About the Medical Legal Community Partnership
The MLCP brings attorneys, law students, and other legal advocates into Philadelphia health centers and clinics. Together, we work with health care provider staff to help address the socio-legal barriers that many of our clients face daily. As a generalist practice we are committed to helping clients across legal issues and often assist one client with several cases. A client may, for example, come to us for unpaid medical bills only to find out that they actually qualify for increased insurance coverage that would prevent future bills from becoming unaffordable. We may also enroll them in SNAP benefits and a program to reduce their water bills. With these debts waived, support paying for food and utilities, and ongoing health insurance coverage, we hope this client will find it easier to attend regular medical appointments, to sustain a healthy life for themselves and their families, and to avoid the health harming effects of toxic stress.
According to the National Center for Medical Legal Partnerships:
“Medical-legal partnerships embed lawyers as specialists in health care settings. When some of the most complex and intractable problems—like an illegal eviction—are detected, clinical staff can refer patients directly for legal services. And like other members of the health care team, legal staff are available to consult with clinical and non-clinical staff about system and policy barriers to care.”
MLPs are founded with the belief that legal aid can assist patients in addressing health-harming legal needs. By providing space to address the social determinants of health (SDOH), MLPs allow health centers to address the “full person”. By improving patient health, MLPs also reduce health care costs, saving time and money for healthcare providers.