Mt. Sinai Health System, Lancaster General Health, and Centura Health are addressing patients’ complex needs with medical-legal partnerships. By focusing on outcomes, and not just patient discharge, legal services can be a part of avoiding preventable hospital readmissions.
By Michelle Andrews
“Every Friday, Christine Crawford has a counseling session at a clinic at New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System as she moves ahead with plans for gender transition surgery later this year. In addition to the many medical and psychosocial issues, there are practical ones as well. So, Crawford was thrilled when a Mount Sinai representative said they would assign a lawyer to help her legally change her name to Christine.
The lawyer filed her name-change petition with the court and helped Crawford, 56, with other steps, such as notifying her former spouse and publishing the name change in the newspaper. She gave Crawford information about what she needed to do to make the change official with organizations such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Perhaps best of all, when Crawford graduated with a master’s degree in social work last month, her diploma had her new name on it.
‘[The lawyer] was able to expedite the petition and the court date,’ Crawford said. ‘She was a godsend.’
As health care systems continue to shift toward becoming comprehensive medical homes for patients, health care providers are increasingly incorporating lawyers into the team of professionals who are on hand to help people at no additional charge to patients.”