A Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) integrates lawyers as a vital component of the health care team. MLP’s address social determinants of health and seek to eliminate barriers to health care in order to help vulnerable populations meet their basic needs and stay healthy. Legal Aid of Arkansas has been at the forefront of providing direct services through medical-legal partnerships in rural community health centers, at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and with community mental health agencies. We have also cultivated sustained corporate and pro bono commitments to the MLPs and leveraged the power of MLPs to effect meaningful systemic change for our clients.
Legal Aid of Arkansas is engaged in five Medical-Legal Partnerships throughout Arkansas with a variety of health care providers. MLP’s team lawyers and paralegals with health care teams in medical settings to detect, address and prevent health-harming social conditions for people and communities. The goal is for attorneys and medical staff to work together to achieve lasting positive health outcomes for low-income patients and clients. For more information on MLP’s, please visit the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership website.
Mid-Delta Health Systems and Friday, Eldridge & Clark
The first medical-legal partnership in Arkansas formed when Legal Aid partnered with Mid-Delta Health Systems in 2010. The partners recognized that health problems sometimes lead to legal problems, and that legal problems sometimes cause health problems. The partnership leverages the skills of the health care providers with those of attorneys who can help solve civil legal issues that impact health. This partnership has matured and now is regularly staff by a group of pro bono attorneys from the Friday, Eldridge & Clark law firm, the largest firm in Arkansas.
Arkansas Children's Hospital and Walmart
Since 2011, Legal Aid has partnered with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Walmart to create the first medical-legal partnership that integrated a corporate legal department into the service model. At ACH, attorneys from Legal Aid and Walmart partner with health care providers to make sure patients and patient-families have access to the resources they need to maximize health outcomes. For more information, see our MLP brochure.
Mid-South Health Systems
In 2012, Legal Aid began a partnership with Mid-South Health Systems in West Memphis. It was the first partnership in the state between Legal Aid and a mental health service provider. The project addresses the myriad of legal issues faced by clients who have a history of mental illness.
Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks
Legal Aid partnered with the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in 2013 to provide civil legal services to veterans. Veterans and their families receive help on a range of legal issues. A recent study found that four of the top ten needs facing homeless veterans required access to legal assistance.