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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

February, 2007

 

Marin Community Clinic and Legal Aid
Join forces For Children and Families
By Submission

San Rafael, California - The Marin Community Clinic and Legal Aid of Marin have formed the Marin Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP). This collaboration between two established non-profit agencies holds tremendous potential for improving the future health and well being of Marin County's poorest, most vulnerable children and families.
There are multiple barriers to delivering primary health care to Marin Community Clinic's low-income patients, including poverty, language, culture, immigrant status, under-employment, unemployment, unpaid wages, homelessness, high cost of living, and lack of adequate transportation. Legal Aid of Marin brings expertise in housing, employment, consumer, family and dependency law, and related issues to the MLP, modeled after a Boston-based collaboration to promote partnership between medical and legal professionals.

Through the MLP, an attorney will be on site one day a week at each MCC clinic site to assist patients with legal matters. Other areas of legal expertise the MLP plans to offer include education, disability, insurance, and immigration law. Working closely with other non-profit services and government agencies will also allow the MLP to address such issues as childcare, parenting support, hunger, nutrition, and more.

"I am excited to get the Medical-Legal Project off the ground," says Paul Cohen, Executive Director of Marin Legal Aid. "The creation of a new relationship between medical and legal professionals will increase the scope and quality of services available to our mutual patients and clients."

The Marin Community Clinic (MCC) is a non-profit health care center providing comprehensive, quality primary care services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured Marin County residents. MCC serves approximately 13,000 patients with more than 44,000 visits annually at two sites in Greenbrae and Novato. MCC plans to establish a third site in San Rafael's Canal neighborhood within the next few years.

"Unresolved legal concerns add to the difficult challenges experienced by our patients, who are struggling to raise young children and are in jobs without health insurance. We welcome the opportunity to enhance our 'on-site' patient services with no-cost legal advice from Legal Aid attorneys," says Dr. Georgianna Farren, Medical Director of MCC.

MCC is also part of the Redwood Community Health Coalition (RCHC), a four-county consortium of safety-net health care providers dedicated to increasing access to care, improving patient health outcomes, and achieving cost-efficiencies through integration of services, education, and advocacy.

Legal Aid of Marin provides high quality legal representation and advocacy, information, referral, advice, community education, and other assistance to low-income and senior Marin County residents. Four full-time attorneys and supporting staff currently serve more than 1,100 Marin households each year.

The MLP will begin offering legal services at MCC's clinics in Novato and Greenbrae by appointment in February 2007 and plans to add one staff attorney annually to serve an additional 200 Marin households every year. An Emerging Opportunity Grant of $75,000 from the "First 5 of Marin Children and Families Commission" is providing the partnership's initial funding. The MLP is seeking additional funding from private foundations, corporations, and interested community members.

For information about the Marin Medical-Legal Partnership Project, contact Legal Aid of Marin at (415) 492-0230 (www.legalaidmarin.org) or the Marin Community Clinic at (415) 448-1563

(www.marinclinic.org).


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