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Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston

 NonProfit Center, 89 South Street, Suite 700
 Boston, MA 02111
[P] (617) 336-7500
[F] (617) 336-7445
[email protected]
Meg Baker
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2261109

LAST UPDATED: 12/16/2016
Organization DBA Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston
Former Names Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (2008)
Family Advocacy Program (2005)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

MLPB equips the healthcare and human services workforce with legal problem-solving strategies that address health-related social needs. By doing so, we advance health equity for consumers and communities.

Mission Statement

MLPB equips the healthcare and human services workforce with legal problem-solving strategies that address health-related social needs. By doing so, we advance health equity for consumers and communities.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $1,098,000.00
Projected Expense $1,098,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Medical-Legal Partnership Services

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

MLPB equips the healthcare and human services workforce with legal problem-solving strategies that address health-related social needs. By doing so, we advance health equity for consumers and communities.

Background Statement

MLPB has steadily steered its mission and operations upstream since its founding at Boston Medical Center in 1993. 
Health-related social needs (HRSN) not only impact consumer health and well-being, they also contribute to avoidable care utilization and drive overall healthcare costs. Many HRSN have solutions under current public policy. but individuals and families are often unable to access those supports. These include:
  • Remediating poor housing conditions
  • Securing health-promoting benefits (SNAP, SSI/SSDI, TAFDC, etc.) tied up in complex bureaucracies
  • Maintaining gas, electric, and phone service when shut-off is threatened
  • Accessing appropriate special education services
  • Asserting rights to job-protected medical leave and reasonable accommodation in the workplace
  • Securing protections in housing, employment, and benefits programs for older adults, people with disabilities and survivors of intimate partner violence/elder abuse/community violence
  • Understanding how immigration status impacts access to health-promoting benefits and services
MLPB helps manage organizations HRSN's and promote better outcomes in the following ways:
1. Systems design and quality improvement.
2. Workforce development.
3. Information-sharing.
4. Informing public policy.
MLPB prioritizes partnerships that build role-appropriate HRSN detection, triage, and problem-solving capacity in care teams – a unique upstream approach that stands in contrast to a more typical and more limited “legal emergency room” model. Lawyers are a necessary but insufficient feature of MLPB’s operating model – our “low dose” of lawyer training and consultative back-up only works as a complement to the “high dose” of clinician / social worker / community health worker supplied by our partners, along with a public commitment to community (population) health and wellness and disparities reduction.
Lawyers are a necessary but insufficient feature of MLPB’s operating model – our “low dose” of lawyer training and consultative back-up only works as a complement to the “high dose” of clinician / social worker / community health worker supplied by our partners, along with a public commitment to community (population) health and wellness and disparities reduction.

Impact Statement

MLPB has steadily steered its mission and operations upstream since its founding at Boston Medical Center in 1993. We are committed to rigorous evaluation of our services and their impacts. MLPB successfully concluded participation in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) – Project DULCE – in 2012. Its compelling findings – including accelerated access to concrete supports, reduced Emergency Department visits, and enhanced adherence to preventive care among families with infants 0-6 months – were published in the academic medical journal Pediatrics in July 2015 ( On the strength of these findings, the national Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is leading a national demonstration project replicating DULCE in 7 pediatrics clinics in CA, FL, and VT; MLPB is the national technical assistance provider for the public interest law partners in this initiative. 

Our partnership with the Elders Living at Home Program has shown success in preventing Older Adult Homelessness. During Year 1 of the Aging Right in the Community initiative, coordinated services prevented homelessness for 91% of medically complex older adults served. During Year 2, this percentage rose to 93% and then to 96% in year 3.  
We currently are intervention partners in other RCTs focused on socially high-risk pregnant women and newly diagnosed cancer patients – studies funded by Kellogg, the American Cancer Society, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
In August 2016, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission awarded Boston Medical Center’s Emergency Department a Health Care Innovation Investment grant to pilot an MLPB-backed community health advocate intervention to reduce costs associated with high utilizers. This work will launch mid-2017:

Needs Statement

1. Operating funds to support organizational growth as we expand our service footprint!

2. Funds to specifically support ongoing translation of written It Takes Two Guides for Patients and Providers into multiple languages

3.  Lawyer volunteers to staff our pro bono panel of "legal specialists" 

CEO Statement

We are committed to building an infrastructure that will address a major gap in the health and disability safety net affecting vulnerable people: the absence of any formal guidance for healthcare staff/providers on their legislatively-prescribed role as “gatekeeper” to many health-promoting benefits and services for patient-families. In dozens of public policy domains (e.g., access to SPED services, access to disability benefits like SSI and SSDI; health and safety-based requests for reasonable accommodation in housing; applications for FMLA protections as a disabled person or caregiver; and much more) an eligible person must secure an appropriate letter of support or medical certification form from a physician, nurse, social worker, or human services staff. We must cultivate a re-understanding that -- in a patient-centered universe – engaging positively with these requests is a core part of addressing social determinants of health.

