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Medical Legal Partnership

Do you have a health-harming legal need?

At Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS), we are building a multidisciplinary health care team that can better address health-harming social needs.


A health harming legal need is a social problem that has a negative impact on a person’s health or access to health care. Sometimes an attorney on the health care team can address an issue that is impacting a patient’s health.

To address health harming legal needs, WNCCHS has a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) in place with Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) to offer free civil legal assistance to qualifying patients.  

Pisgah Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm and the largest provider of free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income people throughout Western North Carolina.


After some unfortunate setbacks, Gigi was facing eviction. Attorney Brian Dufresne helped slow down the eviction process, negotiate with her landlord, and help her find rental assistance.


  • Obtain and protect patient access to health insurance, social security benefits, food stamps, and other public benefits.

  • Secure protective orders and some family law assistance for survivors of intimate partner violence.

  • Help seniors stay in their homes, plan for end of life, and avoid financial or physical abuse.

  • Expunge criminal records and driver’s license restoration.

  • Prevent or delay eviction or foreclosure and improve housing conditions.

  • Help vulnerable immigrants who are the victims of violence or human trafficking. 


  • Help veterans maintain housing and veteran’s benefits. 

  • Help low-income individuals file their taxes and receive stimulus checks. 

  • Provide information and advocacy concerning Medicaid benefits through the NC Medicaid Ombudsman Program. 

Interested in a referral? Tell your WNCCHS Medical Provider.​


Brian Dufresne, Attorney
Brian began his professional career in Jeffersonville, Indiana as a social work case manager providing supportive services to individuals requiring extensive behavioral health care. Following his experience in community mental health, he earned a Juris Doctorate from Brandeis School of Law, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. Brian began his legal career in central Kentucky in 2008, where he practiced in a wide variety of civil legal practice areas at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. He also managed other lawyers practicing housing and public benefits law, and designed and managed a federally funded project delivering civil legal services to families caring for children exposed to opioid abuse. Brian moved to Western North Carolina in late 2022, but has family ties to the area and has been visiting since childhood. He is excited to now call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. He is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Kentucky.


Perla Bustos, Medical Legal Assistant
Perla graduated from Queens University of Charlotte with a double major in International Studies and Spanish in May of 2021. Soon after, she worked as a Bilingual Receptionist and Legal Screener for Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville NC. She assisted clients in accessing resources to address their civil legal issues, as well as determine eligibility for services. In July of 2023 she became a Notary Public and began her new role as the Medical Legal Partnership Legal Assistant. Perla comes from an immigrant family but all her life has known the Blue Ridge Mountains as her home. 

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