Doctors and Lawyers Collaborating to HeLP Children: Outcomes from a Successful Partnership between Professions

By: Melissa D. Klein et al. Published by: Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Published in August 2013

Link to article

Background:

Clear associations exist between socioeconomic risks and health, and these risks are often amenable to legal interventions.

Methods:

This is a case study of an implementation of a medical-legal partnership (MLP) in three pediatric primary care centers that serve a predominantly high-risk population. Referral circumstances and outcomes over the first three years are described.

Results:

During the three-year study period, 1,808 MLP referrals were made for 1,614 patients by all levels of provider. Those referred were more likely to have asthma (p<.0001) and developmental delay/behavioral disorder (p<.0001) than the general clinic population. Housing (37%) and income/health benefit (33%) problems were the most common reasons for referral. Referrals led to 1,742 (89%) positive legal outcomes affecting nearly 6,000 cohabitating children and adults and translating into nearly $200,000 in recovered back benefits.

Conclusion:

Successful MLP implementation enabled pediatric providers to address social determinants of health potentially improving health and reducing disparities.



Categories: Children, Delivery systems (e.g., MLPs), Health, Health, Legal Aid Practitioners, Medical-Legal Partnerships, National, Policymakers and Funders, Researchers and Academics

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