Legal Services of New Jersey, 2016
View Presentation (PPTX)
Legal Services of New Jersey’s LAMP project is a medical-legal partnership providing free legal advice and counsel to indigent patients referred from four New Jersey hospitals for civil legal issues. Additionally, LAMP conducts staff trainings at each hospital and spearheads public policy research into the issues that most affect indigent medical patients. The goal of the project is to provide new ways for those in poverty to be connected to the legal aid, and to positively impact social determinants of health.
Civil legal aid agencies are uniquely able to address social determinants of health in ways that can positively impact the standard of life for those living in vulnerable communities. By addressing housing, immigration, education, or benefits issues, civil legal aid societies practice “preventative legal care” and make huge differences in patients’ lives.
In order to function most effectively, medical-legal partnerships rely on the doctors who make referrals; only when the referring doctors have a firm understanding of the types of issues that the project addresses can the project function most effectively. Thus, I was able to indirectly assess the efficacy of LAMP’s trainings by taking statistics on the number of intakes I completed- which referrals included eligible clients and true legal issues and which did not. Referrals that did not were rejected, whereas referrals that did were accepted by LAMP.
- Total intakes handled by PICS intern in 10 weeks: 30
- Number of accepted intakes: 27
- Number of rejected intakes: 3
This indirect measurement of the intakes that I handled throughout my internship indicates that the LAMP’s training programs have been effective, and that doctors at Newark Beth Israel, Jersey City Medical Center, Cooper Health System, and St. Joseph’s understand the appropriate candidates for referrals.
I was only able to draw conclusions from the intakes that I handled; other caseworkers also conducted intakes throughout these 10 weeks.
Continue to use track similar data on a broader scale, eventually use for grant and/or funding applications to ensure that the program continues.