As the healthcare ecosystem shifts from fee-for-service to a value-based financing paradigm, and there is a brighter spotlight on socio-economic factors as key drivers of health disparities, this is a critical moment to orient the healthcare workforce to these gaps in a supportive way -- e.g., armed with tools that will allow them to integrate this role into their practices effectively. For our team, a hallmark of this initiative is to develop tools geared to both providers/staff and patients. Dialogues between patient-families and health/human services staff will be most successful if they involve transparency about the larger public policy/program context and each stakeholder’s respective needs and roles in those systems.

Board Chair Statement

My name is Margaret Ann Metzger and I have been a member of MLPB's Advisory Board since its inception in September 2013. I am driven to support the work of MLPB for many reasons. Please note that as a program of Third Sector New England (TSNE), MLPB falls under TSNE's corporate/governance umbrella but has its own Advisory Board. This body does not have officers, but we are a passionate and active group and I want to share some thoughts with you.

As a lawyer, I understand that many legal problems are health-harming (such as when a landlord refuses to deal with poor housing conditions that exacerbate a tenant's asthma). I also know that legal remedies exist that can eliminate these intertwined medical-legal challenges.

As the legal consultant to a state-wide initiative that seeks to enhance end-of-life planning processes and assure that medical preferences can be honored by clinicians across care settings, I am convinced that interdisciplinary partnerships like MLP are crucial to ensuring health and well-being for vulnerable people -- especially older adults.

As a former executive at a leading HMO in Greater Boston, I know that our healthcare system has been challenged to understand and account for the complex social context confronting many patients; since many social determinants of health have legal solutions, MLPB represents a concrete mechanism to eliminate health-harming legal problems (including unhealthy, unsafe, or non-accessible housing conditions).

I am thrilled that MLPB provides services to more than 15 teams across Eastern Massachusetts in the last six months (in addition to its other hospital partners in Boston), and that the program is poised to reach many more vulnerable people across the region in the next few years. An organizational challenge (one that has inspired me as a Board member to engage in thoughtful market research earlier this year) is to scale our services both regionally and across the age and health/disease continuum. I for one look forward to tackling this challenge with MLPB leadership, and am confident we will succeed.

Finally, I want to add that I am motivated and inspired to actively support MLPB because I am so impressed by the dedication and capabilities of Samantha Morton, the Executive Director, and her team.

Geographic Area Served


Fall River
State-wide reach through our Healthy Families Massachusetts
National reach though our DULCE partnership, including California, Florida, and Vermont

Organization Categories

  1. Health Care - Patient & Family Support
  2. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Alliances & Advocacy
  3. Community Improvement, Capacity Building - Management & Technical Assistance

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Medical-Legal Partnership Services

We provide medical-legal partnership services to low-income, medically vulnerable patients treated at five hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts.
Budget  $650,000.00
Category  Health Care, General/Other Patient & Family Support
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent People/Families with of People with Disabilities Veterans
Program Short-Term Success 

At the conclusion of MLP advocacy for patient-clients, they will, among other things:
-live in safe, healthy, and affordable housing;
-be able to access health-promoting benefits (food, disability, and healthcare access-related) to which they are legally entitled;
-receive appropriate school-based services for a child with special needs.
Program Long-Term Success  Ten years from now, all healthcare teams in Greater Boston that treat low-income, medically vulnerable patients will collaborate with legal partners to successfully screen for, identify, and resolve patients' legal problems (such as a landlord's intransigence in correcting unhealthy housing conditions) before they become legal and health emergencies. The incidence of such legal problems in compounding health disparities will substantially decrease.
Program Success Monitored By  Earlier this month at the national MLP Summit, a research partner from BMC Pediatrics presented on what surely will be the tip of the iceberg in terms of data documenting legal services as a critical “prescription” for low-income patients: in a methodologically rigorous, IRB-approved randomized controlled trial of families with infants between the ages of 0-6 months treated at BMC, families whose case manager was “backed up” by a tight connection to MLP | Boston staff were – in a statistically significant manner – more successful in accessing “concrete supports” (e.g., food stamps and housing subsidies) than families in the control group whose case manager was working without MLP back-up.
Examples of Program Success 

