233789 Medical-Legal Partnerships as Avenue to Social Justice [Student Project]

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Shannon Mace, JD, MPH , Health Reform and Health Equity Unit, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), Philadelphia, PA
Martha Romney, RN, MS, JD, MPH , Jefferson School of Population Health, Philadelphia, PA
Rickie O. Brawer, PhD MPH , Center for Urban Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
John G. Culhane, BA, JD , Health Law Institute and HELP:MLP, Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE
Daniel Atkins, JD , Health, Education and Legal assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership (HELP: MLP), Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE
Robert L. Hayman, BA, JD, LLM , Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE
Collaborations between healthcare and legal professionals through Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLP) provide a viable avenue to addressing the social determinants of health. The MLP concept, introduced by Dr. Barry Zuckerman at Boston's Medical Center, recognizes the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to meeting the social and healthcare needs of underserved populations. Legal clinics in hospital settings create opportunities for addressing patients' legal needs. MLPs train medical professionals to identify unmet legal needs and refer patients to the legal clinic, thereby enhancing and broadening the patient's safety net. By assisting patients with social determinants of health, e.g. benefits, housing, utilities, special education, income support, and domestic violence, MLPs can help reduce patient stress that can impact health status.

Widener University School of Law's Health Law Institute (WHLI) has implemented the first Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic in the Philadelphia region. This MLP currently serves a pediatric outpatient clinic at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and two ChesPenn Health Services sites, (Federally Qualified Health Centers). Chester is one of Pennsylvania's poorest cities, with 27% of its residents living below the poverty line (compared to a state average of 11%). In addition to extreme poverty, a legal needs assessment identified other problems for which assistance can be provided. Public health faculty at Thomas Jefferson University and WHLI developed client intake and provider assessments, an educational training for healthcare providers, post-assessment instruments and a comprehensive procedure manual. Process and impact evaluations of the MLP were conducted to identify opportunities for enhancing healthcare provider-attorney relationships and client legal services.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
- Describe the steps in initiating a Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic - Describe the value of training healthcare professionals and collaborative opportunities - Describe the process and impact evaluation tools & strategies that can be integrated into a Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present on the topic of Medical-Legal Partnership because I have assisted in client services, program planning and evaluation of Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical Legal Partnership (HELP: MLP) since September of 2009 in my position as a Health Law Fellow.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4194.0: Medical Legal Partnerships