Healthcare Access for Iraqi Refugee Children in Texas: Persistent Barriers, Potential Solutions, and Policy Implications

David Vermette, Rashmi Shetgiri, Haidar Al Zuheiri, Glenn Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To identify access barriers to healthcare and potential interventions to improve access for Iraqi refugee children. Four focus groups were conducted using consecutive sampling of Iraqi refugee parents residing in the US for 8 months to 5 years. Eight key-informant interviews also were conducted with employees of organizations serving Iraqi refugee families, recruited using snowball sampling. Focus groups and interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using margin coding and grounded theory. Iraqi refugees identified provider availability, Medicaid maintenance and renewal, language issues, and inadequate recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder as barriers to care for their children. Interviewees cited loss of case-management services and difficulties in understanding the Medicaid renewal process as barriers. Potential interventions to improve access include community-oriented efforts to educate parents on Medicaid renewal, obtaining services, and accessing specialists. Given the enduring nature of language and Medicaid renewal barriers, policies addressing eligibility alone are insufficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1526-1536
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 13 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Access
  • Affordable Care Act
  • Barriers
  • Child
  • Iraq
  • PTSD
  • Refugee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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