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Got lead?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Got lead?

While we welcome the ‘John Oliver effect’ that shines a much-needed light on the issue of childhood lead poisoning, what’s repeatedly left unsaid in this and other highly-respected top-tier media outlets is the power and the value of Early Intervention (E.I.) for infants and toddlers exposed to toxic levels of lead. Below is an unpublished letter sent to The New York Times co-authored by the director of our Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children program, Amy Zimmerman, and Anita Weinberg, clinical professor, Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Chair, Lead Safe Illinois which highlights the importance of this federally-mandated program:

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No place like home

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Advocacy, Child health | 0 comments

No place like home

Yesterday, federal district court Judge Charles P. Kocoras issued a court order requiring HFS [Illinois’ Medicaid agency] to “take immediate and affirmative steps to provide the very in-home shift nursing services that HFS approved.”

More than 1200 children have been approved for in-home nursing services based on their high level of medical need. Many of these children are dependent on complex medical regimens for routine bodily functions, such as eating, drinking, breathing, and oxygen regulation. Yet, the State failed to arrange for in-home nursing, resulting in unnecessary and costly institutionalization, heightened risk of medical complications, and diminished quality of life.

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Client Focus: Shaneea

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Client Stories | 0 comments

A young mother with a 4-month-old baby, Shaneea had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and marijuana abuse when her treating psychiatrist at an outreach partner, Fantus Clinic, referred her to the Homeless Project of the Legal Council for Health Justice. Like many of our clients, Shaneea suffered severe neglect and abuse as a young child, which triggered her entry into the child welfare system. She left the system as a teenager after her foster father punched her in the face.   Although a victim of significant childhood trauma, Shaneea succeeded in getting her GED and obtaining a job. Unfortunately, she was often agitated at work, and was observed responding to the voices in her head, which led to her dismissal and, ultimately, homelessness. Shaneea applied for disability benefits, but her previous educational and job success blocked her case and she was denied.   Homeless and suffering, Shaneea began self-medicating with marijuana as a way to quiet the voices in her head. She was living in a residential substance abuse treatment program for mothers when our legal staff met her. Using their trauma-informed training, our staff got to work to help Shaneea connect or stay connected with substance abuse treatment, psychiatric care, individual therapy and housing resources.   Legal Council staff obtained records from Shaneea’s closed DCFS file and documentation from Shaneea’s clinicians at Fantus, uncovering a history of child abuse and neglect, and severe psychological symptoms that persisted even when she was abstinent from marijuana use. We filed an appeal on Shaneea’s behalf, requested an expedited hearing, and worked with the partner clinicians to document the extent of her symptoms. Shaneea’s application was approved on appeal. With our intervention and support, Shaneea was able to stay linked with mental health care, and progressed from requiring residential inpatient to intensive outpatient services. She recently moved to her own apartment. She remains linked with vital mental health, substance abuse, and parenting support resources and is anxiously awaiting her first check so that she can furnish the apartment for herself and her...

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Silo busters

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Access to health | 0 comments

Silo busters

Last week we were delighted to attend the rollout of Chicago Department of Health’s draft “Healthy Chicago 2.0 Plan”

The event was the culmination of many months of action planning teams meeting and developing goals, objectives, and strategies to improve health equity in Chicago.

One of the highlights was an insightful presentation by Dr. Mindy T. Fullilove, Columbia University professor, psychiatrist and award-winning author of Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities. Attendees gave Dr. Fullilove a well-deserved standing ovation.

Team members at Legal Council for Health Justice were proud to contribute to the new plan, participating in and lending our expertise to action teams working on expanding partnerships and community engagement and strengthening child and adolescent health.

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On the Docket

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

On the Docket

Everyday our advocates provide free and immediate legal assistance, one client at a time. Other times, we defend access to justice to many more people than we could possibly represent in a single year.

Legal Council for Health Justice currently has four high-impact litigation cases. Two of them, Beeks v. Bradley and Memisovski v. Maram, are federal court cases in which we represent 3.1 million Medicaid recipients in Illinois. Working with the Shriver Center, we required the State of Illinois, despite the state budget impasse, to fund billions of dollars in Medicaid services. This work has ensured that doctors, medical clinics and hospitals continue to provide medical treatment to the 3.1 million Illinoisans, including 700,000 children in low-income households.

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First do no harm

Posted by on Feb 23, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

First do no harm

Last week’s budget address from Gov. Rauner would have people think the whole Springfield stalemate is about nothing less than the future of Illinois.

Meanwhile, the most vulnerable Illinoisans — children in low-income households, senior citizens, the disabled, victims of trauma and abuse — are being denied life-saving interventions that help them stay on the path to dignity, well-being, and self-sufficiency.

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Silver linings

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Silver linings

Our ears were burning when Governor Bruce Rauner mentioned court orders in today’s budget address. More on that later.

But a silver lining was the announcement of support of $5M increased funding to Early Intervention (EI), the program that closes the gaps for infants and toddlers living with developmental disability and delay.

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2nd Annual May Ball

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Press Releases | 0 comments

2nd Annual May Ball

SECOND-ANNUAL MAY BALL IS SATURDAY, MAY 7  Last year’s inaugural May Ball was such a success…and it’s time to bust out the fancy dress or tux and do it again! Dr. Nabeela Rasheed will again host us at her stunning turn-of-the-century, HGTV-featured mansion in the West Loop for an evening of champagne, cocktails, and delectable fare, all in support of the Legal Council’s work helping those who are the most vulnerable among us. For a very short time, the early bird price of $75 is available. Act fast, as a limited number are available and prices go up soon! Visit mayball2016.eventbrite.com or click HERE for tickets to the sure-to-sell-out May Ball!...

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Least we can do

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

Least we can do

Much has been written about the lead-poisoning tragedy in Flint, Michigan. But once the shock and awe are over, what happens? Longtime collaborators and leaders in lead safety, Amy Zimmerman (head of our Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children) and Professor Weinberg at Lead Safe Illinois point out that the very least we can do is to (1) match the commitment of other states, and guarantee automatic access to Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers poisoned by lead; and (2)  enforce existing state laws to prevent future generations of children from being poisoned. Read...

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Back in Court

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Back in Court

Legal Council for Health Justice went back into to federal court this week pushing for payment to Family Case Management programs that ensure pregnant women and newborns eligible for Medicaid receive appropriate medical care.  Yates and lawyers from the Shriver Center have successfully required the State of Illinois to continue to pay Medicaid providers despite the ongoing state budget crisis pursuant to consent decrees in Beeks v. Bradley and Memisovski v. Maram. As a result, the State of Illinois has agreed to pay Family Case Management programs ensuring that they will stay in business and support maternal child health. In addition, Yates and staff attorney Shannon Ackenhausen were in federal court in M.A. v. Norwood seeking a preliminary injunction to halt reduction of in-home nursing services to children who are medically fragile and dependent on technology.  That motion is still pending and will be resolved in an evidentiary hearing next week.  Through this lawsuit, we are working to maintain home-based services and protect children from institutionalization. This case is co-counseled with attorney Robert Farley and Winston & Strawn attorneys Ray Perkins, Bryce Cooper, and Alexandra...

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