Step-By-Step Toolkit to Implementing the MLP Model

If you’re new to the world of Medical-Legal Partnership or wanting to go a little deeper, you are probably after some concrete resources that step it all out.

The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership is a treasure trove of links and resources that will get you on your way.

For a succinct introduction to MLP that you can download and distribute, check out the bifold here.

BUT, wait for it, for the  Step-By-Step Toolkit to Implementing the MLP Model you’re going to have to work a little harder (but not much!)

The toolkit covers the essentials like:

  • Finding Your MLP Partner
  • Implementing the Core Components of MLP
  • Demonstrating MLP Impact
  • Funding and Sustainability and
  • Planning your MLP

Here’s a teaser on The Seven Essentials of MLP courtesy of Dr Megan Sandel, Interim Executive Director from the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership to prompt you through to the link:

The Seven Essential Elements of MLP

MLPs may vary broadly from program to program in size and scope. Each program across the MLP Network, however, shares the common goal of improving the health and well-being of vulnerable people. Over the years of sharing this common goal, the MLP Network has created seven essential elements of a functioning medical-legal partnership. Thinking about incorporating as many elements as possible while developing a new MLP site will allow you to plan for the future and engage in the activities that make MLP an innovative model.

1. Joint Planning

Health and legal partners are committed to working together, from the earliest stages of program development, through implementation and expansion to ensure their patient-clients are receiving the most comprehensive care possible. Joint planning also allows partners to set real expectations of each other and engage equally in MLP activities. Over time, MLP team members build collaborative working relationships and experiences regarding barriers to basic needs.

2. Priority-Setting

When developing a new MLP program, partners often begin by focusing on a single legal issue area in which the attorneys have the most expertise, and expand to new issues as they grow. MLPs also focus on specific patient populations to utilize the expertise of the healthcare providers on the MLP team.

3. Communication/Feedback

MLP partners keep each other informed of the health and legal outcomes of their intervention to ensure they are providing efficient, coordinated care to patient-clients. Consent forms introduced during patient-client intake are used to protect privacy.

4. On-site Legal Services

To achieve true integration, a lawyer or paralegal is on-site at the healthcare institution as a member of the clinical team for a certain amount of time each week. Hours of on-site operations will vary among programs and accommodations may be necessary in rural areas.

5. Healthcare Training

MLP attorneys and healthcare providers train medical residents, students and other professionals in-training on topics including social determinants of health and preventive law to build their capacity to recognize legal needs that may have legal remedies.

6. Evaluation/Impact

MLP programs work with the National Center and the MLP Network to develop an evaluation plan that will demonstrate the impact their programs have on the community. Communicating impact through program evaluation engages community stakeholders and even potential funders.

7. Systems Improvement

Although many MLPs start out with a primary focus on direct service, they are most successful when they plan for systems improvement in the future. This can start with healthcare training and evolve to special program resources, like toolkits, to address specific legal needs. Over time, MLP staff dedicate more time and resources to improving internal and external systems that can positively impact vulnerable populations.” 1

Peter Noble

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