Eight year-old “Carol” suffered a preventable allergic reaction at school requiring emergency room treatment. Her elementary school was not taking adequate steps to ensure that she would not be exposed to another life-threatening allergy trigger in the future, and so Carol’s mom pulled her out of school. Protecting Carol’s life outweighed preserving her school attendance, but this compromised her educational success.

Thanks to Carol’s doctor, she and her family were connected to MLP |Bostonand two dedicated pro bono attorneys. Thanks to their intrepid advocacy, Carol is back in school now – safely. The safety measures and supports she needed to thrive in school are now in place, in compliance with the law entitling her as a student with a disability to a free and appropriate public education.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Ms. Samantha J Morton Esq.
CEO Term Start Jan 2009
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
Samantha J. Morton is Executive Director of Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston (MLPB), the founding site of the national MLP network. Ms. Morton is a national expert on how upstream legal problem-solving strategies can address social determinants of health (SDOH), and how the healthcare and human services communities can better align to reduce health disparities and advance health equity for consumers and communities. Her initial years as an MLPB public interest lawyer included a focus on immigration advocacy and pro bono engagement strategies, and she has published and presented extensively on interdisciplinary SDOH problem-solving strategies. Before joining MLPB, Ms. Morton was a litigation associate at Hale & Dorr LLP (now WilmerHale) and a judicial clerk at the United States District Court for the District of Maine. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law and her BA from Cornell University.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ellen Lawton -- Dec
Jean Zotter -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. JoHanna Flacks Esq. Legal Director JoHanna Flacks is the Legal Director at Medical-Legal Partnership Boston (MLPB), among other things serving as a liaison to all of MLPB's private bar partners. Before joining MLPB in 2006, JoHanna was in private practice, and provided pro bono services to the Cape Cod Anti-Discrimination Task Force in its campaign to establish the Barnstable County Human Rights Commission. Prior to that, she served as Assistant General Counsel for the Boston Public Health Commission, and Senior Investigator for the Boston Fair Housing Commission. She began her career as a labor-side employment discrimination litigation associate. JoHanna graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and Brandeis University.


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


We proudly collaborate with leadership and front-line staff at the following healthcare, human services, and workforce development partners:
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Boston Medical Center
  • Cambridge Health Alliance
  • Center for the Study of Social Policy
  • Children's Health Watch
  • Commonwealth Corporation
  • Dana-Farber Research Institute
  • Good Samaritan Medical Center
  • Greater Fall River Healthy Families, a program of People, Incorporated
  • Hallmark Health System
  • Healthy Families Massachusetts, a program of The Children's Trust
  • Metro North Regional Employment Board
  • Mount Auburn Hospital
  • St. Anne's Hospital
  • St. Elizabeth Medical Center
  • Steward Healthcare System, LLC
  • Vital Village
We also collaborate with the following pro bono partners: 
  • Adams & Sammon
  • Boudreau & Boudreau LLP
  • Broderick Bancroft & Goldberg
  • Brown Rudnick LLP
  • Collora LLP
  • Day Pitney LLP
  • Fish & Richardson P.C.
  • Foley Hoag, LLP
  • Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Goodwin Procter LLP
  • Klein Hornig
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Margolis & Bloom
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • MetLife
  • Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
  • Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP
  • Pabian Law
  • Pakrooh Law
  • Peabody & Arnold LLP
  • Prince Lobel Tye LLP
  • Ropes & Gray LLP
  • Rosenfeld Rafik & Sullivan, P.C.
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Spartan Race, Inc.
  • Todd & Weld LLP
  • WilmerHale
We also partner with a range of legal, social services, and public health agencies/coalitions.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Please note that because we are a fiscally sponsored program of TSNE, MLPB is covered by TSNE's management policies. 

