On a daily basis New Yorkers, especially low-income residents, face challenging financial and social issues. These factors can negatively impact their lives in many ways, most notably their physical and mental health. Lack of access to adequate housing, food, or safe and secure employment can impede their ability to seek and receive appropriate healthcare services for themselves and their families. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is working to remove these barriers by offering free legal services to its patients.
Every week an attorney from LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group, comes to Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center to provide legal counsel to hospital patients on issues relating to government benefits, housing, workplace conditions, and immigration and credit problems. LegalHealth also assists patients and families develop advanced planning directives, wills and legal matters affecting families.
It is well established that unmet social needs have a direct correlation with poor health. Social factors, such as food insecurity have been closely linked to higher risk of chronic conditions. Studies show that those who lose their jobs are 83% more likely to develop stress-related health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Jamaica Hospital made the commitment to fund the LegalHealth clinic knowing that addressing these issues will ultimately improve the health of its patients and potentially reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital admissions. According to Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital, “By understanding these social determinants that our patients encounter on a daily basis and providing a resource to have them addressed, Jamaica Hospital and LegalHealth can remove many of the obstacles that prevent our community from improving and maintaining healthier lives.”
LegalHealth is also providing ongoing training to Jamaica Hospital’s providers to equip them with the necessary tools to help them identify any social, financial or other problems patients are experiencing which can be addressed with legal support.
The Legal Health clinic opened at Jamaica Hospital in January 2019 and is on site weekly.
Patients who utilize LegalHealth services are assured of complete confidentiality and services are completely free to Jamaica Hospital patients.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.