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What Are Medical-Legal Partnerships?

Modern medicine is always changing. From lifesaving drugs to ground-breaking surgical methods, medicine is always growing and changing to improve the lives of people everywhere. But what drives these changes, and how can medical communities work to improve their patients? This is where a Medical-legal partnership or MLP can come in. A Medical-Legal Partnership is when a board of health care directors and leaders work in tandem with legal professionals. Together they use their combined knowledge and expertise to better serve patients by identifying and preventing the legal needs of the patient population that is not being adequately met.

How a Medical-Legal Partnership Can Benefit Patients

A Medical-Legal partnership is a modern approach to addressing the needs of vulnerable patients. This is managed by a two-prong approach within the hospital or health clinic management. One approach is the obvious medical approach, which involves the health care providers. The other approach is a legal expert such as a lawyer. These two can work together to benefit vulnerable patients and solve problems to prevent further need for medical care. For example, if a patient is denied coverage by their insurance carrier, a healthcare provider may not be able to help, but a lawyer can use their expertise to intervene on behalf of the patient. A lawyer can also be useful for minor patients with guardianship issues. They can even work with a patient to fight a landlord who refuses to fix housing issues that are causing the patient physical harm. 

This approach not only benefits vulnerable and at-risk communities but also saves money by preventing the need to repeatedly treat health problems caused by legal issues. 

How MLP Organizations Work in Hospitals and Clinics

By combining the efforts of healthcare professionals and lawyers, a Medical-Legal Partnership can provide help to those who really need it. These vulnerable populations are often underserved and can be overlooked by medical care alone. There are also some situations that medical care simply cannot resolve, but legal assistance can. In the USA, there are approximately 290 hospitals and health clinics with Medical-Legal Partnership teams. 

Medical-Legal Partnerships Benefit Both Health Care Systems and The Community

Because Medical-Legal Partnerships are a new concept, there isn’t a lot of research yet on how MLPs benefit hospitals and the community. Currently, several large health organizations, such as the Children’s National Health System and the Health Law Partnership, are working together, along with several other medical schools and legal aid organizations, to measure the success of Medical-Legal Partnerships. Their metrics of success are not only community health improvement and educational outcomes but also health care cost savings and institutional benefits. After all, preventative care will always be less expensive than emergency care, and if legal assistance can prevent emergency care in a community, it will likely lessen health costs overall. 

Nursing Expert Witnesses and Medical-Legal Partnerships

What kind of experts should work on a Medical-Legal Partnership? Obviously, lawyers who are well versed in medical malpractice law, as well as a general practice, are useful for the legal side of the partnership. Physicians and surgeons, as well as other hospital officials, are also important for the medical side. 

However, this is not enough to provide a well-rounded Medical-Legal Partnership team. Nurse Expert Witnesses should also be considered for a Medical Legal Partnership for a wide range of reasons. One is that a nurse expert witness is already well versed in the medical world. Specifically well versed in the realm of nursing and nursing practice. They can provide insight into situations that involve nursing standards of care. Ideally, a nursing expert witness will have several years of experience both in a clinical setting as well as in a leadership role. 

A nurse expert witness will also have knowledge of the law and medical malpractice cases from their time as an expert witness. Because medical expert witnesses work with the legal team to build all aspects of a case, they will be familiar with the ins and outs of legal work and will be able to assist in medical error prevention as well as medical malpractice prevention among nursing staff. 

Legal Medical Consulting in Dallas TX

Are you considering a Medical-Legal Partnership for your hospital or health clinic? Are you looking for someone to consult on medical error prevention and nursing leadership? Consider Legal Medical Consulting. Based out of Dallas TX, Legal Medical Consulting is run by Dr. McNew, who has over 34 years of experience in healthcare operations, nursing, and clinical care. Give us a call or check out our website today to see how legal medical consulting can help your business. 

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