In The New York Times’ Fixes Blog, Tina Rosenberg examines why more and more hospitals and health centers are partnering with civil legal aid lawyers to address the social problems and polices that impact individual and community health. Medical-legal partnerships in Cincinnati, Ohio, New York City and Omaha, Nebraska are featured along with the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership and Voices for Civil Justice.
By Tina Rosenberg
July 18, 2014
“By early summer 2010, the temperature had already reached 100 degrees in Cincinnati. At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, doctors were urging the families of children with asthma to use air-conditioning. One mother handed a piece of paper to her doctor: The child’s room did have a window unit, and she was using it. But then the landlord responded — he apparently didn’t want to pay the electric bills. Use that air-conditioner, the letter said, and you will be evicted.
A concerned doctor might have tried to call the landlord to fight the notice. Or, she might have handed the letter over to a social worker. But Cincinnati Children’s had something better — it had lawyers. In 2008, the hospital and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati set up a medical-legal partnership, the Cincinnati Child Health-Law Partnership or Child HeLP.”