Laramie County Community Partnership and HealthWorks have joined forces to create Wyoming’s first Medical-Legal Partnership. The HealthWorks Medical-Legal Partnership brings free legal assistance to low-income patients who are experiencing legal problems. Patients at HealthWorks will have access to an onsite attorney, who will address legal concerns related to public benefits, health insurance, housing, domestic violence, employment, education, consumer/debt issues, family law, and more.
2508 E. Fox Farm Rd., 1-1A
Cheyenne WY 82007
MLPs: A Nationally Recognized Healthcare Innovation
Medical-legal partnerships, or MLPs, have been established in 41 states and 294 healthcare institutions. Across this network, civil legal assistance is utilized as a tool to address social determinants of health. MLP attorneys train health providers to screen for health-harming legal needs, deliver timely legal assistance to vulnerable patients, and promote policy changes to improve community health.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America recommends that health professionals examine patients’ “nonmedical vital signs,” which can include employment status, access to healthy food, family structure, and safe housing. The Commission’s 2014 Report recognizes MLPs as a promising approach in addressing nonmedical stressors. The Report notes: “Research shows that patients who receive Medical-Legal Partnership services have fewer emergency room visits, shortened hospital stays, decreased stress, and better coping mechanisms.”
Matt VanWormer became the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Attorney in September 2016, after eight years working with DNA-People’s Legal Services, Inc. in the Navajo Nation. Matt is a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. Upon graduation, Matt was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to develop a medical-legal partnership at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. This became the first MLP in the nation to focus on serving American Indians or Alaska Natives. Matt later expanded the Navajo Nation MLP program, known as Four Corners Legal Care, to the Tuba City Hospital in Tuba City, Arizona. After demonstrating successful outcomes from the Navajo Nation partnerships, Matt led a coalition of legal aid providers in pursuing a nationwide expansion of the MLP model in tribal communities. Matt is licensed to practice law in Wyoming. Outside of work, Matt enjoys hiking, camping, trail running, winter sports, and ceramics.
The HealthWorks Medical-Legal Partnership is supported by generous funding from Equal Justice Wyoming.
For more information about Equal Justice Wyoming and a wide variety of self-help legal resources, please visit http://equaljustice.wy.gov/.
If you have questions about the HealthWorks Medical-Legal Partnership, please contact Matt VanWormer by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (307) 432-5057.
Stay tuned for more MLP updates and announcements.