Medical-Legal Partnership

The Medical-Legal Partnership is an on-site collaboration between the Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) and Sea-Mar Community Health Centers (Sea-Mar) in Bellevue, Washington to address patients’ legal needs. It places civil legal aid attorneys alongside the health center teams to detect, address and disrupt the cycle of unhealthy conditions.

ELAP will work closely with Sea-Mar’s physicians, nurses, administrators, support staff and social workers to address social issues that are barriers to a patient getting better. By partnering and using legal expertise and services, the healthcare system can disrupt the cycle of returning people to the unhealthy conditions that would otherwise bring them right back to the clinic or hospital.

Areas of Legal Assistance (I-HELP)

Income – Increasing availability of resources means being able to afford food and medicine and manage chronic disease and nutrition. 

Legal intervention: ELAP can help appeal denials of food stamps, health insurance, cash benefits and disability benefits.

Housing – A stable, safe home helps avoid ER visits due to homelessness. Consistent housing, heat, electricity and water cycle patients follow their medical treatment plans.

Legal intervention: ELAP can help secure subsidies, improve substandard conditions, prevent eviction and prevent utility shut-off.

Education and Employment – Education is the single greatest predictor of adult health. Consistent employment provides security and avoids emergency health care. Health insurance is often tied to stable employment.

Legal Intervention: ELAP can help secure special education services, prevent workplace discrimination and enforce workplace rights.

Legal Status – Clearing criminal records can improve employability and access to public benefits. 

Legal Intervention: ELAP can help resolve veteran discharge status, clear criminal and credit histories and assist with asylum applications.

Personal Stability – Less violence at home means less need for emergency health services; stable families reduce stress and can improve family care-giving, including healthcare.

Legal Intervention: ELAP can help address domestic violence, custody and guardianships for children.

If you are interested in partnering with ELAP on a Medical-Legal Partnership email MLP@elap.org.