Hofstra University School and Law and Northwell Health have formed a forensic partnership to alleviate the various social barriers that affect the health of their patients.
The program, which has been in the works for more than a year, will launch on July 15 at the Northwell Pediatric Clinic in New Hyde Park, its internal medicine clinic in Great Neck and its ambulatory care center at the Jewish North Hospital. Shore Long Island in Reines.
Johanna Martinez, Co-Director of Medicine for the Forensic Partnership, pitched the idea to Northwell and said it was a perfect fit, given the institution’s already established relationship with Hofstra University.
Forensic partnerships exist in 373 healthcare organizations nationwide, including 31 in New York state, but this will be the first on Long Island, according to the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. George Washington University.
The organization states that 60 percent of a person’s access to health care is determined by social factors, such as income and health insurance, housing conditions, level of education or employment, legal status and family life. Hofstra and Northwell intend to provide legal aid in addition to medical treatment to ensure quality access to health care for all patients.
“What we’re going to do is integrate lawyers into various Northwell clinics so they can provide on-the-ground legal support to patients who need it,” said Anthony Serrano, Legal Program Co-Executive Director and Principal Investigator. . at the Hofstra Law School.
Hofstra School of Law scholarship students are conducting research to better identify and understand the social needs of patients and, said Dean Gail Prudenti, “we are going to have lawyers and doctors who learn from each other and their disciplines. . ”
Jean Krebs is a Hofstra student and resident of Queens with a personal connection to Northwell Health. As an infant, Krebs underwent open heart surgery for heart complications and throughout her life required frequent monitoring at her local clinic in Northwell Health. When she heard about the partnership, she jumped at the chance, saying, “It is more important than ever that these worlds come together. ”
Krebs said patients might not know what legal resources exist or be afraid to seek legal help to resolve a medical issue. For example, she said, some insurance companies don’t offer coverage for gender-affirming surgery because those providers don’t see it as a medical necessity. The partnership could provide transgender patients with the tools to find coverage.
Another example of where the partnership could provide counseling involves immigrant patients applying for U.S. citizenship. “I think there is a great fear to come forward and see a doctor when your immigration status might be challenged,” Prudenti said. “We will be able to discuss with [such patients] confidently, earn their trust and respect, then refer them to our Deportation Defense Clinic or Immigration Clinic. We are already set up to help them on a very practical and pragmatic level.
As the two entities prepare for the launch of the program, they are considering how they could make the program sustainable and what it could look like in five to ten years. It is funded for the next two years by a state grant of $ 512,000 through the New York State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program.
Prudenti said data collection is imperative as a way to measure the success of the partnership and secure future funding. She predicted that the partnership would grow, adding, “I only see a bright future.”