Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rural Illinois Beauty Inspires Big Vision for MLP and Affordable Care Act

By: Ellen Lawton, Co-Principal Investigator, NCMLP

Everybody’s talkin’ at me…..about the Affordable Care Act.  As the healthcare landscape makes the great leap forward, I worry about helping the MLP community sort through the noise and figure out where medical-legal partnership fits.  That’s where Southern Illinois University & Southern Illinois Healthcare come in.  Earlier this month courtesy of SIU/SIH’s annual Health Policy Institute, led by Prof.  Gene Basanta of the Center for Health Law & Policy with heavy assists from national experts in law, public health and medicine, we did a deep dive into MLP in the context of healthcare reform.  Inspired by the many accomplishments of the team at MLP Southern Illinois – and the strong engagement of academicians like Prof. Ross Silverman and SIH administrators including VP of Community Affairs and National Advisory Council member Woody Thorne – speakers rallied around the topic of medical-legal partnership in the new Affordable Care Act landscape.  By day’s end it was clear that the needle had moved for participants, and that there is an emerging pathway for integration of legal services into a range of ACA initiatives, whether it is in patient navigation programs, Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation, or Community Health Needs Assessments.  What’s clear is that the MLP model’s power and flexibility is our best asset.  Our next move? Mobilize the healthcare partners in local MLPs that are primed to make the case to the US Department of Health & Human Services about the role of legal interventions in the new health care landscape. Like this for example.  And stay tuned.  Symposium papers will be published in the 2014 edition of Journal of Legal Medicine.

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