Indiana Legal Services is partnering with a Valparaiso-based health care provider to launch a first-of-its-kind medical-legal partnership program in northwest Indiana.
ILS is working with HealthLinc to provide no-cost, civil legal aid to patients who need legal assistance for matters related to their health. This medical-legal partnership is funded by grants from the Indiana Bar Foundation and Legacy Foundation.
“The medical-legal partnership, a relatively new healthcare service, has proven to have a major impact on the health of patients throughout the nation,” said Beth Wrobel, HealthLinc CEO. “Many health-harming factors have their roots in legal problems and create barriers to our patient’s ability to live healthy, productive lives.”
ILS will provide training to medical staff in all seven of HealthLinc’s clinics on how to identify needs that qualify for civil legal aid. These needs include insurance and benefits claims, substandard housing and criminal record expungement.
Eligible patients will work with attorney Emma Douglas to get their issues resolved at no cost. In addition, qualifying patients will also receive annual screenings for potential health-harming issues in their lives that may reveal a need for civil legal assistance.
“Community health centers are a vital way for our attorneys to connect with eligible clients in communities across our state,” said Jon Laramore, executive director of ILS. “We are excited to partner with HealthLinc to connect those who typically can’t afford an attorney with the resources to address legal needs that also impact their health.”
Indiana Legal Services already has partnerships with several health care providers including Eskenazi Health, Indiana University Health, and Community Health Network. Its partnership with Eskenazi’s Midtown Community Mental Health Clinic was named one of 2015’s outstanding medical-legal partnerships by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership.