Financing Medical-Legal Partnerships
View From The Field
Resource Topic: Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), Finance, Special and Vulnerable Populations
Resource Subtopic: Population Health.
Keywords: Medical Legal Partnerships (MLPs).
Year Developed: 2019
Resource Type: Publication
Primary Audience: General Audience
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors
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.