Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Medical-legal partnerships have been implemented at several Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers to serve homeless and low-income veterans with mental illness. Researchers from Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs – Connecticut examined the outcomes of veterans who accessed legal services at four partnership sites in Connecticut and New York from 2014 to 2016. The partnerships served 950 veterans, who collectively had 1,384 legal issues; on average, the issues took 5.4 hours’ worth of legal services to resolve. The most common problems were related to VA benefits, housing, family issues, and consumer issues. Among a subsample of 148 veterans who were followed for one year, researchers observed significant improvements in housing, income, and mental health. Veterans who received more partnership services showed greater improvements in housing and mental health than those who received fewer services, and those who achieved their predefined legal goals showed greater improvements in housing status and community integration than those who did not.