Working together, medical-legal partnership teams often detect patterns in patients’ needs that reveal opportunities to advance healthy policy solutions for whole communities. The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership’s new patients-to-policy series features five stories of partnerships that worked upstream to promote health and transform care.
Helping Kids Get At-Home Care
When children on ventilators were unable to leave the hospital due to a home-nursing shortage caused by low Medicaid reimbursement rates, the medical-legal partnership at Seattle Children’s sued the state Medicaid Director and the Director of the Healthcare Authority to help kids return home. They then turned their attention to advocacy with the state agencies to fix the reimbursement rates. Read the story.
Eliminating Hurdles to Life Saving Medication
Whitman-Walker Health’s medical-legal partnership worked with insurance companies to remove requirements forcing Post-Exposure Prophylaxis medications (PEP) to be filled by mail. By doing so, they ensured people who were exposed to the HIV virus could get the medication they needed filled at a local pharmacy within the 72-hour window when the drug can be effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. Read the story.
Keeping Children Safe From Lead Poisoning
After seeing many patients with lead poisoning who were prohibited from moving to a new home and still maintain their federal housing assistance, the medical-legal partnership at Erie Family Health Centers built a multi-state coalition that got the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to update its federal lead regulations. Now, they are working to pass a federal bill that will require lead inspections of all federally assisted housing units before families move in. Read the story.
Increasing Nutritional Supports for Newborns
Cincinnati Children’s medical-legal partnership worked with the agency that administers food benefits in the county to eliminate administrative barriers to enrolling newborns in benefits. New procedures allow hospital case managers to send birth records directly to the agency, and help hundreds of families enroll newborns months earlier than before, which translates to real money for child nutrition. Read the story.
Ensuring People with Chronic Conditions Maintain Access to Care
Whitman-Walker Health’s medical-legal partnership helped prevent platinum insurance plans that were widely used by patients with chronic illnesses from being eliminated in the D.C. Marketplace. Through advocacy with the insurance commissioner and insurance companies, thousands of patients maintained access to care. Read the story.