Medical Legal Partnership









About Us

Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs), have been established in 41 states and 294 healthcare institutions. Across this network, civil legal assistance is utilized as a tool to address social determinants of health. MLP attorneys train health providers to screen for health-harming legal needs, deliver timely legal assistance to vulnerable patients, and promote policy changes to improve community health.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America recommends that health professionals examine patients’ “nonmedical vital signs,” which can include employment status, access to healthy food, family structure, and safe housing. The Commission’s 2014 Report recognizes MLPs as a promising approach in addressing nonmedical stressors. The Report notes: “Research shows that patients who receive Medical-Legal Partnership services have fewer emergency room visits, shortened hospital stays, decreased stress, and better coping mechanisms."

Who We Serve

The HealthWorks MLP helps low-income patients in Laramie County secure health-promoting services and supports. This is accomplished by offering free legal assistance to vulnerable patients in matters involving public benefits, housing, education, access to health care, employment, domestic violence, and elder law. Matt VanWormer, the attorney staffing the MLP, works onsite three days per week at the HealthWorks clinic. Patients are referred to the MLP by health providers at HealthWorks and other Laramie County healthcare facilities. To be eligible for free legal help, patients must have household income lower than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and no more than $5,000 in assets for an individual, plus $3,000 for each additional member of the household. Of the 58 patients referred to the MLP since October 1st, 2016, 32 suffer from a chronic illness, 13 are elderly, 5 have been victims of domestic violence, 4 have limited English proficiency, 4 experienced homelessness, and 3 are veterans.

The HealthWorks Medical-Legal Partnership is the first program of its kind in the State of Wyoming. Nationwide, there are MLPs in 295 healthcare institutions across 42 states. Over half of MLPs are based in hospitals, with more than 25 percent located in community health centers. On average, an individual MLP program creates annual financial benefits for patients in the amount of $181,490, with an annual average of $150,000 in increased revenue for partnering healthcare organizations.* Direct financial benefits for patients include new income from programs like Social Security Disability Insurance, while increase revenue for healthcare partners results from cases where the MLP secures new health insurance for patients, most often Medicare and Medicaid.

* Source: National Center for Medical Legal Partnership, “State of the Medical-Legal Partnership Field: Findings from the 2015 National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership Surveys” (August 2016), available at http://medical-legalpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2015-MLP-Site-Survey-Report.pdf.


Meet Our Attorney

Matt VanWormer became the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Attorney in September 2016, after eight years working with DNA-People’s Legal Services, Inc. in the Navajo Nation. Matt is a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. Upon graduation, Matt was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to develop a medical-legal partnership at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. This became the first MLP in the nation to focus on serving American Indians or Alaska Natives. Matt later expanded the Navajo Nation MLP program, known as Four Corners Legal Care, to the Tuba City Hospital in Tuba City, Arizona. After demonstrating successful outcomes from the Navajo Nation partnerships, Matt led a coalition of legal aid providers in pursuing a nationwide expansion of the MLP model in tribal communities. Matt is licensed to practice law in Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico. Outside of work, Matt enjoys hiking, camping, trail running, winter sports, and ceramics.


Thank You to Our Sponsor!

The HealthWorks Medical-Legal Partnership is supported by generous funding from Equal Justice Wyoming.

For more information about Equal Justice Wyoming and a wide variety of self-help legal resources, please visit http://equaljustice.wy.gov/.