2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Natalia Botella

Natalia Botella

Name of Host Organization: Legal Services of Southern Piedmont
City, State: Charlotte, North Carolina
Issue area: Health Care, Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership
Sponsors: Boston Scientific Corporation; Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

The Project

Natalia promoted the well-being of low-income cardiac patients in the Charlotte, NC region, through legal education and direct representation in matters stemming, from or impacting their cardiac health.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
On top of battling a serious medical condition, patients facing a cardiac diagnosis often face ancillary legal problems, both during and after hospitalization. These legal problems can have far-reaching consequences. For example, when discharged patients are unable to effectively care for themselves at home due to poor housing conditions or an improper denial of Medicaid in-home care services, these discharged patients are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital with complications. By providing legal assistance to cardiac patients, a medical-legal partnership can ease the burdens they face and provide them with the necessary support and peace of mind to more effectively battle heart disease.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Natalia has:
• Served 162 clients with legal issues related to their eligibility, for public benefits, including Medicaid, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
• The total cash and cash equivalent value of benefits awarded to the clients represented totals an estimated $746,298.18.
• In addition to direct legal work, Natalia has expanded Carolinas Medical-Legal Partnership (CMLP) to include a partnership with Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, with a particular focus on serving patients with congenital heart defects and streamlined referral and intake procedures in order to serve CMLP clients more quickly and efficiently.
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Natalia plans to:
• Continue working at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont as a staff attorney, working to improve access to health care and public benefits in North Carolina.

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