Doctors pair up with lawyers to find cures for those in need

In St. Louis, attorneys for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri are making the rounds at community health clinics to help patients whose health issues may need a legal remedy.
News Story (Missouri)

Durrie Bouscaren
St. Louis Public Radio
October 12, 2016

Tags: Medical-Legal Partnerships

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM)


“I just think it’s the future of where medical care is going. Doctors can treat symptoms but there’s certain social issues that they can’t treat, so that’s where we can step in,” staff attorney Lauren Hamvas said during an outreach session at Family Care Health Centers in the Carondelet neighborhood of St. Louis.

At any point in time, Hamvas and her colleagues represent about a hundred people in the St. Louis region who came to them through the program. Hundreds more have come in for consultations. They handle issues like disputes with landlords, if mold or roaches are affecting a tenant’s health. Sometimes clients ask for help to resolve challenges filing for Medicaid or Social Security benefits.

Sometimes, patients will reveal information to their doctor that they won’t tell anyone else. In one case, program director Amanda Schneider worked with a patient who was trying to leave an abusive relationship.

“We were able to advise her of all of her options, just lay it out there on the table,” Schneider said. “At this time she’s decided to stay, but I think we have empowered her to know what her options are in the future.”