Thanks to a Bush Foundation community innovation grant, and the teamwork of Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota (LSNM), Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND), and Family HealthCare, North Dakota has established its first cross-border medical-legal partnership (MLP).
Legal Advocates for Health joins other MLPs across the country that bring together medical and legal aid organizations to help disadvantaged people. Currently funded for two years, the project embeds a legal aid attorney with medical staff at Family HealthCare’s downtown Fargo clinic.
Helping patients with matters like benefits denial, employment discrimination or housing often means medical staff need to flag patients’ problems that call for legal aid. The three partners are currently seeking a qualified lawyer to lead Legal Advocates for Health, currently being staffed by two law students.
“Training [the medical point of contact] is really important [with regard to] what questions to ask,” said LSNM's executive director Anne Hoefgen. “If you ask [patients], ‘Do you have a family law issue,’ they might not know what that is." Read more.