When Millie, a 35-year-old blind woman with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder who lives alone, learned that the personal care services she receives through her Community Health Choices managed care plan would be significantly cut, she was worried and distraught. Because Millie needs an aid to enjoy activities in the community, her independence and safety would be considerably curtailed if these cuts were implemented. Fortunately, Millie had Pennsylvania Health Law Project to turn to for help. A PHLP case-handler documented why she needed these services which became a critical piece of evidence for Millie’s hearing, which ultimately helped to ensure that her personal care services were retained.
Millie is just one example of the hundreds of people with disabilities across southwestern Pennsylvania who receive PHLP’s legal help to protect their Medicaid coverage and services. This kind of individual advocacy also helps to inform the PHLP’s systemic advocacy. As PHLP uncovers individuals’ barriers to healthcare, it uses this information as it monitors and analyzes proposed policy changes and legislation. PHLP then works with its clients and other advocates to push for policy and program changes to improve access to healthcare for people with disabilities, and other low-income populations. PHLP also provides education and training to people with disabilities, their caregivers, and other professionals so they can access quality healthcare and essential supports to enhance their independence.