Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

New York Legal Assistance Group

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

July 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

September 17, 2010–March 30, 2012

Health care reform has created a greater need for legal assistance to navigate new rules and regulations.

As many as 2.7 million New York State residents who do not currently have health insurance will be able to obtain affordable coverage through the Health Benefit Exchange once health reform is fully implemented. Many newly insured patients could potentially have multiple unmet legal needs related to issues ranging from housing to family law and more. In anticipation of the passage of a bill that would establish a medical/health-legal partnership program to address these needs within the New York State Department of Health, LegalHealth—a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group—initiated the New York State Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Expansion Project. LegalHealth intended to increase delivery of free legal resources to low-income health care consumers through the expansion of three existing MLPs and the creation of a new one. In September 2010, NYHealth awarded LegalHealth a grant to support the formation of the New York State Coalition of Medical-Legal Partnerships (the Coalition).

The four selected MLPs serve diverse populations in regions across the State: Syracuse Medical-Legal Partnerships, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV), Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, and Nassau Suffolk Law Services Committee. Each MLP received NYHealth funding, technical assistance, and training in sustainability strategies.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Helped three MLPs fully implement their services and put in place steps to make their programs financially sustainable beyond the grant period. LSHV did not successfully launch at its targeted hospital, but was trying to collaborate with another health care facility.
  • Provided technical assistance to the MLP partners, starting with a two-day meeting in which the partners visited LegalHealth clinics and observed client intake; and
  • Continued its leadership of the Coalition, encouraging MLPs to become designated under the New York State Department of Health’s Health-Related Legal Services program.