The UF Healthy Kids MLP is about more than just legal advice. Alicia Hardy, R.N. a coordinator and certified asthma educator who works with Prabhakaran, has seen the MLP help in other ways.
For patients’ families, navigating the complex system for getting federal Supplemental Security Income can be challenging, Hardy said. Some people aren’t even aware they’re eligible. Like the senior MLP, the UF Healthy Kids MLP has helped families with their application and renewal eligibility, including determining which documents they need out of a lengthy medical record. SSI can help patients pay for medical expenses that aren’t otherwise covered.
“It helps them pay for medications that insurance won’t cover. It helps with their expenses for traveling to the clinic. Some of our patients travel quite a distance. The supplemental income can help their general well-being,” Hardy said.
While the UF Healthy Kids MLP is off to a busy start, its physician leaders are already thinking ahead. Coleman, its medical director, would like to see it expanded into general pediatrics and primary care. Ideally, she said, that would mean having an embedded attorney, just as Dunn is with the Severe Asthma Clinic.
“If I see a patient and identify a legal need, they can meet with the attorney directly and find out about getting the help they need before problems get worse,” said Coleman, who also serves as the medical ambassador for the senior MLP.
For Prabhakaran, the UF Healthy Kids MLP is a valuable way to help treat the entire patient — not just their medical symptoms. Before the MLP, certain details about how a patient’s living environment affected their medical condition were much more elusive.
“As health care providers, we would never find out certain things about our patients without the MLP,” she said. “Some important details that affect a patient just wouldn’t be known to us.”