LegalHealth Training Center of Excellence
Helping Healthcare Professionals Become Better Advocates
Because social, environmental, and behavioral factors account for an estimated 60% of health outcomes, LegalHealth provides healthcare professionals with practical and experiential knowledge, skills, tools and resources to enable participants to better understand the impact of social determinants on health issues, identify the available legal protections and remedies, implement preventive solutions and confidently take action to better advocate for their patients. LegalHealth’s trainings are current and up-to-date and respond to change in law and policy.
Purpose of LegalHealth’s Training
Preventative legal services: The curriculum provides the skills that will enable healthcare professionals – doctors, social workers, case managers, patient navigators, community health workers, and others – to spot situations that could lead to legal problems before they develop
We provide training on many different social determinants of health and partners can choose the courses and modules that meet their particular needs. LegalHealth is also open to expanding the training curriculum to address other topics, per partner request.
Legal services are often helpful for high-risk patients experiencing poverty. Healthcare providers will be trained to identify whether their patients have certain legal issues. They will learn the essential role they play as an advocate and understand that, by directing them to the proper resources, they can help patients bring stability into their lives and improve their health.
There are often legal remedies available to assist patients with obtaining, maintaining, and increasing important benefits, including but not limited to food stamps, public assistance, and Social Security Disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In addition, legal remedies can help patients navigate employment complexities that can lead to more job security, as well as other potential sources of income. Benefits and improved income help low-income individuals afford medication and other out of pocket expenses, while keeping up with current bills and maintaining healthy food options.
Many healthcare providers are unaware that numerous uninsured and underinsured individuals are eligible to obtain insurance coverage. This training will address two populations. First, the uninsured undocumented immigrants for whom immigration relief may exist to establish State Medicaid eligibility through PRUCOL. Second, individuals who are over income or resource guidelines, but who may qualify for Medicaid with a Spend-Down or enrolling in the Medicaid Buy-In for the Working Disabled. Helping patients obtain coverage that they otherwise would not have had affords them the opportunity to seek continued care after they are discharged from the hospital with a primary care physician, and avoid unnecessary visits to the ED.
Housing stability is important for maintaining health among individuals with chronic diseases. Studies have found that homelessness, as well as discharge to a shelter or the streets, are associated with a higher risk of readmission. Healthcare professionals will learn about the various remedies available for patients with housing problems such as eviction prevention, housing conditions remediation, and subsidies.
If patients do not have a safe living environment, they will likely experience a great deal of stress and will not focus on their health. Healthcare providers will learn about risks that may be facing their patients – such as domestic violence, elder abuse, and human trafficking – and the potential remedies available. Once these issues are resolved, the patient can focus on improving their health rather than trying to deal with complex and worrying nonmedical issues on their own.
Legal issues can be very overwhelming for patients, particularly when an individual is simultaneously experiencing a challenging behavioral health condition. Healthcare providers will learn about the types of issues that can affect their patients with substance abuse or mental health concerns – such as housing and benefits concerns, health and legal decision-making – and learn ways to help their patients through those problems.
This training addresses the needs of patients receiving palliative care services either in the community or in a hospital setting. It follows the continuum of needs from those who have chronic serious medical concerns to those patients at the end of life. Advance planning is discussed with a particular focus on wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies and guardianship for seriously ill parents of minor children. This training also discusses Medicare and Medicaid in the context of a geriatric practice as well as legal decision making for the elderly patient. There is a focus on the ethical issues that arise in each of these topics.
Immigrant status can greatly affect a person’s health and well being. A person’s citizenship status affects eligibility for benefits like Medicaid, the likelihood of having a job that offers benefits such as insurance coverage, and the probability that a patient will seek financial benefits and legal protections which can in turn affect their health. Additionally, living in a state of fear of being arrested or deported can prevent a patient from seeking medical treatment and the related stress can cause significant physical and mental concerns. This module provides an understanding of the types of immigration statuses patients may have and possible immigration remedies, a brief overview of immigrant eligibility for benefits, a discussion of the current immigration climate patients are facing and how to address patients’ fears, and finally tools advocates can use to help immigrant patients, which includes an understanding of when a legal referral is appropriate.
This training addresses the Advance Planning needs of patients who are seriously ill or may soon be reaching the end of life. The ability of a patient to consent will be reviewed, as will advance planning documents, with a particular focus on wills, powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and guardianship for seriously ill parents of minor children.
A legal determination of capacity or incapacity plays an enormous role in the ability to treat and care for patients. A solid understanding of capacity, options for patients that do not have capacity, and the legal process necessary when a patient does not have capacity, can significantly improve a practitioners ability to design and execute a plan of care.
Veteran status can have significant impact on an individual’s health. Despite the significant challenges facing the veteran population, few healthcare providers in New York screen for veteran status. Learning of a patient’s prior military history can open the door to eligibility for a myriad of benefits that are not otherwise available to the civilian population. These benefits exist in the areas of housing, income maximization, health, immigration, and education. This training educates healthcare professionals on the importance of screening for veteran status, how to screen effectively and sensitively, and the benefits available for veterans once identified.
Feedback from Healthcare Professionals We've Trained:
- “I will provide better service to my clients as a result of this training.”
- “This information is vital to the population that we serve.”
- “The training touched on all areas of services that my clients need help with.”
- “[I’m] better informed, can use information to help our patients and others!”
- “[I’m] more knowledgeable of different resources and steps to take in different scenarios.”
- “I will be more confident as I make recommendations to patients.”