This course will examine the intersection of law, health and public policy as applied through medical-legal partnerships. An emerging national trend poised to expand under the implementation of health care reform, Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs) represent a new service delivery model designed to improve patient outcomes by addressing social determinants of health. Under the MLP model, public interest lawyers provide legal services to low-income patients identified by health care professionals in the clinic or hospital setting where the prescription for better health requires legal assistance. For example, a physician may refer a patient to a MLP when habitability issues unaddressed by the patient's landlord cause a patient to suffer from asthma or respiratory problems. This course will survey how particular legal and social issues impact health and how these issues can best be addressed in the health care setting. The course will draw on specific case examples from the Right to Health Project, the MLP operated by Bet Tzedek Legal Services and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theory of MLPs in a real-world setting and will learn directly from legal and medical practitioners in the field who see the manifestations of poverty every day. Students are required to attend a tour of St. Francis Medical Center on September 10, 2013 from 3-6 p.m. In addition, students must spend an additional half day at St. Francis Medical Center volunteering with the Right to Health Project to fulfill the course service learning requirement.
The law school may be offering a clinical course in the spring semester in which students would work on-site to implement the Right to Health Project at St. Francis Medical Center and/or St. Vincent Medical Center and to work with individual community members served by the Project. Satisfactory completion of Law 608 would be pre-requisite to enrollment in the clinic.