Benefits of Healthcare Legal Partnerships Spotlighted at June 1 Conference in St. Paul

Press ReleaseMinnesota's decades of experience combining legal services with healthcare suggest such partnerships make a positive difference in patients' health, reducing healthcare costs by avoiding health crises

A Healthcare Legal Partnership (HLP) is a formal collaboration of health care and legal services providers working together to improve patient health by taking care of unmet legal needs that harm health. Legal services are provided at no additional cost to clients.

Professionals from across the Upper Midwest region will discuss the positive outcomes of HLPs and how to fund, manage and sustain HLPs for long-term success at the Upper Midwest Healthcare Legal Partnership Learning Collaborative conference June 1 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center, 1890 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108.

A group of patients will also discuss how being a part of an HLP, and having an attorney as a member of their care team, was beneficial for their treatment. Two prominent figures in health care and law will highlight the need and opportunities for partnerships between the two fields

Dr. Frank Cerra, former Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota and Senior Advisor to the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, will keynote the conference. His talk is entitled: "Health Requires More than a Team of Healthcare Professionals."

Chris Wendt, a Mayo Clinic attorney, who chairs the Minnesota Legal Services Advisory Committee (LSAC), will close the conference with a discussion of opportunities for the growth of health care legal partnerships in Minnesota. The LSAC is a key funding source for legal aid organizations which serve the growing civil legal needs of low income clients.

Conference speakers will also address changes in health policy and the treatment of undocumented immigrants whom health care providers worry are not seeking necessary care due to fear of deportation. State Senator Jim Abeler, Republican chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, will provide a state policy update following the close of the latest legislative session. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, which has funded four HLPs in the state, is sponsoring the conference along with Cancer Legal Care and the law firm of Stinson Leonard Street.

What: The Upper Midwest Healthcare Legal Partnership Learning Collaborative conference

When: Thursday, June 1. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.

Where: The University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center, 1890 Buford Ave. St. Paul, MN 55108.

Cost: $75, including breakfast and lunch. Discounts are available for students, legal aid attorneys and health care providers working at community clinics.

For more information on the conference, or to register, visit or contact Theresa Hughes, Pro Bono Director, at

About Healthcare Legal Partnerships

Public health leaders like Minnesota Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger estimate that medical care contributes only 10 percent to patients' health, while factors like physical and social environments, genetics, and behavior contribute much more to health.

Addressing legal needs, for instance, to make landlords remove mold or infestations that worsen tenants' asthma, can thereby have a more lasting effect than multiple visits to hospitals or clinics to treat asthma crises. Lawyers working with cancer patients provide individualized services like estate planning, employment issues, health care directives and planning for the care of children that respects the wishes of a dying parent

As noted by Dr. Jerry Kroll of the Community University Health Care Center "sometimes having a lawyer to help someone become a U.S. citizen does more for that patient than writing a prescription."

The major health system serving St. Cloud and its neighboring communities has more than doubled the number of clinics with legal services provided on site after seeing their value.

Fourteen HLPs currently serve Minnesota. The Deinard Legal Clinic, a 24-year collaboration between the Community University Health Care Center and the Stinson Leonard Street law firm, is the oldest in the nation. It is the legacy of two Deinards, father and son, one a lawyer whose firm went on to partner with the family’s pediatrician-son's medical clinic in the early 1990s. Both shared a strong belief in serving low-income families.In 2016, more than 75 firm attorneys and paralegals did pro bono work through the Deinard HLP.

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