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Medical-Legal Partnership as a Component of a Palliative Care Model

By: Kerry J. Rodabaugh, Dawn Myszka, Maureen Hammond, Megan Sandel

Previous work has demonstrated the need for legal services and its impact on the quality of life for patients affected by cancer. The need for access to legal services within the continuum of care for oncology patients is increasingly being documented in the literature. A 2006 survey by the Lance Armstrong Foundation detailed the barriers to care for oncology patients by unresolved legal issues, often affecting low-income patient–clients. When patients are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, questions frequently arise that many physicians feel ill-equipped to answer, including whether patients need a last will and testament, are eligible for disability benefits, or should appeal insurance denials.

The purpose of this study is to quantify the benefits of one medical–legal partnership (MLP) for patients (through addressing unmet legal needs and thereby avoiding economic hardship), and for the institution (in the form of health care dollars recovered). Two case studies describe how legal intervention can impact the delivery of palliative care as part of a comprehensive palliative care program.

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Uploaded on: Dec 17, 2015
Year Published: 2010
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