The initial medical examination of asylum seekers after their initial admission to a reception centre is usually conducted within 24 hours. A general examination is made through a physical examination including vital signs, skin lesion, injuries, including TBC-X-ray and questions on their state of health by means of a standardised medical history. If, within the scope of the investigation, circumstances become known which require further investigations, asylum seekers are transferred to specialist doctors or a hospital.1
Every asylum seeker who receives Basic Care has health insurance. Treatment or cures that are not covered by health insurance may be paid, upon request, by the federal provinces’ departments for Basic Care or the Ministry of Interior. If Basic Care is withdrawn, asylum seekers are still entitled to emergency care and essential treatment.2
In practice, this provision is not always easy to apply, however. If an asylum seeker has lost basic care due to violent behaviour or absence from the EAST for more than 2 days, they will not receive medical assistance, because it is assumed that they have the opportunity visit the medical station in the EAST. However, as those asylum seekers are no longer registered in the EAST, they will not be allowed to enter and receive medical treatment there. Without health insurance or access to the medical station of the EAST, asylum seekers may face severe difficulties in receiving necessary medical treatment. Some of them come to the NGO-run health project AMBER MED with doctors providing treatment on a voluntary basis.
The delay in registration as asylum seeker results in delayed registration in the health insurance. Vienna has restructured the registration process and issues “Vienna Refugee Aid service cards” to asylum seekers through which it organises the registration in the health insurance system.
After the asylum seeker has submitted the asylum application, a general health examination is carried out and asylum seekers are obliged to undergo this examination, including a TBC (Tuberculosis) examination. The Ministry of the Interior has commissioned the Red Cross to carry out the medical examination, which is part of the admission procedure. It is no longer to be organised by the basic care provider company ORS.
In each federal province, one NGO provides treatment to victims of torture and traumatised asylum seekers. This is partly covered by AMIF funding, partly by the Ministry of Interior and regional medical insurance. However, the capacity of these services is not sufficient. Clients often have to wait several months for psychotherapy.