Medical Legal Partnership
In 2017, Legal Aid of Manasota established the community’s first Medical Legal Partnership in collaboration with Sarasota Memorial Internal Medicine Practice at Newtown; a culturally rich, predominantly African American community located in north Sarasota County. For too long, Newtown has struggled with healthcare disparities. While quality medical care is critical, an individual’s health is also determined by social factors including income, employment, health insurance, housing and family stability. Vulnerable communities have less access to basic needs and opportunities. The goal of this Medical Legal Partnership is to create an integrated healthcare delivery system to address racial and low-income health disparities. Lawyers are part of the healthcare team. We are specialists in handling complex policy and legal issues including loss of income and health insurance, struggles paying rent or a mortgage and making end of life decisions. This integrated approach to healthcare brings doctors, lawyers and social workers together to better address health-harming social needs.
We can assist with:
- Public benefits such as social security disability benefits, SSI, and food stamps
- Divorces (75% of breast cancer patients lose the assistance of their spouse or significant other within five years of diagnosis)
- Guardianships where minor children or dependents with substantial disabilities may lose one or both parents.
- Defense against foreclosures, evictions, poor housing conditions, staying in government or subsidized housing, such as public housing and the Section 8 program, fair housing issues such as reasonable accommodations, and dealing with utility problems.
- Obtaining adequate health care services by dealing with health insurance eligibility and coverage, assisting with Medicaid and/or Medicare, navigating the healthcare system with the assistance of trained navigators under the Affordable Care Act, and assisting with the acquisition of medical devices they may need
- Long term planning and end of life decisions, including advance directives and wills
- Employment issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act, family leave, and most recently a cutoff of medical benefits in what appears to be a violation of ERISA.
For additional information and forms on a wide range of legal problems please visit FloridaLawHelp.org.