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 6
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 250
Number of Contract Staff 6
Staff Retention Rate % 83%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 6
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair N/A N/A N/A
Board Chair Company Affiliation No Affiliation
Board Chair Term Sept 2012 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Anne Marie Conway AMC Consulting, LLC Voting
Julia Hesse Choate Hall & Stewart LLP Voting
Renee M. Landers Suffolk University Law School Voting
Kirsten Meisinger Cambridge Health Alliance Voting
Margaret Ann Metzger Margaret Metzger JD Voting
Melissa Nott Davis McDermott Will & Emery Voting
Roberta Rosenberg Community Volunteer Voting
Melissa Shannon Community Volunteer Voting
Everett Shorey Shorey Consulting, Inc. Voting
Tonie Stephenson MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering Voting
Geoffrey W. Wilkinson Boston University School of Social Work Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 9
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Finance
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As a fiscally sponsored program of TSNE, we are governed by TSNE’s Board of Directors, but we have convened an active MLPB Advisory Board composed of leaders in healthcare, law, public health, entrepreneurship, and marketing to support us. This Board meets every two months. Given that this is an Advisory Board, there is no chair or officers.

TSNE's board of directors -- which governs the ~40 programs under its incubating umbrella -- includes:

Tammy Dowley-BlackmanPresident
Vice-President, CFLeads 

Sally Sharp LehmanVice President
Manager, Bridgespan Group

Karen WheelerTreasurer
Controller, Unitarian Universalist Association 

Arlene FortunatoAssistant Treasurer
Chief Development Officer, Kraft Center for Community Health at Partners HealthCare 



Miki Akimoto
Senior Vice President/Grantmaking Practice Director, U.S. Trust/Bank of America 

Rahn Dorsey
Chief of Education, City of Boston

Charlayne Murrell-Smith
Vice President, External Relations and Corporate Development, Boston Children's Museum 

Marjorie Ringrose
Former Executive Director, Social Venture Partners
Cheryl Schaffer
Director of Finance and Administration, Union of Concerned Scientists
Meher Shulman
Associate Director, Nonprofit Support Program, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving 

Robert Wadsworth
Senior Fellow, The Boston Foundation

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $657,744 $554,964 $597,666
Total Expenses $623,059 $478,742 $583,089

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$40,925 $63,243 $84,049
Government Contributions $528,434 $386,662 $397,389
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local $528,434 $386,662 $397,389
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $17,550 $17,421 $37,055
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $65,910 $85,190 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues $2,000 $1,700 --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $2,925 $748 $79,173

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $559,920 $431,299 $475,824
Administration Expense $63,139 $47,443 $57,784
Fundraising Expense -- -- $49,481
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.06 1.16 1.02
Program Expense/Total Expenses 90% 90% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 10%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $287,238 $176,786 $78,724
Current Assets $34,686 $76,222 $78,724
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $161,752 $85,986 $64,146
Total Net Assets $125,487 $90,801 $14,578

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 0.21 0.89 1.23

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Please note that financial documents shared here necessarily relate to our non-profit corporate umbrella agency, Third Sector New England. 

Foundation Comments

Medical-Legal Partnership Boston (MLP | Boston) is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England (TSNE) and has been a TSNE fiscally-sponsored program since July 26, 2012. As such, the audited financials and Form 990s posted above are that of TSNE. Prior to this, MLP | Boston was contained within Boston Medical Center's (BMC) entity structure.
The financial summary data in the charts and graphs above reflects MLP | Boston and is per the supplementary sections of TSNE's audited financials.
Per the organization: MLP | Boston was founded in 1993 at Boston Medical Center, and was originally known as the Family Advocacy Program. In 2005, thanks to support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kellogg Foundation, the program was (a) re-branded as Medical-Legal Partnership for Children and (b) expanded to house both local MLP service delivery operations and a National Center for MLP dedicated to replication and technical assistance -- the fused programs stayed within BMC's entity structure. In January 2009, the local and national programs bifurcated (separate staff, finances, etc.) and re-branded (again) as Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston and the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership -- but again, each program remained fiscally sponsored by BMC. In July 2012, as MLP | Boston prepared to expand service delivery outside historical bounds, the program effected a formal transition of fiscal sponsorship from BMC to TSNE. MLP | Boston has been a TSNE program since July 26, 2012; but the MLP | Boston office remains sited on the BMC campus as MLP | Boston continues to provide robust service delivery to BMC patient-families.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?