Objective. Energy insecurity may result in adverse consequences for children’s health, particularly for children with special health needs or chronic health conditions. We aimed to determine whether a multimodal intervention addressing energy insecurity within the framework of a medical–legal partnership (MLP) resulted in an increase in the provision of certifications of medical need for utility coverage in an inner city academic primary care practice. Methods. Working within a medical–legal partnership, we standardized criteria for providers approving medical need utility certification requests. We compared prior-year utility certification requests and approvals (pre-intervention) with the intervention year for families who reported energy insecurity on a waiting-room screening questionnaire. Results. Between the first and second years of the study, certification of medical need approvals increased by 65%, preventing utility shut-offs for 396 more families with vulnerable children. Conclusions. Energy insecurity can be screened for and addressed in a busy urban practice, potentially improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children.


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pp. 676-685
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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