Published on in CHOP News
Supported by a second philanthropic gift from Reed Smith, CHOP will be able to offer pro bono legal services to select families receiving care at its South Philadelphia Primary Care Center. This program, part of the hospital’s Family Justice Partnership, provides help in addressing legal matters that impact the health and well-being of patient families.
“Reed Smith is thrilled to see the expansion of this important initiative and to play a role in improving the quality of life for our neighbors,” said Heather Ritch Rocks, partner at Reed Smith and long-time legal champion of the medical-legal partnership model in Philadelphia.
The medical-legal partnership model recognizes that patient health is often impacted by complex social and legal issues that can worsen or even cause chronic health conditions if left unaddressed. Pediatric health care providers work directly with on-site attorneys to identify and address these needs, leading to improved health outcomes for patients, lower stress for caregivers, and less frequent visits for emergency care.
CHOP’s South Philadelphia Primary Care Center is located at Broad and Morris Streets within the South Philadelphia Health and Literacy Center, a first-of-its-kind facility that includes a branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, a city health center, and a recreation center and was designed to meet families’ many needs in one convenient location. By adding legal assistance to the menu of services available to families, CHOP and its partners in the Family Justice Partnership are working to address the root cause of chronic health conditions that overwhelmingly affect low-income populations.
The medical-legal partnership expansion into the South Philadelphia Primary Care Center is part of the natural evolution of the Family Justice Partnership, which was formed following the launch of CHOP’s first medical-legal partnership in 2015. The program expanded with the formation of a medical-legal partnership at the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center in 2018, also with Reed Smith’s philanthropic support. Since its founding, the mission of the Family Justice Partnership has been to provide free legal services to address thousands of critical legal needs that impact patient family health, such as access to financial benefits, inadequate housing, employment matters, and support with obtaining or maintaining utilities.
“CHOP is grateful for Reed Smith’s continued financial support for the expansion of its medical-legal partnerships, as well as its commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance to CHOP families,” said JoAnn Duffy, director of social work at CHOP. “This collaboration is a reflection of our shared values and dedication to improving our communities.”