The Miami Valley MLPC was developed by local pediatricians and legal services programs to serve low-income pediatric patients and their families in a medical setting. The program began in 2012 at Dayton Children's Hospital and since has grown to serve Five Rivers Health Centers and the Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton.
The MLPC provides training to medical and legal providers on identifying legal and social issues which impact health and patient advocacy skills, in-house holistic legal services to pediatric patients and their families, and advocacy on systemic cases, issues, and policies which impact child health and well-being.
Since 2012, the MLPC has received more than 600 referrals and accepted hundreds of cases, assisting pediatric patients and their families with various legal matters including obtaining access to health care, public benefits, safe and affordable housing, appropriate special education services, securing custody for relative caregivers, and resolving health related consumer matters.
The MLPC also engages in significant systemic advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities advocating for improved child find policies, appropriate disciplinary practices for students with mental health and behavioral health related disabilities, and improved services and accommodations for students with disabilities.
During 2016, the MLPC received 122 referrals from pediatric medical and mental health providers. The MLPC worked on nearly 150 cases and closed 106 cases. Twenty-five cases were carried over from 2015. Of the cases closed, the MLPC successfully resolved 52 cases, achieving 117 positive outcomes, providing assistance to 47 families and four individuals and obtaining $46,000 in financial benefits for patients and families.
Cases which were handled resulted in:
The Miami Valley MLPC is modeled after the first formal medical-legal partnership developed at the Boston Medical Center by Dr. Barry Zuckerman in 1993. Since that time, the idea of medical providers and lawyers working together to address the health impacts of poverty and health disparities has spread throughout the country.
The medical-legal partnership model has been endorsed in resolutions by the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
ABLE attorneys and advocates with the MLPC have been able to provide continued services to children and families in Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, Darke and Miami counties thanks to generous support from Five Rivers Health Centers, Dayton Children's Hospital, CareSource Foundation, Mathile Family Foundation, The Iddings Foundation, Reynolds & Reynolds Associate Foundation, United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, Rotary Club of Dayton, and The Physicians' Charitable Foundation of the Miami Valley.
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) are non-profit regional law firms that provide high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
By providing access to legal services through a trusted environment, such as a medical clinic, the MLPC reaches families who often do not realize they have legal rights or know how to access an attorney. Approximately 75 percent of MLPC clients have never before requested services from legal aid.
Dayton Children's Hospital is a not-for-profit 155-bed regional pediatric referral center and is the only facility in the region devoted to the health, safety and information needs of children and their families. The hospital's primary mission is to provide quality health care for children from infancy through adolescence in a supportive environment, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
As a regional referral center, Dayton Children's serves a 20-county region that includes Ohio and eastern Indiana. Dayton Children's is affiliated with Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton (CHCGD) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 through a collaboration between local hospital systems and Public Health—Dayton & Montgomery County. The CHCGD is devoted to improving lives by providing quality primary and preventive health care services to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay.
In December of 2006, the Combined Health District of Montgomery County (since renamed Public Health—Dayton & Montgomery County) began collaborative efforts with Kettering Health Network and Premier Health Partners to establish a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Dayton. At that time, Dayton was Ohio’s only metropolitan area whose general population lacked such a facility. An application for FQHC status for CHCGD was submitted in December 2007. Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton was awarded FQHC status in March, 2009.
Five Rivers Health Centers began on May 23, 2011 as a medical home for low-income patients of Dayton by providing both primary and specialty care services to patients through the academic rotations for the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (WSUBSOM) residency and fellowship programs.
As the 10th largest Federally Qualified Health Center in Ohio, Five Rivers Health Centers provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care at eight Dayton locations.
Five Rivers Health Centers currently serve more than 20,000 patients per year with over 78,000 visits in the Greater Dayton community.