Pennsylvania Health Law Project: Helping People in Need Get the Health Care They Deserve
PHLP Celebrates Anniversary and Honors Health Care Champions in Pittsburgh

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, PHLP celebrated 20 years of incorporation at the DoubleTree Pittsburgh Downtown. At the breakfast, a diverse group of Western Pennsylvania health care stakeholders such as insurers, health providers, lawyers, and consumers gathered to honor PHLP’s achievements and foster ties for further collaboration. The breakfast included an award ceremony where PHLP staff recognized four Health Care Champions: Staunton Farm Foundation, East Liberty Family Health Care Center, Matthew Moses, Esq. (former PHLP Board Member), and Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging.

Photo: PHLP Executive Director Laval Miller-Wilson, Keynote Speaker Alan Meisel, PHLP Senior Attorney Fran Chervenak 
The breakfast culminated in an inspiring speech by University of Pittsburgh School of Law Professor Alan Meisel. In his keynote address, Professor Meisel highlighted the essential need for PHLP’s legal advocacy on behalf of consumers and its positive impact in Pennsylvania families and communities.
PHLP would like to thank everyone who attended the breakfast and our supporters over the last two decades. Please be sure to read our event tribute book and Professor Meisel's keynote address to learn more about PHLP’s achievements over the last 20 years.

PHLP Hosts Soros Justice Fellow to Connect People Leaving Jail to Health Services

PHLP is proud to welcome Maureen Barden, who will be serving as a 2013-2014 Soros Justice Fellow through a grant from the Open Society Foundation. After six years as the federal re-entry coordinator in Philadelphia and the preceding seventeen years as a federal prosecutor, Maureen joins PHLP for an 18-month fellowship project to connect people leaving incarceration with access to health care. 
Maureen’s fellowship project aims to ensure re-entering individuals have health insurance coverage when they leave prison and that this coverage translates into meaningful access to care. In the coming months, Maureen will develop model principles and practices for how to utilize the ACA to afford uninterrupted access to health care for individuals leaving prison. Based on this model, Maureen will begin to implement these practices in pilot jurisdictions. 
Maureen can be reached at

Client Continues to Work after PHLP Protects Her Eligibility for Medicaid 

Last month, “Alissa”, a 38-year-old woman from Allegheny County, received a notice from the County Assistance Office (CAO) terminating her Medical Assistance benefits. Alissa was enrolled in the Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) program, and was told her income was above the program’s limits.
Alissa was alarmed – she depends on access to quality health coverage to manage her behavioral health challenges related to depression and anxiety. Only with the support of weekly mental health therapy and medications covered by MAWD can Alissa successfully work. Furthermore, Alissa’s income had recently decreased, so she did not understand how the CAO could think she was making too much to qualify for MAWD. Concerned and confused by the CAO’s letter, Alissa turned to PHLP for help.
PHLP’s staff immediately recognized Alissa’s need and stepped in to advocate for her. PHLP contacted a supervisor at the CAO who could not explain why the office had ended Alissa’s health coverage. The CAO agreed the termination was improper and found Alissa eligible for Medical Assistance. Moreover, because of her decreased income, Alissa qualified for a different category of Medical Assistance, rather than MAWD, meaning that she no longer needed to pay a monthly premium for health insurance.
Health coverage makes a difference for Pennsylvanians living with mental illness.  With the right help people recover.  Alissa’s case is one example of PHLP’s daily commitment to ensure people in recovery have access to quality services and supports.
Support our work!

PHLP's Health Care Champions Breakfast

Read our event tribute book and keynote address to learn more about PHLP's achievements over the last 20 years. 

PHLP's 2012 Annual Report

Learn about the power of PHLP's advocacy work, legal representation, and communication education in the lives of Pennsylvanians in PHLP's 2012 Annual Report.

What We're Reading

PA House Bill 1492, Representative Gene DiGirolamo, June 5, 2013 (amending the Public Welfare Code to allow PA to participate in the federal Medicaid expansion program)

The Facts About the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and CHIP in Pennsylvania, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, May 30, 2013

PinnacleHealth CEO Calls Medicaid Expansion a "No-Brainer", The Patriot News, June 5, 2013

For States that Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion: 3.6 Million Fewer Insured and $8.4 Billion Less in Federal Payments, Health Affairs, June 2013

Recession Led to a Decline in Out-Of-Pocket Spending for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Health Affairs, June 2013

Are State Medicaid Managed Care Programs Ready for 2014?, Urban Institute, May 2013

Facilitating Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment and Renewal in 2014, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, May 17, 2013

Medicaid Expansion and Mental Health Care, NAMI, May 2013

Study: Immigrants Put Billions More Into Medicare Than They Use, Washington Post, May 30, 2013

Key Considerations for Supporting Medicaid Accountable Care Organization Providers, Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc., June 2013

What We're Hearing

Health Insurance Marketplace Training Schedule, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, June 2013

Support our work!

The Pennsylvania Health Law Project is a nationally recognized expert and consultant on access to health care for low-income consumers, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. PHLP engages in direct advocacy on behalf of individual consumers while working on the kinds of health policy changes that promise the most to the Pennsylvanians in greatest need.
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