According to the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, one in six Americans has a civil legal problem that negatively affects his or her health. Carolinas Medical-Legal Partnership (CMLP) is a collaborative effort that helps connect eligible patients in our community with legal services providers who can assist them in navigating civil legal issues. The legal team, which consists of attorneys from Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Legal Aid of North Carolina, works with health care providers to identify and prioritize health-harming problems that can be solved by legal action, including poor housing conditions or the wrongful denial of public benefits. The partnership relies extensively on the assistance of pro bono attorneys to provide representation to clients. By addressing these legal needs, lawyers help alleviate obstacles to good health and give patients peace of mind during a difficult time in their lives.
Our Year to Date Stats 2017:
The partnership is currently accepting referrals from health care providers at CMC Myers Park, CMC Biddle Point, Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital, and Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute.
Health care providers at these organizations may refer a patient by filling out the referral form and emailing or faxing it to a member of the legal team.
How can I help expedite my patient’s referral?
- Include relevant information in the referral form. Let us know about any deadlines or hearing dates that are coming up.
- Attach additional pages with more information.
- If a Medicaid, NCHC, Food Stamp or Work First issue, patient may sign the Authorization to Release Information form (also available in Spanish).
- If a Wills referral, patient may fill out the Asset Valuation Worksheet (Spanish) and Estate Planning Questionnaire (Spanish)
Note: The forms above must accompany a referral. Please attach a copy of the original referral form if already submitted to ensure the documents are matched to the correct case.
Debbie: Access to benefits and peace of mind during end of life care
Debbie* was in the middle of chemotherapy treatment for brain cancer when she learned that her Medicaid coverage and food stamps had been terminated. Lekeesha Miller-Jackson, clinical supervisor and social worker with Levine Cancer Institute, referred her to Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for assistance in January. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy successfully appealed the Medicaid termination and obtained retroactive Medicaid coverage for Debbie which will cover more than $245,000 in medical expenses. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy was also able to challenge the food stamp termination, obtaining over $1,500 in benefits and a $230 per month prospective increase in the allotment for Debbie’s family. In February, Debbie stopped treatment and was transferred to hospice. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy obtained services from a pro bono attorney to prepare a will and other estate documents for Debbie and her husband. Following Debbie’s death, we continue to work with Debbie’s husband to address his ongoing legal needs with Social Security. The hard work and collaboration between Debbie’s social worker and attorneys from the Medical Legal Partnership brought valuable piece of mind to a family going through the difficult task of facing end of life care.
Carmen: Path to citizenship for child with developmental disabilities
Carmen* was referred to the Medical Legal Partnership following an emergency surgery that was not covered by Medicaid. Carmen is an undocumented 13-year-old girl who was born with a congenital disease. She is completely dependent on her single mother for all her activities of daily living because the rare disease prevents her from speaking, walking or eating by herself. Outside CHS counsel decided not to appeal the emergency Medicaid denial and patient financial services wrote the debt off as charity care. Lynn Puma, clinical social worker at Levine Children’s Hospital, referred Carmen to the CMLP. Following the referral, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy completed intake with Carmen’s mother and discovered that her father abandoned the family. This abandonment will allow her mother to pursue a custody order. If granted, Carmen will be able to apply for a legal status called Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy identified a pro bono attorney who will represent Carmen and her mother during this process. Once an application for SIJS is filed, Carmen will be able to access full Medicaid benefits moving forward so that she can obtain ongoing treatment and in-home care services which will allow her mother to return to work.
*Names changed to protect client identity.
Please contact Elizabeth Garcia firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Carolinas Medical-Legal Partnership.