Briefcase

Briefcase: Medical-Legal Partnerships

Guest: Leah Fowler

Attorneys are being added to medical teams across the U.S. via medical legal partnerships, or MLPs. Leah Fowler, with the University of Houston Law Center, is a research assistant professor focusing on health law and policy. Fowler gave examples of how vulnerable populations can benefit from these joint teams.

“A child is repeatedly taken to the ER for asthma attacks,” Professor Fowler said. “The physician treats her acute symptoms, but a lawyer may be called in to address long-term triggers. If the root cause of the asthma attack is a mold problem at home, medical care alone will be insufficient to treat the patient. Through an MLP, clinicians can connect patients with an attorney who can help address health-harming issues.”

“MLPs educate healthcare providers on legal issues,” Fowler continued. “For example, utility shutoff protections are important when a patient requires refrigerated medicine or electronic medical equipment. Understanding patient legal rights raise the standard of overall care.”

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