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The health law practice at Empire Justice Center is focused on providing support for advocates across New York State who are helping low-income clients access health care.  Empire Justice provides technical assistance and training, takes referrals of complex cases, engages in policy advocacy, and, when necessary, files class action lawsuits to tackle systemic barriers to accessing health care.

On this page, under the topics listed on the left, you will find articles on health care issues written for the Legal Services Journal and the Disability Journal, as well as legislative memos and comments on state and federal regulation.  We also encourage you to visit NYHealthAccess, a relatively new website co-sponsored by Empire Justice, the Legal Aid Society of New York City, and Selfhelp, Inc.  NYHealthAccess will provide you with a comprehensive listing of advocacy materials on New York’s public health insurance programs. 


Session Wrap 2017: New Legislation to Enforce Medical Records Access Rules
A.7842 (Gottfried)/S.6078 (Valesky) will ensure free access to medical records for those applying for Social security and Medicaid benefits, as well as some veteran’s benefits. Read More

Session Wrap 2017: Access to Medically Necessary Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy
This past session, the Assembly introduced A.7772 (Barrett), which would provide relief from an outdated cap on Medicaid physical, occupational and speech therapy that, for the past five years, has been detrimental to New Yorkers struggling to access care that everyone agrees is medically necessary. Addressing the cap on these therapies has been a priority for Empire Justice Center for the past two legislative sessions. Read More


New York law eliminates medical record fees for those seeking government benefits
A new law that prohibits healthcare providers in New York from charging a fee to low-income, disabled residents applying for government benefits is being called a “huge win” by legal groups that say previous fee waivers were frequently ignored. Read More

Bill ensures free access to personal health records
A new law signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week aims to streamline the application process for Social Security, veteran’s benefits, disability benefits and more. Read More


Empire Justice Comments on Strengthening Consumer Protections in the Affordable Care Act
Read our comments to HHS, which were submitted in conjunction with several state and national partners, on how reducing regulatory burdens is a thin disguise for reducing much-needed consumer protections. Read More

Joint Memos of Support: Clarify and Simplify the Law Guiding Access to Medical Records
Nine advocacy groups from around the state come together in support of legislation that will simplify access to medical records. Read More



Policy Matters October 2017
Empire Justice Center's latest edition of Policy Matters. Read More



Know Your Rights: A Guide to Fighting Discrimination Against Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming New Yorkers Under the New York State Human Rights Law
Transgender and gender-nonconforming people in New York State are now clearly protected by our Human Rights Law (HRL), thanks to new regulations issued earlier this year. Our NEW GUIDE explains what gender identity-based discrimination might look like, and how to exercise your rights under the HRL. Read More


New York’s Exchange Portal: A Gateway to Coverage for Immigrants
Health Insurance Exchanges have the potential to eliminate many existing barriers to health insurance coverage for low-income workers facing reductions in salaries and benefits. Immigrant families, whose incomes tend to be lower to begin with, have been particularly hard hit by escalating health care costs. National figures from 2010 indicate that 75% of workers in noncitizen families were in traditional blue collar jobs, as compared to 60% of workers from citizen families. The average median annual income for noncitizens was $25,000, roughly half the amount for citizen households. In New York, home to 4.3 million immigrants, noncitizens are over three times as likely as citizens to lack health insurance. Read More





Helping Your Patients Access Medicaid
This training is designed for staff at community health centers across New York, but will be useful for staff at any community based organization that helps clients access health care services. Participants will learn about the public health care programs available to clinic patients, and strategies that have proven successful for overcoming common barriers to eligibility - including spend down, spousal refusal and pooled trusts. Read More

Public Assistance Issues for Teens and Young Adults / Housing Advocacy to Prevent Children from Languishing in Foster Care
This presentation will address some of the benefits and assistance available to teenagers, young adults and young families, approximately ages 16-22. Benefit areas covered will include cash assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid and housing resources for teens and young adults who are living on their own or aging out of foster care. Read More