Monday, April 08, 2013

Doctor-Lawyer Collaboration

Some professionals seek to treat the whole person to help them solve their problems. For example, in collaborative divorce, attorneys work with mental health professionals, child psychologists, financial planners, and other experts to help transition a couple from being married to being divorced. The goal is to ensure communication and a win-win outcome for the family. (See Divorce Without Court: A Guide to Mediation & Collaborative Divorce or Collaborative Family Law for more information.)

Doctors and lawyers are the latest collaborators, working together to ensure that patients have the tools they need to continue treatment and recover:

"Watts works for Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit that gives free legal help to low-income people in eight Ohio counties. Her firm is housed in a downtown office tower. But Watts prefers working out of the clinic.

"So if somebody comes in to the clinic and they get sent to me and it's a housing problem and I'm here, I can give them advice directly on site," she says.
Watts' role on the team is to help solve issues that might affect a patient's health but are outside a doctor's control.

"Let's say you're under threat of eviction because of something that happened," she says. "That's going to cause a significant amount of anxiety, potentially, and then you're suffering from these anxiety problems that wouldn't have happened if we had been able to intervene and perhaps help with the eviction problem," she says."