Advocacy

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…

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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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CHECK it out!

University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) recently informed us that the Legal Council was chosen to establish a program at UIC to provide legal services to children who are cared for through the Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids (CHECK) program. This will allow the Council to grow our children’s program and hire additional legal staff to handle the significant demand. We will be able to bring on an additional attorney and two paralegals for the CHECK program.

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Slip in the name of asthma

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

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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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

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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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

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

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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