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Financing Medical-Legal Partnerships
View From The Field

Resource Topic: Finance, Special and Vulnerable Populations, Social Determinants of Health

Year Developed: 2019

Resource Type: Publication

Primary Audience: C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, COOs, CMOs, etc) Clinicians Enabling Staff PCAs
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors

Language: English

Developed by: National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (See other resources developed by this organization.)

Resource Summary: To date, over 350 health organizations - including over 120 HRSA funded health centers -have implemented medical-legal partnerships (MLPs). This fact sheet draws on national survey data from these organizations and their partnering legal organizations to describe programs’ average budgets as well as a variety of health, legal, and philanthropic funding streams that currently fund MLPs. It also discusses how MLPs are adapting to meet their funding challenges and highlights examples of programs implementing innovative Medicaid financing models to pay for MLP services.

Resource Details: The health care landscape is shifting toward incentivizing organizations that deliver care to address social determinants of health. Progress is slow, however, with interventions that target patients’ social and environmental needs financed through in-kind supports or a patchwork of philanthropy and government grants. MLP is an example of a social determinants intervention that has taken hold without a stable or predominant funding stream. The model embeds attorneys specializing in civil law into the health care setting to address patients’ unmet legal needs. MLP attorneys — usually sourced by civil legal aid nonprofits or law schools — assist patients with health-harming legal needs by enabling access to public benefits, resolving substandard housing conditions, removing unlawful barriers to education or employment, assisting with guardianship and immigration issues, and more.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,375,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.