Medical-legal partnerships proliferate in the USA

Posted by Kate Barth on July 18, 2014

The New York Times published a heartening article today regarding the proliferation of medical-legal partnerships aimed at protecting patients’ health by attacking some of the underlying determinants of patients’ ill-health. Advocacy organizations which have partnered with medical clinics take legal action against landlords, government bureaucracies, Medicaid, and insurance companies to secure patient entitlements and legal rights.

As the article explains, “Being poor can make you sick. Where you work, the air you breathe, the state of your housing, what you eat, your levels of stress and your vulnerability to crime, injury and discrimination all affect your health. These social determinants of health lie outside the reach of doctors and nurses. . . . Medical-legal partnerships are growing in part because of increasing attention to social determinants of health. Talking about inequality means talking about the vicious cycles that keep people poor; one of the most important is the intersection of poverty and health.”

For the full article, please click here.

Kate Barth is a Legal Officer at Lawyers Collective.