Rachel Molsberry

  • Hosted by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Family of Hyman Edelman, Stinson Leonard Street LLP
  • Service location Willmar, Minnesota
  • Law school University of Minnesota Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Rachel established a medical-legal partnership with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and Carris Health to address health problems rooted in socioeconomic disparities of patients by representing clients in matters associated with insurance and income, housing and utilities, education and employment, legal status and immigration, personal stability, and family law matters.

Need Addressed By Project

Rural Minnesotans face many health disparities. In rural areas, more people report “fair” or “poor” health, being current smokers, and obese. More people are uninsured and mortality rates are higher due to pneumonia and influenza. There are higher diabetes, stroke and heart disease mortality rates, and higher suicide rates. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 6 of 10 counties served by MMLA’s Willmar office have childhood poverty rates higher than the state average. Health related issues with potential legal solutions include domestic violence and lack of family safety; lack of health insurance; housing quality and utility shutoff issues; inadequate income where supports may be available; education and employment challenges; and legal status concerns for immigrants. Many low-income residents are immigrants, do not speak English, and do not know their legal rights.

Highlights to Date

In the first year, Rachel has:

  • Expanded the MLP to three facilities: Carris Health–Rice Memorial Hospital, Carris Health–Willmar Clinic, and Family Practice Medical Center.
  • Trained over 120 Carris Health and Family Practice Medical Center clinicians on the MLP and civil legal issues.
  • Received MLP referrals from a variety of hospital and clinic departments including: emergency, intensive care, cancer center, dialysis center, family medicine, adult health, care management, hospice, and business office.
  • Implemented office hours at the hospital and clinic to meet with patients.

What’s Next

In the next year, Rachel plans to:

  • Continue representation of clients referred to the medical-legal partnership at all three MLP locations.
  • Educate and train more clinicians about the MLP in the health system and provide issue-specific training for smaller groups of clinicians.
  • Host a free legal clinic on-site to help patients with power of attorney and healthcare directive forms.
  • Evaluate the program, track outcomes, and begin sustainability plan.
  • Coordinate pro bono work with Legal Aid, Volunteer Attorney Program, and Stinson Leonard Street, LLP.

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