and reimbursement under IFHP.
2. Establish sufficient coverage of interpreter coverage across provinces.
3. Increase healthcare education opportunities for patients.
3.1. Towards IFHP and non-IFHP coverage components.
3.2. Preventative medicine education.
3.2.2. Emphasis of usage of alternative forms of medicine.
3.2.3. Education on use of primary health resources.
3.3. Encourage education on healthy lifestyles in Canada.
3.3.2. Increase awareness of available local community supports.