After a checkup with a medical provider or social worker, patients at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center in Willowbrook can now meet with a LAFLA attorney for legal representation and advice on issues such as government benefits, family law, and immigration law. The consultations are free for low-income individuals.
“We’re excited about this collaboration with the MLK Outpatient Center because clients can see us before or after their scheduled doctor visits, and that means we’re meeting our clients right where they feel most comfortable – in their neighborhoods,” said Ronnette Ramos, managing attorney for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles’ (LAFLA) Medical Legal Partnership.
“We understand that for many families transportation is a hardship,” Ramos said, “and our new MLK outpatient clinic alleviates that concern.”
Through this initiative, called the Whole Person Care/Medical Legal Partnership–LA, Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents can meet with staff from the county’s Whole Person Care program while they meet with a LAFLA attorney. Funded by Medi-Cal, Whole Person Care helps the homeless; uninsured women who are pregnant; individuals struggling with mental health or substance abuse; medically high-risk patients before and after their hospital discharge, and individuals who have been recently released from prison.
Under the leadership of MLK Outpatient Center’s Chief Executive Officer Yolanda Vera, and her team that includes Chief Of Medical Campus Integration Yasser Aman, the clinic opened its doors on April 17 and welcomed 10 clients. Since then, LAFLA attorney Helen Tran, who staffs the clinic, has met with 72 patients. Tran is at the clinic from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. She is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by referral.
“This new clinic strives to be a helpful community resource. We are working closely with a medical center and like-minded organizations and government agencies to ensure that each client receives all the assistance they can in order to heal and feel whole,” Tran said. “For that, we thank all of our partners for working with us to help make legal services a part of patient care.”
Collaborating organizations involved in this effort include: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center; Whole Person Care – LA; Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County; Mental Health Advocacy Services and Bet Tzedek.