Big Box Retailer Forms Unlikely Alliance with Goal of Streamlining Medicaid Policy

July 1, 2011
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For the first time, a major private coporation is partnering with a local hospital in assisting Medicaid beneficiaries in obtaining legal assistance in squabbles with the entitlement over public health care delivery, housing, medical equipment, and other basic needs guaranteed by Medicaid. It’s not just any partnership. The corporate entity is Wal-Mart, and it insists it will not be an adversarial force to the feds. The retailer’s involvement with a local Arkansas hospital is being piloted and could become a model for future national rollout.

For the first time, a major private coporation is partnering with a local hospital in assisting Medicaid beneficiaries in obtaining legal assistance in squabbles with the entitlement over public health care delivery, housing, medical equipment, and other basic needs guaranteed by Medicaid. It’s not just any partnership. The corporate entity is Wal-Mart, and it insists it will not be an adversarial force to the feds. The retailer’s involvement with a local Arkansas hospital is being piloted and could become a model for future national rollout. These medical-legal partnerships, as they are called, are designed to promote changes in the healthcare public-private policy sphere by becoming part of the beneficiaries’ heatlhcare team — alongside providers and hospitals.

Onsite, legal professionals become a part of the healthcare team.  Doctors will refer patients to lawyers for legal assistance when appropriate.  Just as a pediatrician refers a patient to a radiologist for a broken bone, a healthcare provider may refer a patient to an onsite attorney when an underlying social circumstance impairing a patient’s health is detected. 

Lest one believes that this is some conservative vs. progressive battle implemented by activists to inflame further the current drive toward reform in this administration — think again. These MLPs have the backing of the traditionally liberal-leaning American Bar Association. It is the hope of the parties involved that providing this type of legal assistance to Medicaid beneficiaries will usher in a new area of accountability by building broad public-private networks with a common goal enriching Medicaid care delivery as reform begins to take shape. | LINK

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