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CLSMF Talks MLP at FAFCC and NAFC Healthcare Conference

CLSMF CEO Kimberly Sanchez and Grace Medical Home CEO Stephanie Garris are on tour to talk about how doctors and lawyers working together can keep patients healthier. Both CEO’s have presented at the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (FAFCC) and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) annual conferences. Funded by a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation and Florida Blue, CLSMF and Grace are piloting a medical legal partnership where CLSMF embeds a legal aid lawyer into Grace’s medical team.   

Stephanie Garris, an attorney and former lobbyist for the American Medical Association tells her colleagues who run free and charitable clinics that it all starts with the drive to look at patient care through an upstream approach. As one of her volunteer physicians once said to her, “This patient’s problem has nothing to do with medicine, but everything to do with health.” Enter CLSMF and Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLP).  The MLP model has been shown to improve patient health outcomes by enforcing patient rights to obtain safe and reliable housing, securing medical benefits, and increasing household income through obtaining Social Security benefits. The model also helps clinics meet their requirements on health outcomes and obtain reimbursement for treatment provided to patients who would otherwise be uninsured.    

The partnership between CLSMF and Grace Medical Home was established in January 2018, and began accepting patient referrals on March 1st. In this short amount of time, the MLP has been successful in securing Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits, Medicaid, including long term institutional care, and addressing housing issues for patients. More importantly the doctors and lawyers in the clinic are beginning to speak the same language providing healthy outcomes for all patients.   

As part of the statewide MLP effort, CLSMF MLP attorneys Christina Russo and Samantha Cools exhibited at the FAFCC conference. After learning about the MLP model and the benefits to patients and the clinic, many medical providers expressed interest in implementing an MLP at their own practices.