Statewide MLP Project

Health + Legal Care

Rx for Better Health Outcomes

Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of people and communities by leading health, public health, and legal sectors in an integrated, upstream approach to combating health-harming social conditions.

This program is funded by The Florida Bar Foundation. Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida works in partnership with Florida Legal Services, Legal Services of North Florida, and the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership to implement this initiative statewide.

How does a Medical-Legal Partnership work?

  • Physicians and lawyers work together to address a patient’s healthcare needs that can not be remedied by medicine alone.
  • MLP attorneys work alongside a member of the healthcare team to screen for health-harming legal needs

Why should healthcare address civil legal needs as part of its response to patient and population health?

Every low-income person has 2-3 unmet civil needs that create barriers to healthy eating, healthy housing, employment and safety. Addressing those needs improves a person’s health and helps medical treatments work more effectively.

The MLP Response

Medical-legal partnerships embed lawyers and paralegals alongside health care teams in clinics to:

  • TRAIN health care, public health and legal teams to work collaboratively and identify health-harming social conditions;
  • TREAT individual patients’ existing health‐harming social conditions with assistance ranging from triage and consultations to legal representation;
  • TRANSFORM clinic practice and institutional policies to better respond to patients’ health‐harming social conditions; and
  • PREVENT health‐harming social conditions broadly by detecting patterns and improving policies and regulations that have an impact on population health.

Research shows that when patients’ legal problems — such as threatened evictions, wrongful utility shut-offs, insurance disputes, and improper educational supports for children — are solved:   

  • People with chronic illnesses are admitted to the hospital less frequently;
  • People more commonly take their medications as prescribed;
  • People report less stress;
  • Less money is spent on health care services for the people who would otherwise frequently go to the hospital; and
  • Clinical services are more frequently reimbursed by public and private payers.

For more information on Florida’s statewide MLP project email us.

To learn more about MLPs visit the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership website. 

Check out this interesting TED Talk by Rishi Manchanda. Rishi has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream” factors like a poor diet, a stressful job, a lack of fresh air. It’s a powerful call for doctors to pay attention to a patient’s life outside the exam room.