March 31, 2011

Wishard / Baker & Daniels Partnership Earns National Pro Bono Honors

Baker & Daniels LLP has received national recognition for its efforts working with Wishard Health Services to improve health care disparities by pooling resources provided by doctors, lawyers, social workers and educators.

The American Bar Association awarded Baker & Daniels with the 2011 ABA Outstanding Pro Bono Advocacy in Medical-Legal Partnership Award. The ABA Medical-Legal Partnership Pro Bono Support Project presented the award at the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership's Annual Medical-Legal Partnership Summit in Baltimore on March 25, 2011.

"As physicians, we recognize the major role that social and environmental factors play in contributing to chronic illness, often impairing our ability to achieve optimal outcomes for our patients," said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director of Wishard Health Services. "Through this extraordinary partnership with lawyers who can also serve as powerful patient advocates, we're able to assist patients in making positive changes that will frequently result not only in improved health but in improved quality of life."

Baker & Daniels was recognized for teaming with Wishard and the Indiana Health Advocacy Coalition in launching the first medical-legal partnership (MLP) in Indiana in 2008. MLP is aimed at improving health care for patients through a multi-disciplinary approach by utilizing the skills of doctors, lawyers, social workers and educators to improve a patient's health. The process integrates resources for patients with health care needs requiring social solutions. Understanding a patient's illness is sometimes complicated by problems that require more than what the typical health care provider independently can resolve.

"Improving and expanding access to justice and services for underserved individuals and communities has long been a part of Baker & Daniels' culture," said Tom Froehle, the firm's chair and chief executive partner. "It has been very rewarding to see how this collaborative partnership with medical experts and others has benefited so many in our community and helped them respond to illness and disease."

Specifically, Baker & Daniels, through the Wishard MLP, has worked very closely with EMBRACE to provide end of life legal aid to female cancer patients. EMBRACE is a Wishard program that provides supportive and holistic wraparound services to women undergoing cancer treatment.

"The partnership has allowed us to expand our holistic approach in serving our patients, by offering them a more comprehensive care plan which now includes legal advocacy," said DeAnna Wesley, director of EMBRACE at Wishard. "Having an attorney as a part of the treatment team has significantly improved the outcome for many of our patients."

In addition to Wishard's partnership with Baker & Daniels, other community partners include the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and Indiana Legal Services.

ABOUT WISHARD HEALTH SERVICES

For more than 150 years, Wishard Health Services has provided high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care to the residents of Marion County. Wishard is accredited by The Joint Commission. Nationally recognized programs include a level I trauma center, regional burn center, comprehensive senior care program, women's and children's services, teen and adolescent care programs, Midtown Community Mental Health Center, and a network of primary care sites located throughout the neigh­borhoods of Indianapolis. Wishard is the public hospital division of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County and partners with the Indiana University School of Medicine whose physicians provide a comprehensive range of primary and specialty care services.

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