Medical-Legal Partnerships Facilitate Patient-Provider Cost of Care Conversations: A Multisite Qualitative Study in the U.S.

Jean S. Edward, Kimberly D. Northrip, Andrea Welker, Julia F. Costich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the impact of medical-legal partnerships on facilitating and managing outcomes of patient-provider cost of care conversations. We conducted 96 semi-structured interviews with 18 patients and 78 medical-legal partnership personnel from 10 states between March and November of 2020. The presence of legal staff helped strengthen interdisciplinary collaborations and build confidence among providers around addressing health-harming legal needs through effective cost of care conversations. Medical-legal partnerships with well-established provider training opportunities reported effective cost of care conversations, improved patient outcomes, and increased return on investment for health systems. Lack of time, knowledge, and training were identified as barriers to clinicians engaging in cost of care conversations. Positive patient outcomes included improved access to public benefits, health benefits, financial benefits, special education services, stable housing, and food. Medical-legal partnerships facilitate effective patient-provider cost of care conversations that improve patients’ medical, legal, and social service outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1500-1509
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Nursing Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (#77293). This research was supported by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center’s Shared Resource Facilities (P30 CA177558).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • cost of care conversations
  • health harming legal needs
  • medical-legal partnerships
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (all)


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