Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Statewide Replication of Medical-Legal Partnerships

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

November 11, 2010








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).

LegalHealth carefully selected the following partnerships to ensure capacity and leadership ability to implement the project:

  • Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County – Strong Memorial Hospital;
  • Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee/Palliative Care Team at Stony Brook;
  • Syracuse Law School – SUNY Upstate Medical University; and
  • Legal Services of the Hudson Valley – White Plains Hospital.

LegalHealth is providing each of these four MLPs with technical assistance covering areas such as program design, sustainability, design of financial measurement tools, outcome evaluations, and guidance in trainings for health care professionals. LegalHealth is also coordinating the statewide coalition and seeking creation of new funding streams that would support the establishment of more MLPs.