June brought the end of a lackluster state legislative session and continued negative policy shifts at the federal level, but also some reminders of community coming together – whether by pitching in to paint fences and clean up vacant lots, or by publicly standing together for what is right. Find out more in this June edition of Policy Matters.
Policy Matters may have been on hiatus but our policy efforts have still been going strong! For our May 2018 edition we’ll bring you up to date on many areas where Empire Justice has been making a difference – making the law work for all New Yorkers.
Bright Spots in the Budget but Pressing Concerns Remain for Medically Fragile Seniors, Disabled New Yorkers, and People at Risk of Homelessness
Alexia Mickles is a Staff Attorney with the Health Law Unit in Empire Justice Center's Rochester office. Alexia devotes her practice to ensuring access to Medicaid and Medicare to New York's most vulnerable populations. As a law student, she interned with the Empire Justice Center's Disability Advocacy Program (DAP). Alexia graduated cum laude from SUNY Fredonia (2012) and holds a law degree from Pace University School of Law (2015). At Pace, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Pace Intellectual Property, Sports, & Entertainment Law Forum (PIPSELF). Alexia is licensed to practice law in New York (2016).
Cheryl Keshner is a Senior Paralegal/Community Advocate with the Empire Justice Center in the Long Island office, where she assists indigent people, particularly immigrants, in obtaining assistance from the Department of Social Services and other government agencies. She is active in advocating for the rights of people with limited English proficiency and has provided training and technical assistance to other advocates throughout the state. She is the founder and coordinator of the Long Island Language Advocates Coalition (LILAC), a coalition of individuals and organizations based on Long Island working to attain equal access to programs and services, such as healthcare, law enforcement, social services, education and justice through the courts, for persons who are limited English proficient. The coalition was successful in obtaining passage of executive orders in both Nassau and Suffolk counties mandating county agencies to provide comprehensive language access. Cheryl was the recipient of the 2013 Suffolk County Civil Liberties Union Equality Award. Prior to joining the Empire Justice Center, Cheryl worked for fifteen years as a social worker with Nassau/Suffolk Law Services where she assisted numerous homeless individuals and families, challenged work rules disqualifications and provided representation at fair hearings, and engaged in community education regarding welfare reform. She has also worked as a community organizer with the NYC Commission on Human Rights . Cheryl is fluent in Spanish and has an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.
Linda Hassberg is a senior staff attorney in Empire Justice Center's Long Island office. Linda's primary responsibility is impact litigation to bring about systemic change, primarily in the areas of public benefits, civil rights, health and family law. Linda joined the Empire Justice Center in 2007 to help open the Long Island Office. Prior to that time, she served as litigation counsel of the not-for-profit Western New York Law Center in Buffalo, New York, where she conducted individual and class action impact litigation on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged in the areas of public benefits, health care, education, housing discrimination, and civil rights. Her other legal experiences include association with a private law firm in a practice devoted to the rights of people with disabilities and special education law. She also maintained a practice in union-side labor and employment law. Linda graduated magna cum laude from the University of Buffalo Law School in 1992 and clerked for the Hon. John T. Curtin, USDJ for the Western District of New York from 1992-95. Prior to law school, Linda was a union activist, educator, and organizer for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees "AFSCME" and holds a Masters degree in U.S. Social and Labor History.
Senior Staff Attorney
Geoffrey Hale is a Senior Health Law Attorney at the Empire Justice Center, where he has worked since 2009 on legal issues in health, health policy, and disability advocacy. His health work focuses primarily on Medicaid and Medicare, ensuring access to needed health care through a combination of direct client representation, administrative and legislative advocacy, and litigation. Together with co-counsel from the National Health Law Program, he brought federal litigation challenging service limitations in the New York Medicaid program. In addition to client advocacy, Geoffrey also provides training, legal support, and technical assistance to health advocates throughout New York State and has presented at numerous state-wide conferences on health and disability issues. He is the lead attorney for Empire Justice in Community Health Advocates, a statewide network of agencies supporting individuals facing difficulties accessing care through their insurance plans for both public and private programs purchased through the New York State of Health Marketplace. Geoffrey is an active member in a number of state-wide consumer advocate coalitions, including, Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), New York Medicaid Matters, and the Coalition to Protect the Rights of New York’s Dually Eligible (CPRNYDE). He also works directly with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help secure the health care needs of New York’s most vulnerable populations. Geoffrey earned his law degree at the University at Buffalo; he also holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the Johns Hopkins University.
Senior Staff Attorney
Amanda Gallipeau is a Coordinator with the Health Law Unit in Empire Justice Center's Rochester office. Her work is focused on assisting those who are struggling to access health benefits, providing direct client services, technical assistance and training to advocates. She is responsible for the management and reporting of the various funding contracts that support the work of the health team. Amanda serves on the Partnership for Access to Healthcare (PATH), a community partnership through Common Ground Health, whose mission is to increase health insurance coverage and expand access to care, by promoting universal coverage, monitoring state policy, and tracking the impact of the lack of insurance in the region. Before joining the Health practice group, Amanda previously worked in the Foreclosure Prevention unit at Empire Justice Center. Her work focused on advocating for low-income homeowners who had been targeted by predatory lenders as well as with those homeowners who are unable to meet current mortgage obligations in an attempt to prevent foreclosure.
Health Law Coordinator