Photo of Deborah Steinberg

Deborah Steinberg

  • Hosted by Health Law Advocates
  • Sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Mintz
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Deborah combats pervasive barriers to mental health care by providing direct legal services, community outreach, and advocacy for low-income residents of Massachusetts.

Thousands of low-income Massachusetts residents every year are inequitably denied or limited access to mental health services. More than half of individuals with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders face significant barriers to obtaining care, such as enrolling in comprehensive insurance plans, finding providers, and accessing medically necessary treatment and services. The existing mental health parity laws and health care consumer protections are ineffective and insufficient to meet the needs of this vulnerable population. Furthermore, these laws and regulations are inaccessible, especially for people with mental disabilities, without adequate legal representation.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Deborah has:

  • Advised or represented over 100 low-income residents of Massachusetts with mental health conditions facing denials of medically necessary services, barriers to comprehensive health insurance coverage, and unaffordable medical debt;
  • Secured approximately $300,000 in health care services received or medical debt eliminated; and
  • Collaborated with 24 advocacy organizations and local providers of mental health services to identify violations of mental health parity and advocacy opportunities to improve access to mental health care.

Next Steps

In the next year, Deborah plans to:

  • Continue representing low-income residents of Massachusetts resolve barriers to mental health care;
  • Increase advocacy efforts to strengthen mental health parity laws and regulations; and
  • Work with pro bono attorneys to assist and represent additional clients.


Navigating Legal Barriers to Mental Health Services

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