We’re helping to build an integrated health care system that better addresses health-harming social needs by leveraging legal services and expertise to advance individual and population health.

Medical-legal partnerships integrate the unique expertise of lawyers into health care settings to help clinicians, case managers, and social workers address structural problems at the root of so many health inequities.

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and it’s working.

Studies show that when legal services and expertise are used to address social needs, people are:

admitted to the hospital less frequently.
more likely to take their medications as prescribed.
reporting lower levels of stress.

We’re not alone. Health care organizations and policymakers are joining the movement.


The Health Resources and Services Administration designated legal services as an “enabling service,” meaning that health centers can use federal dollars to pay for on-site legal assistance for patients.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encourages its VA Medical Centers to provide free space for community legal services agencies to provide care on-site.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges completed a three-year study of the impact of medical-legal partnerships on health equity, and developed a series of tools to evaluate MLP services.

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Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente, a large, private integrated health system strategically invests systemwide in medical-legal partnerships to address housing stability and eviction prevention in their communities.

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But there’s still a lot of work to do.

We want every health organization in the United States to leverage legal services as a standard part of the way they respond to social needs. The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership leads education, research, and technical assistance efforts to help make that goal a reality.

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