Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

The Salud Family Health Centers’ clinic is located in a suburb north of Denver. In addition to medical treatment, the clinic also offers a more unconventional resource for wellness: legal aid. Colorado is one of a handful of states that have given permission for Medicaid money to be used to sponsor legal help at medical clinics. The goal is to reduce levels of stress and keep families intact to promote long-term health and wellness.

This specific Colorado clinic has four lawyers on hand, as well as physicians, psychiatrists, and social workers. They spend a majority of their time helping patients with unemployment benefit claims and Social Security Disability Insurance denials, but they also offer help with immigration hearings.

There are currently 450 medical-legal partnerships across the US. Although only a few of them rely on Medicaid funding, they all operate under the premise that reducing stress-inducing challenges like unemployment, eviction, or custody battles reduces the risk of developing stress-related chronic illnesses like heart disease, obesity, and gastrointestinal issues. Many of these stressors have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

A study from the Colorado School of Public Health surveyed patients from 2015 to 2020 and found that linking medical and legal resources resulted in significant drops in stress levels, improved physical health, and fewer missed medical appointments.

Although some critics argue that Medicaid funding is already stretched too thin to be used for legal resources, securing funding to improve legal resources in the medical system would create a more holistic health and wellness system. To give a specific example, Salud’s chief medical officer explains to NPR a scenario in which a doctor can treat a child with asthma, but if that respiratory condition is caused by mold which a landlord refuses to address, a note from a lawyer can more effectively address the health issue at its source.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas represent a successful conservation story

Following years of poaching and habitat destruction, the population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda once numbered under 260 individuals. Now, Rwandan gorillas represent a rare conservation success and a key economic engine for the East ... Read More

Germany plans to put 15 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030

Making electric cars the dominant vehicles on the road is key to curbing planet-warming emissions and protecting the climate. In a bid to reach that goal, an increasing number of countries and cities across the ... Read More

Here are 5 Indigenous-led eco-charities you can support today

The climate crisis has caused us to reconsider our consumerist lifestyles and turn to Indigenous peoples to learn from their superior understanding of living in harmony with nature. Here is a list of five organizations ... Read More

Scientists discover a peculiar new planet

Deep into the Hercules constellation, 855 light-years away from Earth, lies a record breaking exoplanet. This newly discovered gas giant was named TOI-2109b, and the thing that makes it so special is the fact it ... Read More

High altitude experiment shows that snow monkeys are excellent at fishing

Snow monkeys, also known as the Japanese macaque, are native to many of the main islands of Japan. These fluffy creatures are the most northern-based non-human primate out there, meaning they have some cold temperatures ... Read More