Health Law Advocates
  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Full Time

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: DO NOT APPLY VIA THE HLA WEB SITE. EMAIL A RESUME AND COVER LETTER TO SELIG@HLA-INC.ORG

Join a leading non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to protecting consumers' right to access health care through direct representation, community outreach and education, and public policy advocacy.

ORGANIZATION: Health Law Advocates, Inc. (HLA) is a dynamic public interest law firm founded in 1996. Throughout our history, we have been at the forefront of efforts to utilize legal advocacy to break down barriers to health care for populations historically underserved by our health care system, such as those with chronic illness or disabilities, children, elders, immigrants, transgender individuals and the uninsured. HLA makes health care more accessible through individual and class-wide legal representation, public policy reform advocacy and community outreach and education programs. For more information about Health Law Advocates, please visit our website at www.healthlawadvocates.org.

Our staff consists of experienced and newer attorneys and has hosted fellows from a variety of fellowship programs. Lawyers who have served fellowships at HLA have a strong record of obtaining further employment immediately after their fellowship, including with HLA in some instances. We ensure Fellows have ample professional development and networking opportunities.

FELLOWSHIP DESCRIPTION: HLA seeks a limited number of recent law school graduates to pursue project-based fellowships that will identify and serve unmet legal needs in our community. Fellows may choose one of the projects described below or develop their own initiative that will combine their interests with HLA's mission of fighting for health care justice for Massachusetts residents in low-income situations.

  1. Medical-Legal Partnership for Immigrants
  • Project Summary: HLA seeks a Fellow to work with us to expand our groundbreaking Medical-Legal Partnership for Immigrants (MLPI) to build capacity to serve clients referred from additional hospitals and community health centers, including serving clients in Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. The Fellow will also help HLA combat barriers to health care in immigrant communities through direct client representation, policy advocacy, and trainings.

Under the supervision of experienced legal services attorneys, the fellow will: establish new MLPI partnerships, counsel and represent immigrant clients facing health care barriers, collaborate with immigration attorneys from The Rian Immigrant Center and clinical partners, and engage in systemic advocacy and policy reform work to improve access to health care for immigrants.

  • Unmet Legal Need: Immigrants experience significant unmet social needs that directly and adversely affect health outcomes. Immigrants are uninsured or underinsured at far higher rates than non-immigrants.

Many non-citizens in Massachusetts qualify for public health insurance but are unenrolled due to barriers directly related to immigration status. Many patients and providers struggle to navigate the complex rules for non-citizen eligibility for public health insurance and the state regularly makes incorrect eligibility determinations. Fear of immigration enforcement also deters many immigrants from, enrolling in public benefits.

  1. Protecting the Health of People with Disabilities
  • Project Summary: Represent consumers with disabilities who have been unjustly denied access to life- and health-sustaining in-home health services, advocate for policies to improve access to such services, and develop self-help guidance for families struggling to obtain in-home health services.
  • Unmet Legal Need: Some individuals with disabilities and complex health needs rely on in-home health services to enable them to continue living at home. These services, such as those provided by home health aides and personal care attendants, are covered under many Medicaid plans, but consumers with low-income on Medicaid are regularly and unfairly denied access. As a result, these consumers are left to choose between unsafe and/or unhealthy living conditions or moving to an institution.
  1. Transgender Health Care Access Project
  • Project Summary: HLA's Transgender Health Care Access Project helps transgender and gender expansive Massachusetts residents who have low incomes to overcome wrongful denials of health care and coverage through direct representation, policy advocacy, trainings for providers and community members, and collaboration with other advocacy organizations and like-minded medical providers through the Massachusetts Trans Health Coalition.
  • Unmet Legal Need: Transgender and gender expansive Massachusetts residents routinely face unjust denials of medically necessary treatment of gender dysphoria and other health care needs. Health insurance coverage for gender-affirming services by public and private payers is still a relatively new phenomenon in Massachusetts and beyond. HLA's cutting-edge legal work helps clients obtain medically necessary gender-affirming services that would likely have been denied as "cosmetic" just a few years earlier. Our work has pushed the envelope to expand the types of services that are covered by insurers in Massachusetts, yet access barriers still remain.
  1. Medical Debt Initiative
  • Project Summary: Strengthen HLA's Medical Debt Initiative by representing clients with low incomes who have medical debt and advocating for legislative and regulatory policies that will decrease medical debt.
  • Unmet Legal Need: Medical debt is the most common form of personal debt in the United States and the most common reason for personal bankruptcy. Laws and regulations relating to medical debt are often unenforced, and unlawful medical billing is common. Medical debt is a major barrier to access to health care and studies have shown that BIPOC individuals are disproportionately impacted by medical debt.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must have a strong commitment to public interest law. We will also look for candidates who have health care-related work experience and/or who have completed significant health care-related coursework. Applicants who speak a language spoken by the populations HLA serves speak are preferred (Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole). Pursuant to the requirements of these fellowship programs, applicants must be willing to take the July bar exam, if not already licensed.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applicants are required to reach out to HLA to discuss potential project ideas in advance and to apply to more than one fellowship program. The details for applying to each fellowship program are below:

Application and Selection Timetable

Application opens: August 11, 2021

Interviews Begin for Selected Candidates: Rolling basis

Fellows commence work: September, 2022

Interested individuals must submit a cover letter and resume to Matt Selig by email at selig@hla-inc.org. Please include in your cover letter a proposed project and indicate your area of interest.

Health Law Advocates is an AA/EO Employer. People of color, LGBTQ identified people, gender nonconforming people, individuals with disabilities, veterans and people who speak a language in addition to English are encouraged to apply.

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