A Resource for Immigrant and Refugee Patients at Denver Health
Proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy have led to questions from immigrant and refugee patients about their rights and protections at Denver Health. This webpage aims to inform patients about how we handle protected health information (PHI), and offers guidance on non-health care related legal questions about immigration status and immigration rights.
Immigration law and policy is complex and can be subject to rapid change. Denver Health does not offer legal advice or act as a substitute for legal counsel. A separate resource provided by the City of Denver can be found online and addresses legal questions that fall outside our focus as health care providers.
While we are specifically mentioning “immigrant patient rights” in this information, these rights apply to all patients at Denver Health.
Immigrant and Refugee Patient Rights at Denver Health
- Denver Health is a safe place for patients and we protect all patient information. Personal information is protected by patient privacy laws and not shared with local police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unless legally required by valid court order or warrant.
- Law enforcement officials are not permitted in areas of “patient treatment.” A warrant or court order is required to enter into patient care or treatment areas. Hospitals in general are public spaces, but as of March 21, 2017, were reinforced by the Department of Homeland Security as “sensitive locations,” where immigration enforcement should generally be avoided.
- Routine medical care is important for health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety or stress-related issues. It is important for patient health and for the health of patient families to stay on schedule with prescription refills, vaccines and checkups. If patients jeopardize their health, they could be putting the safety and protection of their families at risk.
- Seeking emergency medical care is extremely important for severe injuries, such as broken bones, chest pain or sudden severe pain. Left untreated, injuries could quickly become life threatening. If patients jeopardize their health, they could be putting the safety and protection of their families at risk.
- All immigrants have the right to be treated for medical emergencies. Our emergency rooms offer care to patients regardless of their immigration status. Uninsured individuals, unauthorized immigrants and those with non-immigrant visas have the same rights to care as non-immigrants. Anyone with an emergency medical condition has the right to an ambulance (emergency medical transportation) regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. If an ambulance is needed, dial 911.
- For those who no longer wish to visit the main campus, Denver Health offers a network of convenient community and school-based health clinics throughout Denver. Especially for parents, their children can access primary care — including immunizations, flu vaccines, etc. — at their local school-based health center, located in many Denver Public Schools. Call 303-602-8990 for the nearest school health center.
- Denver Health offers a dedicated NurseLine staffed by bilingual registered nurses and clinical professionals 24-hours-a-day. They can quickly provide medical assistance and health care advice, and help patients understand if they need to be seen by a doctor right away. Call 303-739-1211 for this service.
- For all questions involving legal issues unrelated to health care, this contact information provided by the City of Denver will direct patients to the right resources to answer these questions. Remember, any non-medical advice you give concerning immigrant rights could detrimentally impact your patients in unforeseen ways.
Frequently Asked Questions From Immigrant and Refugee Patients
- What information am I required to provide to be seen at Denver Health?
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Current photo identification (required for new patients; if valid ID previously scanned, not required)
- Proof of insurance (not required for emergency or urgent care visits)
- If I do not have a social security card, will I be required to provide one?
No. You may be asked to include a social security number for your medical records, but neither a card nor number is required for patient care.
- Will I be required to share information about my immigration status with my health care provider?
No. Denver Health does not need this information to provide you care.
- Will the emergency room report me to Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
No. Immigration officials are not alerted when a patient uses medical care.
- Does Denver Health share my information with police or Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
Denver Health does not share your health information with law enforcement officials without authorization from you, or a warrant or court order.
- If I’m not able to come to my child’s appointment, can my child still be seen? Can someone else take him or her to the appointment?
Yes. If you sign a DHHA “Power of Attorney for Treatment of a Minor” form, another friend or family member can take your child to his or her medical appointment. Such forms are provided at the hospital or community health center and must be filled out and signed at those locations. For information, please call Patient Advocates at 303-602-2915.
- Can I be deported if I’m pulled over on my way to the hospital?
We cannot answer legal questions that do not involve your health care. Please contact an immigrant rights lawyer or immigrant rights organization to have your questions answered (details below).
- Can a hospital deny me or my child care if I’m an unauthorized immigrant?
No. Hospitals are legally mandated to care for all patients who need emergency treatment, regardless of citizenship status or ability to pay. Our Emergency Room, School-Based Health Centers and Family Health Centers care for all patients.
- Will my government-funded health care impact the adjustment of my legal status?
At present, the answer is “No.” However, it is impossible to predict how changes in federal law or policy may impact a person’s status. Please contact an immigrant rights lawyer or immigrant rights organization to have your questions answered (details included).
*** For questions about access to health care and insurance, or specific immigrant or immigration legal questions, contact Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (303-922-3344), the Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network at 303-433-2812, or the American Immigration Lawyers Association (202-507-7600).
Denver Health Resources for Providers and Patients
Community Health Centers