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Makes you want to scream

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Makes you want to scream

Republicans in Congress introduced a budget resolution that includes instructions to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is the first step in the process to repeal and delay, taking health care coverage away from 30 million, and consumer protections from millions more. Here’s what you can do.

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Training to Sustain

Posted by on Dec 19, 2016 in Child health | 0 comments

Training to Sustain

At Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (CMLPC) meetings, legal advocates ask questions about cases, share perspectives, and tell success stories. Last week, Sarah Hess, a staff attorney in the UIC Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids (CHECK) program, shared a particularly meaningful success.

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Client Focus: Janae and William

Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Client Stories, Medicaid, Public Aid | 0 comments

Client Focus: Janae and William

When Janae gave birth to William, things didn’t go exactly as planned. William was born premature and needed a hernia surgery, but for some reason, Janae could not get him a medical card to pay for the hospital bills. She was also having trouble getting other public benefits to supplement her income. Through the help of her community health worker, Janae and William were referred to the Legal Council. After many phone calls, meetings, and much research, our legal staff discovered that because Janae was adopted, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was causing a roadblock with Medicaid and other public benefits. We helped Janae fill out paperwork, and through our combined efforts, Janae  was able to get a medical card, food stamps, and additional income through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While Janae works hard at her job, she gets a low wage and the hours are difficult. Because of her newfound benefits, she has more flexibility to find a better job that works for her and her family. More importantly, William can have his necessary surgery and checkups to make sure he is a happy and healthy baby...

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We Will Fight

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in Home Page Sliders | 0 comments

We Will Fight

Dear friend, Our supporters make all the difference in the lives of the Council’s clients. We value our clients, and we value you. This letter is more than an appeal, it’s a call to action! For all our progress over the years—and there is no way to sugar coat this—we are suddenly entering into a dark, uncertain time that will have a negative impact on our clients, as well as millions of Illinoisans.    So right now I’m asking for your support—donate, volunteer, speak up—in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. Your support allows the Council to help those who are often least able to help themselves. Because of you, a record number of individuals this past year received free, expert legal help from the Council. Our work has led to major successes, including significantly expanding access to life-saving healthcare and guaranteeing legal protections from discrimination. But we know that the next president and many in Congress wish to repeal the Affordable Care Act, slash funding for social services for the poor, and chip away at civil rights for scores of Americans. These cuts will have devastating consequences for the Legal Council’s clients, so will you stand with us as we fight on behalf of those in need? With the looming cuts and challenges, our services will be in demand more than ever before. To help us continue making a difference in the lives of those who are least able to help themselves, please make a year-end gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. Some additional highlights that are possible because of your support: Our HIV program staff successfully negotiated with the Illinois Department of Public Health to prevent the termination of life-saving insurance premium assistance to HIV-positive individuals. We greatly expanded services to people at risk for HIV seeking access to PrEP, a medication regimen that is highly effective in reducing infection rates. Nationally, 70% of disability benefit claims are denied, while our homeless program has a 90% client success rate. I am so grateful for your support. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to help the nearly 2,000 clients whom the Council will assist this year. No matter what, the Council will continue to stand firm, fight, and never give up. Thank you in advance for your gift. Onward and upward, Tom Yates, Executive Director P.S. If you prefer, call 312-427-8990 to make your gift. Please also volunteer and speak up against bigotry and hate—we are all in this fight...

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Client Focus: Jane

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Client Stories | 0 comments

Client Focus: Jane

Being a 12 year old girl isn’t always easy. For Jane, being 12 is more complicated than most. When she suffered from a mental health crisis in the middle of the school year, Jane was struggling not only with her health but with bullying at her school. Any child would find it hard to cope with this combination, and Jane was no exception. For months, she was not well enough to go to school. Even once she mentally recovered, she refused to go to school for fear of being bullied. When her mother tried to get the school to help transfer Jane to a more appropriate setting, the school insisted Jane wasn’t currently enrolled because she had missed too many days. Unenrollment due to absences is in direct violation of school policy, but Jane’s mother couldn’t get any help from the school in settling this matter. Luckily, Jane and her mother found the Legal Council. Through determined advocacy, our staff convinced the school to recognize Jane as a student. After overcoming that obstacle, the school was willing to assess Jane and give her an individualized education program (IEP). Our staff was present at the IEP meeting to make sure Jane and her mother were heard, and the school developed a comprehensive and appropriate IEP for Jane. Once her needs were understood, Jane transferred and currently attends a new school that better suits her. With the resources and support she needs, Jane is now happy and able to go to school every...

