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CLS, PHMC, and Clarifi Form Medical-Legal Partnership

CLS, PHMC, and Clarifi Form Medical-Legal Partnership

PHMC’s Rising Sun Health Center is the first health center in the nation to offer on-site medical, legal and financial services to patients. For more information, please contact Veronica Mikitka Reed at vmikitka@mavenagency.com or  215-434-7194.               

PHILADELPHIA (March 9, 2015) --- Public Health Management Corporation’s (PHMC) Rising Sun Health Center is breaking new ground as the first federally qualified health center in the nation to offer integrated legal and financial services.

The financial services will be provided by PHMC affiliate, Clarifi, a non-profit community resource devoted to the region’s lifelong financial literacy. Legal services will be provided through a partnership with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia (CLS), which provides free legal services, in civil matters, to low-income Philadelphians.

"For more than 30 years PHMC has provided quality medical care for individuals in our region. But sometimes medical care alone isn’t enough. By adding these legal and financial support services at Rising Sun Health Center we are further committing to our mission to extend assistance to vulnerable communities," said Melissa Fox, Senior Managing Director of Health at PHMC.

This holistic care model works not only to address the health issues of vulnerable citizens, but also helps them understand and receive support regarding other issues that influence their health.

To determine if a patient needs these particular services, he/she must answer brief screening questions regarding legal and financial issues that might be affecting his/her health and well-being. Questions focus on issues such as denial of health care for the patient’s family and overall ability to pay bills. In the future, the screening process will also include questions about housing and identity impending eviction. These questions will be used to determine if a referral to an attorney or financial counselor is needed.

The legal services offered on-site (Monday and Thursday) include public benefits, such as help obtaining food stamps, help with utility issues (power being shut off), help with health care and insurance issues and advocacy for patients declined insurance. If a patient’s needs are outside these issues, he/she will be referred to another attorney at CLS who may be able to help.

“Partnering with Rising Sun Health Center allows us to reach a community that is not only geographically distant from legal services, but also faces other barriers to access. Many of the patients at the clinic are immigrants with limited English proficiency and many are working families. The medical-legal partnership provides a unique opportunity for us to reach this underserved community where they are at and also to incorporate preventative legal work into our current model. Most people come through CLS’s doors when they are in crisis mode. At the MLP, providers screen for legal issues before patients may know that a lawyer could help solve their problem. I provide brief advice in many situations that prevents the need for a lawyer later down the line,” said CLS Attorney Lydia Gottesfeld.

The financial services offered on-site (Monday, Tuesday, Friday) by Clarifi include budgeting, improving credit, foreclosure assistance, how to handle medical debt, and help understanding the premiums for the newly insured.

Funding for this project was provided by Independence Foundation, Public Health Fund, and The Rose Foundation.

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About PHMC Health Network
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. The PHMC health network consists of five nurse-managed, federally qualified health centers offering affordable, high-quality, patient centered health services to communities throughout the Philadelphia area, including public housing populations and individuals experiencing homelessness. They share a simple mission: to provide comprehensive primary health care, family planning, disease management, social services and more to men, women and children. Nurse-managed health clinics are staffed by advanced practice nurses and an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals working in collaboration with the community to serve as a medical home and safety net provider for America's underserved communities, regardless of a patient's ability to pay. The PHMC health network is committed to its Beyond Care concept, a holistic, patient-centered approach to quality care provided by experts who organize care around the community's needs. Three locations have certification by the National Centers for Quality Assurance as a Patient Centered Medical Home. PHMC is also home to the National Nursing Centers Consortium, a network of over 250 nurse-managed health centers nationally. For more information visit www.phmc.org and www.phmchealthnetwork.org.

About Community Legal Services

Community Legal Services, Inc. was established by the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1966. Since then, CLS has provided legal services to more than one million low-income Philadelphia residents, representing them in individual cases and class actions, and advocating on their behalf for improved regulations and laws that affect low-income Philadelphians. As the city's largest provider of free legal services, CLS assists more than 11,500 of Philadelphia’s poorest residents with their legal problems each year. For more information, contact 215-981-3700 or visit www.clsphila.org.

About Clarifi

Clarifi is a nonprofit organization that has been working since 1966 to help thousands of individuals identify and secure the most important assets in their lives. Formerly named Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley, Clarifi partners with other local nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, schools and local, state and national government agencies to impact more people and communities throughout the region. Clarifi believes that everyone should have access to the information and technology required to take control of their personal financial wellbeing, no matter their economic status. To learn more about Clarifi, visit www.clarifi.org.

Date: 
03/09/2015