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LSSM Partners with CoxHealth to Create a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP)

Tuesday March 17, 2015

Legal Services of Southern Missouri (LSSM) is proud to announce it has entered into a partnership with CoxHealth to create a Medical-Legal Partnership.  A MLP is a health care delivery model that improves the health and well-being of low-income and other vulnerable populations by addressing unmet legal needs and removing legal barriers that impede health.  Legal staff is integrated into the healthcare team, where they partner with front-line physicians, nurses, case managers and others to:  (1) provide direct legal assistance to patients; (2) develop/align strategies to improve health and legal institutions and practices; (3) change policies, all in service of ensuring that vulnerable people get and stay healthy.  The MLP is unique because it ensures health and legal services are integrated, rather than operating as a referral mechanism.  This in turn leads to long-term, sustainable, more effective solutions to health and legal problems.  

The project, funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, is staffed by LSSM Managing Attorney Andrea R. Long and Paralegal Jeanne Crawford. Also assisting with the project is LSSM Staff Attorney Johnda Boyce.  LSSM focuses on saving  time, trouble, and money in serving the low-income patients in its service area and maximize patient health outcomes by removing legal barriers to good health.  The ultimate goal is to reach the low-income people that are difficult to reach in traditional venues.  CoxHealth and LSSM serve much of the same population.  MLP’s are an efficient way to partner a hospital with a non-profit to serve these low-income patients and improve patient health outcomes. 

Currently, hospitals are dealing with patients in a more holistic approach.  The trend of the medical community is focused on the quality of patient health outcomes.  In many instances, low-income patients have many social and legal barriers to quality health.  These barriers range from lack of insurance for routine medical treatment to inadequate housing that may contribute to the poor health of the patient.  When this occurs, these patients typically enter hospitals in poorer health.

To learn more about the project and its success visit