Legal Council Blog

Views expressed in this blog belong to the respective author unless otherwise specified.

Slip in the name of asthma

May 5, 2016

The Help Schools Become Better Equipped to Handle Asthma Emergencies (HB6333) is now in the Illinois Senate and scheduled to be heard in the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee on Tuesday, May 10th, at 2:00pm. HB6333 would ensure that schools are able to handle asthma emergencies. In the event of an…

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Give him liberty

April 26, 2016

The Young Lawyers Section (YLS) of the Chicago Bar Association names our very own Justin Hayford its “2016 Liberty Bell Award Winner.” This annual award honors a non-lawyer each year who works in the legal system on behalf of the most disadvantaged.

For twenty-five years Justin has been a case manager and paralegal at AIDS Legal Council (now a program of Legal Council for Health Justice). During his quarter century of service, Justin has tirelessly advocated on behalf of low-income people with HIV who have nowhere else to turn for legal assistance. He has has directly impacted the lives of thousands of clients, trained countless groups of service providers and legal professionals in HIV law, testified before legislative bodies, and taken on various state and local bureaucracies on behalf of his clients.

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Client Focus: Hatim

April 26, 2016

Hatim, an HIV-positive man with limited English skills, first came to AIDS Legal Council after he sustained a devastating injury at his job as a butcher, and was unable to continue working. Hatim’s dominant hand had been caught in a meat grinder; as a result, he lost fingers and suffered extensive bone and nerve damage…

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Got lead?

April 20, 2016

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 Below is an unpublished letter sent to The New York Times co-authored by the director of our Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children program, Amy Zimmerman, and Anita Weinberg,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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home child drawing

No place like home

April 6, 2016

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

April 4, 2016

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…

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Silo busters

April 4, 2016

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

March 1, 2016

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

February 23, 2016

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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