Fast forward to the Affordable Care Act of 2014 under which the reform of healthcare includes addressing the social determinants of health. In New York City, this was already understood. By 2014, every public hospital had a LegalHealth clinic, as well as most of the major hospital systems and two VA Hospitals. Today, we’re on the cusp of being integrated into additional provider systems under a State Medicaid reform program that hopes to bring medical and social services together to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent.
This growth was unimaginable when we started 15 years ago, nor could we have imagined the dedicated team of attorneys, paralegals and others who have been with us through the years, the supportive healthcare professionals who have referred patients they knew could benefit from legal services, and the foundations, hospitals and State and City governments who have funded our work. Together we have demonstrated that we can impact health outcomes for vulnerable people when a lawyer is part of the care team.