Toolkit: VA medical-legal partnership readiness guide

Monday, June 3, 2019

By Jennifer Trott, Joanna Theiss, & Alanna Peterson National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership

Today, more than 30 medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) are currently operating in VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) across the country and many more VAMCs are in the exploratory or planning phases. Drawing upon expertise, examples, and tools from the field, the VA Medical-Legal Partnership Readiness Guide provides VAMCs with a step-by-step approach to starting and sustaining an MLP. The guide was developed with support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Part I of the guide outlines how to lay the foundation for a medical-legal partnership, including information on defining a target population, finding a legal partner, funding the partnership, developing a memorandum of understanding, and making the partnership visible and accessible. Parts II and III walk VAMCs through screening Veterans for legal needs and training clinical and other staff on meeting those needs, respectively. The tool concludes with lessons learned about building and operating successful partnerships from existing VAMC-based MLPs.

For background information on the development of the medical-legal partnership intervention in VA settings, see our May 2019 issue brief, “Medical-Legal Partnerships Serving Veterans: History, Growth, and Progress.”