Advocacy Health Alliances (AHAs) use lawyers to help patients navigate the legal system to resolve issues affecting their health. Lawyers work in partnership with doctors to keep patients healthy. Sound smart? We thought so, which is why we are working to further develop and extend AHAs in Australia.
Advocacy Health Alliances break down the barriers to accessible legal services and deliver clear health benefits to patients. In short, doctors and lawyers work together to keep patients healthy.
Advocacy Health Alliances have been around in the USA for more than a decade (where they are known as Medical Legal Partnerships). But they are still in their infancy in Australia.
Nonetheless, there are some notable AHAs in Australia, including the alliance established between West Heidelberg Community Legal Centre and Banyule Community Health in Melbourne (profiled in the March 2012 issue of the Alternative Law Journal).
To better understand how Medical Legal Partnerships work in the USA our Coordinator, Peter Noble, is attending the 2012 MLP Summit in Texas, the Pro Bono Institute annual conference in Washington and visiting a number of Medical Legal Partnerships across the States. Peter will bring back his findings, which will inform the development and support of AHAs in Australia.
To capture information on AHAs and to update other services on developments in this area, Peter has set up the Advocacy Health Alliances website.
Peter’s study tour has been kindly funded by the Clayton Utz Foundation.