The Doctor’s New Prescription: A Lawyer

According to an article from The New York Times, many elders have never filled out power-of-attorney documents nor have they chosen a family member to make health care decisions on their behalf. These senior citizens need lawyers to help them with the public benefits they may be entitled to, such as food stamps. The concerns here are how the patient will physically get themselves to the attorney’s office or how they will pay the hourly fee for the attorney. A simple solution to this problem has been discovered by the Lakeside Senior Medical Center, an outpatient clinic at the University of California, San Francisco. Physicians do an initial screening about the patients problems and history and essentially write a prescription. A partnership between the U.C. Hasting law students and the U.C.S.F. faculty has allowed the clinic to offer legal help to their patients. The students accompany the patients to local law offices to help them obtain the benefits they deserve. Sometimes these students will even make house calls which helps the patient feel more comfortable. 100 medical-legal partnerships are currently functioning at health care institutions and universities around the country. This helps confirm the idea that there are not only biological factors that contribute to our health, but social and economic factors as well. If you believe you or an elderly loved one is entitled to public benefits, contact us for a free appraisal.