The Attorney As the Newest Member of the Cancer Treatment Team

By: Stewart B. Fleishman, Randye Retkin, Julie Brandfield, and Victoria Braun. Published by: Journal of Clinical Oncology. Published in May 2006.

Link to article

This article provides case examples, some of which include a woman who was diagnosed with cancer and overstayed her visa. Working with legal services, she was able to receive short-term disability, and have her will, health care proxy, and power of attorney planned. After she died, LegalHealth helped her daughter’s guardians to get letters of guardianship. Working with LegalHealth, she was able to create a permanency plan for her daughter.

Highlights include:

  • “Cancer specialists are often in the best position to identify legal issues impacting their patients. Oncology specialists, physicians, and nurses become acquainted with families and care partners throughout the trajectory of care.” (p. 2124)
  • “In the LegalHealth model, lawyers are stationed in the same clinical area where cancer treatment is provided. Through routine physician-patient interaction, patients are prescreened by the physician, nurse, or oncology social worker, and a legal appointment is set up for a time in the future. In some cases, where there is a timesensitive issue, patients are literally walked over by their physician to the lawyer. LegalHealth lawyers are generalists and, therefore, able to handle the myriad issues the physician has uncovered.” (p. 2124)
  • “The potential cost savings by reducing missed appointments for chemotherapy or radiation therapy are apparent and measurable. The practice or hospital’s revenue stream is better protected when patients’ care is reimbursed by insurance or entitlements, as a result, in large part, of lawyers’ involvement after they are brought to the forefront by the oncology team. The LegalHealth collaboration provides a win/win/ win situation for everyone involved, including the patients and their families, the oncology teams and their institutions, and the attorneys.” (p. 2126)


Categories: Delivery systems (e.g., MLPs), Health, Health, Individuals with Disabilities, Legal Aid Practitioners, Medical-Legal Partnerships, Researchers and Academics, State-Specific

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