Contact: Jamie Ware at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215.731.7142

July 1, 2013

Medical-legal model improves health outcomes by integrating attorneys into healthcare teams

The National Nursing Centers Consortium has received a three-year, $601,200 grant from The Kresge Foundation to expand medical-legal partnerships into its network of over 200 nurse-led health centers across the country.

The "Nurse-MLP Initiative" is a partnership between the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC), an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), Philadelphia's Legal Clinic for the Disabled (LCD), the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (National Center), and Abbottsford Falls Clinic at the Family Practice and Counseling Network (FPCN), a network of nurse-led clinics in Philadelphia.

The highly successful medical-legal partnership model improves health outcomes for low-income individuals by integrating attorneys into healthcare teams to address health-related legal needs, such as unsafe housing or food insecurity. "The Nurse-MLP Initiative provides us with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate how effective medical-legal partnerships can be in the nurse-led setting," said Jamie Ware, attorney and NNCC's Policy Director and Initiative Co-Director. "Our objective as an organization and as the Nurse-MLP Initiative is to improve the lives of clinic patients across the country, and this project allows us to do that."

"Many of the individuals who walk through our door have issues well beyond those of their physical health. In some cases it is obvious that a person's medical situation cannot improve until other elements in their life are addressed, which up until this point have been beyond our capabilities," said Michelle Lehr O'Connell, Center Director at Abbottsford Falls. "Providing access to a legal professional can potentially make a world of difference in the lives of our patients."

"Many social determinants to health are legal in nature and must be addressed in order to advance positive health outcomes," said Ben Beck-Coon, staff attorney for LCD and Initiative Co-Director. "In my experience, including attorneys as part of a healthcare treatment team enables a prompt, holistic response, thereby reducing stress and ultimately promoting health. LCD looks forward to continuing its work with NNCC and FPCN to promote this important Nurse-MLP Initiative throughout the country."

During the first year of the project the partners are tasked with creating a toolkit and budget model based on the existing nurse-led MLP at FPCN that will then be used to implement additional partnerships in the Nurse-MLP Initiative, including Glide Health Services in San Francisco and St. Vincent's Nurse-Managed Health Clinic in Galveston, TX.

The Nurse-MLP Initiative staff will also work with NNCC to disseminate information about the benefits of the medical-legal model throughout NNCC's national network with the goal of recruiting an additional five nurse-managed health clinics to adopt the model and become part of the project within three years.

In addition, the Initiative staff will endeavor to promote positive change in patients' lives through policy initiatives and create a permanent home for Nurse-MLP technical assistance at NNCC. Throughout the project the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships will contribute ongoing technical assistance.

Based in suburban Detroit, The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America's cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, work in the environment, health, human services and community development efforts in Detroit. The grant comes from the foundation's Health Program, which works to reduce health disparities among children and adults by addressing conditions that lead to poor health outcomes. In 2012, Kresge's Board of Trustees approved 410 awards totaling $130.5 million; $150.3 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. For more information, visit


About NNCC
The National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC), the national member organization for nurse-managed health centers, and an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), works to advance nurse-led health care through policy, consultation, programs and applied research to reduce health disparities and meet people's primary care and wellness needs. Nurse-managed health centers are community-based practices led by advanced practice nurses (primarily nurse practitioners). The nation's nurse-managed health centers reduce health disparities by providing high quality comprehensive primary health care, health promotion, and disease prevention services to millions of uninsured, under-insured and vulnerable patients in rural, urban, and suburban communities. For more information on NNCC, visit

About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit

About LCD
LCD is a Philadelphia-based legal services organization offering free high-quality legal assistance to low-income people with physical disabilities. LCD is a leader of MLP development in the Philadelphia region and partners with FPCN, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Hahnemann Hospital and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in medical-legal partnerships. For more information on LCD visit

About FPCN
FPCN, headquartered in Philadelphia, is part of the national human services non-profit Resources for Human Development. FPCN is a network of health centers providing primary care, behavioral health education, prenatal care, dental care, and community outreach services. Primary care Certified Nurse Practitioners and licensed behavioral health professionals provide high quality care aimed at improving the health status of the underserved, uninsured and vulnerable people.