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Provider resources for the social and structural determinants of health

Helping healthcare providers create a system that supports our marginalized patients by accessing resources and other sources of community support related to housing, criminalization, immigration, transportation, income support, and substance use.

Docs for Health launches fully in Fall 2020.

Send us a message with any comments or suggestions as we work to build out the site!

Our mission

Providers use Docs for Health to support patients in accessing the insufficient resources that exist within our current system of care. The resources here are valuable and possibly life-changing, but they are the start of, not an end to, our collective work to create a system that truly supports our marginalized patients. 
Our mission is twofold:

improvePatient quality of lifeand outcomes

Paperwork alone will never lead to justice but it is a place to start. We will raise awareness of the consequences of our needs- and deficits-based systems of care by equipping providers with practical knowledge to support productive partnerships with patients.
Illustration of flower to represent quality of life

PROMOTE ARights-based approachto patient care

By making visible the ways our patients experience structural violence, Docs for Health contributes to the dialogue about the state of our healthcare and social service systems, where patients and providers exist within them, and how we collectively navigate them.
Illustration of scale to represent a rights-based approach

Criminalization

There is significant evidence that incarceration worsens medical and mental health. A large proportion of people who are incarcerated suffer from mental health and substance use disorders. A correctional setting is far from the ideal place to treat these and other medical conditions. In fact, the researchers have found that people with mental illness and substance use disorders do better when they are treated in the community rather than in correctional settings.

  • Addressing a Criminal and/or Civil Charge Caused by a Medical Condition

    If your patient has been charged with a criminal or civil offense, this resource provides guidance in writing a letter to highlight how a medical condition, mental illness, or disability has contributed to their involvement in the legal system.
  • Preventing Incarceration

    If incarceration will impact your patient’s medical or mental health, this resource will help you to write a letter advocating that a prison sentence not be imposed on your patient.
  • Missed Court Appearances

    If, in your assessment, your patient has missed a required court appearance due to an underlying physical or mental health condition and is at risk of facing legal punishment, this resource will help you to write a letter advocating that your patient not be penalized for missing a court date.

Housing

Safe housing provides a stable foundation for patients to work on health-related goals. Without adequate housing, patients may be too preoccupied with survival to discuss longer-term health concerns. For patients with housing, ensuring that living arrangements are sensitive to health-related needs can be an ongoing challenge.

  • Preventing Utilities Shut-Off

    If your patient is seriously ill or has a disability and is at risk of having their utilities shut-off, this form will allow you to advocate for a deferral of service termination.
  • Shelters & Prisons: Requests for Accommodation

    If your patient stays in a shelter or prison, has a disability or injury, and could benefit from certain temporary accommodations within these facilities, this resource provides sample language to advocate for your patient.
  • Reasonable Accommodation Request

    If your patient has been experiencing disability-related denials, eviction notices, or is in need of home repairs, this resource will help you write letters advocating for assistance for your patients.

Immigration

Immigration status can predispose individuals to worse health outcomes in the United States due to factors such as limited insurance status and access to federal benefits, risk of detainment and deportation, and sociocultural barriers to accessing care. The experience of migration can have significant effects on patient's physical and mental health outcomes.

  • Medical Exceptions for U.S. Citizenship Test

    If your patient is applying for U.S. citizenship and needs to request an exception to the English and civics testing requirements for naturalization because of a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment, this resource will help you provide the medical documentation necessary to support a patient's request.
  • Allowing for Family Member Visitation

    If your patient is very medically sick and has family members residing outside of the country who are unable to visit due to immigration policies, this resource will help you write a letter advocating for the patient’s relatives to be allowed to temporarily visit the United States.
  • Preventing Deportation

    If, in your assessment, deportation will impact your patient’s medical or mental health, this resource will help you to write a letter advocating for your patient not to be deported from the United States by immigration officials.

Income Support

Individuals who have a disabling medical or mental condition may experience significant challenges in obtaining employment opportunities and accessing stable incomes. Substance use and housing insecurity further exacerbate these difficulties. Individuals with these co-occurring conditions may be eligible for disability income assistance.

  • SOAR Evaluations (Work in Progress)

    If your patient has a disabling medical condition and is experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, this resource will help you complete documentation that helps a patient apply for SSI/SSDI benefits.
  • DMV Licence Restoration

    If your patient has had their license suspended and would like to have it restored, this resource will help you connect them to lawyers offering pro bono legal representation for license restoration.
  • Emotional Support Animals

    If your patient wishes to be housed with animals whom they identify as supportive to them, this resource provides guidance for writing a letter that allows an individual to bring an animal into a building or other place that prohibits pets, and/or waives a deposit fee.
  • Long-term Supports & Services (LTSS)

    If your patient has limited mobility, chronic care needs, or diminished cognitive status, this resource will help you advocate for connecting your patient to community supports such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), meals on wheels, or nursing home placement.

Transportation

Travelling to appointments can be expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable. Faced with transportation challenges before every appointment, patients may find it difficult to maintain steady relationships with healthcare providers.

  • MTM (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation)

    If your patient experiences transportation difficulties and could use assistance to attend non-emergency healthcare appointments, this resource will help you complete documentation that helps a patient apply for MTM services.
  • DMV Disability Placard

    If your patient has a disability and needs a disability parking placard for their vehicle, this resource will help you fill out the application form.
  • RIPTA Disability Bus Pass

    If your patient has a disability and has difficulties paying for public transportation, this resource will help you write a letter advocating for your patient to receive a two-year disability bus pass.

Get in touch

Feedback on our resources? Thoughts on how to create a system that is sustainable and empowering both for our patients and for us as providers? Send us a message.
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