Sharpest tool in a doctor’s toolkit
Furman University alumnus Kirby Mitchell ’90 (economics) unpacks the benefits of medical legal partnerships in an article he co-authored for SC Lawyer. In 2016, a collaboration between South Carolina Legal Services, Prisma Health and Furman University’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health formed South Carolina’s first MLP. The authors explain that while most MLPs are represented by large medical or law schools, Furman is the only undergraduate liberal arts university in the country to be part of an MLP. Furman’s Institute for the Advancement of Community Health (IACH) provides administrative support, assessment and oversight for the Upstate MLP. Catie Buckingham, with IACH, is the MLP director; Mitchell is the legal director.
Most importantly, MLPs improve patient well-being and increase appropriate use of health care services, among other benefits. For example, MLPs may reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children with asthma.