Skip to Content
216.861.6200

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Legal Aid Partner to Improve Health of Addiction, Psychiatric Patients

By Admin on 
Posted on October 16, 2017

(OCTOBER 16, 2017) – St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland have launched a medical legal partnership (MLP), providing free, on-site services to resolve civil legal issues that impact the overall health of addiction and psychiatric patients. St. Vincent Charity’s MLP program is the first of its kind in Ohio to focus solely on the needs of those in treatment for behavioral health and addiction diseases.

“At St. Vincent Charity, we are committed to not only treating the current symptoms that bring patients into our hospital, but working to improve their long-term overall health and quality of life,” said Dr. David Perse, president and CEO of St. Vincent Charity.  “This MLP provides an integrated approach to address the legal barriers that negatively impact a person’s health so we can improve the well-being of those in our community.”

Through a two-year $260,000 grant from the Jones Day Foundation, a full-time Legal Aid attorney will partner with St. Vincent Charity clinicians, case workers, patient navigators and other care givers to both prevent and remedy the many health-harming factors that have their roots in legal problems. In the first year alone, it is estimated that the program will assist 175 patients and their family members through 75 legal cases.

“Due to lower incomes and the stigma attached to their disease, so many of our patients face health disparities that create an ongoing cycle of emergent health care needs and hospital stays. Our patients truly suffer from this downward social drift,” said Dr. Albana Dreshaj, medical director, St. Vincent Charity Psychiatric Emergency Department.  “Many don’t know there is help available in the community or where to go to find it. The MLP places an attorney right here in the hospital to work side by side with caregivers and social workers to help our patients break down these barriers.”

To implement the program, Legal Aid conducted thorough training with hospital care givers to effectively screen and identify patients with complicating legal issues and refer them to the Legal Aid attorney, Michael Russell, for assistance. Russell will work two days a week on-site at the hospital to personally meet with patients, and the balance of time working on cases with Legal Aid colleagues to utilize all Legal Aid’s resources to help resolve issues on patients’ behalf.     

“Legal Aid is focused on being available where and when low-income and vulnerable people need help with a legal issue,” said Melanie Shakarian, Esq., spokesperson for Legal Aid.  “Being embedded at St. Vincent Charity will help patients with legal issues related to housing, unsafe family dynamics, with environmental threats, or job and food insecurity.  These people need legal counsel, but without an attorney, health outcomes will be adversely affected.”

An estimated 40 percent of the nearly 4,000 patients – nearly 72 percent of which are low income - treated at St. Vincent Charity’s geriatric and adult psychiatric units are in need of immediate legal help to remove barriers that stand in the way of improved health.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of those patients are diagnosed with co-occurring substance abuse.

The Legal Service Corporation, based in Washington D.C., documents the vast majority of low-income individuals in the United States have 2 to 3 unmet civil legal needs that create barriers to healthy eating, healthy housing, employment and safety.  Studies of other MLP’s across the country demonstrate a reduction in the frequency of hospital admissions for those with chronic diseases, improved compliance by patients related to prescribed medications, decreased patient stress and reduced costs of health care services.

As part of St. Vincent’s MLP, $40,000 of the two-year grant is designated for research conducted by Cleveland State’s Center for Behavioral Health Sciences, to measure program and patient outcomes.

###

About St. Vincent Charity Medical Center:

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is Cleveland’s faith-based, high-quality health care provider. Our distinguished doctors and caregivers are devoted to treating every patient with clinical excellence and compassionate care. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is home to the renowned Spine and Orthopedic Institute and the Center for Bariatric Surgery. Owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center provides Care Beyond Medicine. For more information, visit www.stvincentcharity.com. 

Media Contact: Rebecca Gallant, Office: 216.696.8408, Cell: 216.288.0239, rgallant@sistersofcharityhealth.org 


Recent posts

Sisters of Charity Foundation Partners with MASS Design Group to Engage Residents and Community Partners to Inform Vision for Health Campus in Central

Sisters of Charity Foundation Partners with MASS Design Group to Engage Residents and Community Partners to Inform Vision for Health Campus in Central

The Health Campus will encompass property owned by the Sisters of Charity at East 22nd Street (also known as Sister Ignatia Way) and serve as a catalyst for revitalization in the surrounding area. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center will be an anchor institution, partner and namesake in what will be known as the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus. Depending on what is recommended during the planning and engagement process, new services, programs and partners will be added to the existing services at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s main campus.
Read More
Northeast Ohio Hospitals Address COVID-19 Fatigue as Cases Rise in Ohio

Northeast Ohio Hospitals Address COVID-19 Fatigue as Cases Rise in Ohio

Dear Neighbors,The rise in coronavirus infections is a serious reminder of this pandemic’s strength and longevity. While many have expressed “COVID fatigue,” unfortunately we can’t wish away the
Read More
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Launches Centralized Access for Behavioral Health Services

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Launches Centralized Access for Behavioral Health Services

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which is home to Rosary Hall – one of Ohio’s first and best hospital-based addiction treatment centers – today launched new centralized access to behavioral health inpatient services. “Centralized access offers a single point of entry to any of St. Vincent Charity’s 27 inpatient detoxification beds and 64 inpatient psychiatry beds,” said Megan Bush, MBA, LISWS, director of intake and access, behavioral health, SVCMC. “The new model promises a swift and linear intake process for referrals from other hospitals, SVCMC providers, external agencies and individuals seeking services on their own.” Referring partners, as well as community members with mental health questions, can call 216-363-2580 to reach centralized access, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.
Read More