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Addressing Health-Harming Legal Needs & 
Reinforcing the Commitment to Health Equity

A Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) is the integration of medical and legal professionals who work together to improve patient experiences and outcomes. In a Medical-Legal Partnership, medical providers and legal aid lawyers work to address the various medical and legal health needs of patients.

Mothers and their Baby


Today, the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships (NCMLP) guides "education, research, and technical assistance efforts" to aid health organizations in leveraging available civil legal services. 

Currently, Medical-Legal Partnerships operate in 46 states and counting. 

In 2016, 75,000 patients with legal issues harming their health received help from medical-legal partnerships in their state. 

In 2016, 11,000 health care professionals were trained to recognize and screen patients for health-harming legal needs.

In a 2016 survey conducted by NCMLP, of healthcare organizations reporting benefits of MLP services: 

  • 86% reported improved health outcomes for patients

  • 64% reported improved patient compliance with medical treatment

  • 38% reported improved ability to perform "at the top of their license" 

(National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships)


The first recorded case of a formed medical-legal partnership happened in 1993 between Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Greater Boston Legal Services. 

Boston Medical Center consistently saw cases where pediatric asthma patients repeatedly returned to the hospital. 

Investigating the cause, the BMC team discovered the underlying problem involved moldy apartment buildings and landlords refusing to comply with sanitary codes. 

BMC contacted the Greater Boston Legal Services for aid to resolve this legal issue. 

Fast forward to 2001, a grassroots movement of Medical-Legal Partnerships occurred due to a New York Times article about  BMC's partnership. 

As the number of medical-legal partnerships increased, a need arose for a coordinated effort for resources. 

To fill this void, the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships (NCMLP) was founded in 2006


(National Association of Community Health Centers, Community Health Forum, 2014)

Weathered Man

©2022 by MLP-Illinois. Sponsored by Loyola's Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy 

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