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from Crain’s Cleveland: Gift to Cleveland Clinic from Jones Day creates new medical-legal partnership

Posted November 19, 2021
9:49 am

Cleveland Clinic receives $8 million from Jones Day and Jones Day Foundation
By Lydia Coutré

Jones Day and the Jones Day Foundation are donating a total of $8 million in gifts to Cleveland Clinic to establish two new initiatives aimed at supporting a healthier community, according to a news release.

The funds will support the formation of a legal-medical partnership with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, as well as a new community health worker program that will connect local residents with clinical and community-based services.

With expertise in navigating complex systems of care, community health workers advocate on behalf of patients in the interest of delivering health information in the most effective, culturally appropriate way, according to the release, which notes they play roles including facilitators, translators, counselors and supporters.

"When patients have significant medical needs — whether that be behavioral health, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease — they also often have significant social needs, like access to healthy food, transportation, financial support and insurance," said Dr. Nazleen Bharmal, the Clinic's associate chief of population health, said in a provided statement. "And when you have both of those, it can be very difficult for an individual to figure out where to get help."

The Jones Day Foundation committed a gift to launch a community health worker program to support the Clinic taking care of neighborhood residents living near its main campus, with hopes for the program to expand to neighborhoods surrounding other Cleveland Clinic hospitals as well, according to the release.

Jones Day, like the Clinic, believes in the "transformative potential of giving back to the communities in which we live and work," said Chris Kelly, a Jones Day partner based in the firm's Cleveland and New York offices, in provided statement. "The community health worker program is intended to make a tangible difference for our neighbors who need and deserve access to health resources."

The gifts also will establish a medical-legal partnership, which is a model that integrates legal expertise into health care settings to help providers address issues that are preventing people from achieving their best health. Through the partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, legal aid lawyers will work alongside Cleveland Clinic clinicians, case managers and social workers to help individuals and families solve legal issues that impact health, according to the release.

Studies have found that patients with access to legal services in a health care setting are more likely to take medications as prescribed, experience less stress and better mental health and have greater access to financial resources, according to the release.

"There are times when clinicians meet with pediatric patients who have needs such as individualized education plans, neglect or abuse or they live in a home where they are exposed to lead paint," Bharmal said. "Many clinicians do not know how to navigate the system to find the solutions. Having a legal member on the care team who understands those factors will help educate the providers. It is more than just offering legal advice; it is a sustained relationship to reduce health disparities."

In recognition of the investments from Jones Day and the Jones Day Foundation, the late Patrick McCartan — a distinguished leader of Jones Day and former member of Cleveland Clinic's Board of Trustees — will be memorialized in the Patrick F. McCartan Centennial Gallery, a new space in the front lobby of the Clinic's main campus. Jones Day and the Jones Day Foundation wished to honor McCartan, who died last year. He was passionate about community care, and the new gallery serves as a testament to his "visionary spirit and commitment to Cleveland Clinic, its patients and the community," Lara Kalafatis, chair of Cleveland Clinic's Philanthropy Institute, said in the release.

"Pat would be extremely proud to see these new community health programs moving quickly from vision to reality," said Steve Brogan, managing partner of Jones Day, in a provided statement. "He knew the struggles faced by any community are surmountable by collective, compassionate action from inspired organizations and individuals. These programs are reflective of his vision and his compassion."

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