JCCHC receives $50K to establish medical-legal partnership


JOHNSON CITY (April 24, 2015) – The Johnson City Community Health Center (JCCHC), a nurse-managed clinic operated by East Tennessee State University, is one of just two facilities in the nation to receive a $50,000 grant to advance a medical-legal partnership that addresses patients’ health and economic stability.

The grant is being funded through the National Nursing Centers Consortium Medical-Legal Partnership Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

“It is for the partnership of a medical entity and a legal practice to address social determinates of health for the disparate populations,” said Dr. Patti Vanhook, associate dean of practice for the ETSU College of Nursing. “Health care providers address health care issues, but often there are other issues involved and no ability to address them – financial issues, environmental issues and other external factors that impact health where lawyers have a role as a partner in healthcare.”

Through the grant, the JCCHC will partner with the Tennessee Justice Center to help with everything from being accepted for TennCare and disability eligibility issues to getting medications and equipment they need but are having trouble obtaining.

“A lot of times, these things slip through the cracks or there could be an insurance denial or a problem that we actually could get fixed fairly quickly,” Vanhook explained. “Legal will work with them to get those issued resolved in a timely manner.”

Legal advice will be provided via telecommunications, meaning patients in rural areas will not have to leave home to get the assistance.

The partnership likely will provide patients with access to more healthcare services, Vanhook said, and also could help the facility in receiving more insurance reimbursements.

The grant lasts for 18 months, during which time leaders at the JCCHC will be working on a sustainability plan to keep the partnership going even after the grant expires. Currently, the project is still in the initial set-up phase.

The JCCHC is located at 2151 Century Lane, just off State of Franklin Road behind Woodridge Hospital. It serves the uninsured, underinsured and insured. For more information about the facility, call 423-926-2500 or visit https://www.etsu.edu/nursing/practice/sites/johnsoncity.aspx.

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