The Medical-Legal Partnership Four-Step Process:
- Train health care providers to identify health-harming social conditions
- Add a lawyer to the treatment team for patients who face health-harming social conditions that have legal solutions
- Legal ”treatment” ranges from screening and consultation to full representation.
- Health-harming social conditions include:
- Risk of homelessness and substandard housing conditions
- Food and financial insecurity due to barriers accessing public benefits
- Health coverage gaps that result from unlawful terminations or denials
- Inability to obtain educational services required for a disabled child to thrive in school
- Transform clinical practices so that the health care team better responds to social conditions and local population health priorities
- Prevent health-harming social conditions by identifying trends early on and working collaboratively with health care and other community partners to address these social conditions
Our Legal Team
- Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Staff Attorney for Pro Bono Innovation Fund project with UMass Memorial HealthCare
- Mike Dyer and Anita Conte, Pro Bono Coordinators responsible for managing pro bono components of the LSC Pro Bono Innovation Fund project with UMass Memorial HealthCare
Our MLP Partners
Health Care Partners
- UMass Memorial HealthCare
- Pediatric Primary Care, Worcester
- Benedict Family Medicine, Worcester
- Hahnemann Family Health Center, Worcester
Local volunteer attorneys who take cases referred by the Pro Bono Innovation Fund Medical-Legal Partnership with UMass Memorial HealthCare.
We are proud to partner formally with Mirick O’Connell and Bowditch & Dewey on the Pro Bono Innovation Fund Medical-Legal Partnership.
We welcome other partnerships with local firms and solo practitioners.
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (more information here)
MLP Impact: Client Stories
- MLP helps family obtain stable housing and reduce stress: A mom and her four children were referred to MLP by the childrens’ doctor because they were living in a bedroom of an acquaintance’s house with inadequate heat. The abusive host threatened to kick the family out, creating an even more stressful environment. The housing attorney and medical provider worked together to build a strong case for emergency shelter. Just four months later, the family moved from shelter into a stable four- bedroom subsidized apartment and the family reports a reduction in stress levels.
- MLP helps to secure health insurance coverage for necessary medical equipment and supplies for a pediatric patient with significant special needs: The clinic team had worked tirelessly to obtain coverage for a patient over a long period of time without success. After repeated insurance denials, clinic staff partnered with the MLP legal team and together they were able to finally resolve the coverage issue to get the patient the equipment necessary for his care.
- MLP provides advice about legal rights to family after toddler is exposed to lead in rental unit: A pediatrician referred a family who had moved out of their apartment after their toddler tested positive for elevated lead levels. The family experienced housing instability until they were finally able to relocate to another apartment. As a result of the Medical-Legal Partnership, Community Legal Aid connected the family with a volunteer attorney who provided detailed advice regarding potential legal remedies and tenants’ rights under the Massachusetts Lead Law. The child is doing well and is no longer at risk of lead poisoning.
How to Get Involved
Pro Bono Opportunities
CLA welcomes pro bono volunteers into our Medical-Legal Partnership. If you are interested in making an impact, we are here to support you. We carefully screen cases and strive to offer manageable pro bono opportunities because we know your time as an attorney is valuable. Pro bono attorneys have the following supports available as needed throughout their volunteer experiences:
- Ongoing mentorship
- Access to Medical-Legal Partnership trainings and pro bono manuals
- Discount MCLE vouchers (limited number)
- Conference space at CLA
- Access to phone interpreter service
- Email groups exclusively for CLA MLP attorneys
- Professional liability insurance
Join by signing up here.
Health Care Partnership
CLA is always open to exploring new Health Care Partners who are innovative and collaborative. Please contact CLA Attorney Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies if you are interested in learning more about our work and how we might respond to the social conditions your patients face.
- Legal Services Corporation, Pro Bono Innovation Fund
- Albert W. Rice Charitable Foundation
- UMass Memorial Health Care
To learn how Medical-Legal Partnerships are sustained nationally, please click here.