Advocating for Medical-Legal Partnerships to Benefit Vulnerable Populations in New Jersey with Behavioral Health Issues
Research has demonstrated that only 15% of preventable illness can be improved with access to quality medical care and that nearly 60% of individuals’ health is determined by social, environmental and behavioral factors. Recent studies further illustrate that when necessities such as housing, food security, health and welfare benefits and safety are unstable, health suffers and recovery is compromised.
Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) have resulted in individuals’ improved health by addressing both illnesses and social and environmental needs. Unlike the traditional model, which entails healthcare providers simply referring patients to legal services, MLPs embed lawyers into healthcare teams. These circumstances enable attorneys to proactively intervene on behalf of clients before legal problems reach a crisis point and to help healthcare providers identify legal issues that could negatively impact health, work around policy barriers to health care, and address their patients’ challenges that have been perpetuating health issues and the need for ongoing treatment.
This will be a pilot program. A concept paper has been developed and potential funding sources are being researched.