ICHS expands free legal services for patients

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) today announced the expansion of a program that gives access to free legal services for ICHS patients. Low income patients referred from ICHS’s Shoreline Clinic can now meet with ELAP’s attorneys for free legal advice. The announcement follows the launch of similar services at the ICHS Bellevue Clinic in October 2018.

“We’ve seen a positive impact for patients at our Bellevue Clinic and we are thrilled to work with ELAP to bring the same to Shoreline,” said Kimo Hirayama, assistant medical director at the ICHS Shoreline Clinic. ”Many of our patients are immigrants or refugees who face unique challenges or vulnerable circumstances. In providing access to qualified legal experts, we hope to address issues that put families’ health at risk and threaten our communities.”

ELAP experts can help patients on a wide range of civil matters, including those related to public benefits, housing, education and employment, legal status and family law issues.

“The Medical-Legal Partnership was founded on the idea that the most effective health care services target health problems at the source,” said Dorothy Leggett, ELAP MLP staff attorney. “We know that legal issues are stressors that can negatively impact a patient’s health and the community’s wellbeing. By working alongside health care teams to help patients assert their legal rights, we hope to increase access to free civil legal aid and improve overall health outcomes.”

Services are available to qualifying King County residents who fall below 200% of the federal poverty level, which was $50,200 for a family of four in 2019. The health care teams at ICHS work closely with ELAP’s legal aid attorneys to identify patients who qualify. Referred patients will meet with an attorney for sessions that can be scheduled at either the ICHS Bellevue or Shoreline Clinic.

For more information about free legal help available to ICHS patients, please call 206-788-3700.