Article: Study highlights need for more systematic screening to identify social needs

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

By Joanna Theiss & Marsha Regenstein The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Screening for social determinants of health is a vital means to improve the health of populations by unlocking the social services and benefits that can be transformative in patients’ lives. Along those lines, it is also critical to understanding the scope of need for medical-legal partnership services. Building on data from the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership’s survey of programs, a new article in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics outlines how, why, and to what degree screening practices are used across MLPs. It finds that, despite the importance of identifying patients’ social and legal needs in order to improve health, the experience of MLP health care providers demonstrates that systematic, protocol-driven screening is not yet being used to its fullest extent within these organizations.