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We won’t go back to 1964!

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Access to health | 0 comments

We won’t go back to 1964!

In the days after the 2016 election, we have thought long and hard about likely targets with a new administration and Congress. We see a new war on the poor with the first target being access to essential healthcare.

Medicaid is the principal program that provides access to medical care to the poor in Illinois. Since 1965 as part of the War on Poverty, Medicaid has been a remarkable program, providing life-saving healthcare for low-income Americans. And, the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA or ObamaCare) expanded Medicaid to single, childless adults living at or near poverty.

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Tilting toward justice

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Tilting toward justice

No matter what, the Legal Council will continue to stand firm, fight, and never give up. As an agency that serves people with legal problems impacting their well-being, we are resolved to continue our work toward justice and dignity. We have already heard from clients who are concerned that their medications will be taken away in the coming days. We will continue—as we have done for almost three decades—to advocate for the rights of our clients and work hand-in-hand with our partners across the state and nation.

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5 Things I learned from Kate (or trauma-informed care 101)

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 in Access to health | 0 comments

5 Things I learned from Kate (or trauma-informed care 101)

Legal advocate Kate Miller travels all over the city to meet with clients who are homeless with severe mental illness. She helps them get disability benefits. One Wednesday, I tagged along to see her work in action. It was a day full of perspective. Here are just five of the things I learned: 1. Small successes can be huge. Early in the day, one man agreed to a mental health evaluation. I didn’t realize the gravity of this decision until he left and Kate rejoiced, stating that his willingness to undergo the assessment demonstrates huge progress, not only for his case, but for his mental health as well. By agreeing to a simple mental health evaluation that will likely demonstrate that he cannot work, he is taking a huge step in achieving benefits and receiving care. 2. Great partners help achieve great work. Workers at the shelters always smiled when they saw Kate arrive. Her rapport with staff allows them to trust her and give her all available information on current and potential clients. These strong, genuine partnerships are crucial to staying on top of clients’ well-being and building their case. 3. Gaining trust is the first step. I knew about trauma-informed care, but after five minutes watching Kate, I started to understand the concept and its importance. Kate doesn’t push too hard. If she suspects trauma, she takes time and sensitivity to uncover information, respecting the client’s boundaries. Because of Kate’s skill at this practice, she gains the trust of her clients, making them more likely to stay in touch and give her information to build their case. 4. Humans are resilient. I heard many stories about past trauma, neglect, and abuse from almost all clients. However, many smiled and laughed in appointments. They were seeking help, meeting with Kate, and taking steps to improve their lives. They had all been through incredibly rough times, yet they were all surviving, which was a beautiful thing to witness. 5. Our work is interconnected. I work with one of the other programs of the Legal Council, Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (CMLPC) on many projects, particularly with increasing access to Early Intervention resources. The need for Early Intervention (EI) and Individualized Education Plans was clear on my day with Kate. Multiple clients dropped out of school because they just didn’t understand. With additional resources like EI and Special Education at a young age, these people could have overcome their delays and potentially avoided homelessness. The clients that CMLPC aims to serve are people that could end up as HOP clients if they do not access these crucial resources. Wednesday made it clear that Legal Council’s work is strategic, important, and more connected than it may appear. Sarah Horn, AmeriCorps...

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Making breathing easier

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Making breathing easier

Legal Council for Health Justice, Chicago Asthma Consortium, and Respiratory Health Association worked collaboratively last session on a new law to  help schools prepare for serious asthma attacks in school.  The legislation (Public Act 99-0843) requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a model emergency response protocol, and for school districts to implement their emergency protocols by January 1, 2017. Asthma is a common chronic lung condition that can be controlled through proper medication management and trigger avoidance. It is a leading cause of school absenteeism. Children with asthma miss twice as many school days as other children, on average. “In Illinois, nearly 1 in 6 children have asthma, but over 76% of those children do not have their asthma under control,” said Stacy Ignoffo, Director of Chicago Asthma Consortium. “Asthma that is not controlled properly can lead to asthma emergencies in the school setting, as well as increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations.”...

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Some gain, still pain

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Some gain, still pain

Illinois’ Stopgap Budget Offers Only Temporary, Partial Relief to Medicaid Recipients and Their Healthcare and Human Services Providers — joint statement from Legal Council for Health Justice and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

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