Photo of Deborah Steinberg

Deborah Steinberg

  • Hosted by Health Law Advocates
  • Sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
  • 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 will provide direct legal services and advocacy for low-income people in Massachusetts who are unable to access medically necessary mental health care.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts with mental health conditions. The majority of these people do not have access to the treatment they need, especially those living in poverty. Individuals with mental illness are more likely to be denied services or face unnecessary financial and procedural barriers than people who seek physical health care. This disparity, compounded by stigma, exacerbates the poor health outcomes and overall wellbeing of people with mental illness.

Deborah is the right person for the project because:

  • She has been volunteering as a crisis counselor on suicide prevention helplines for more than ten years
  • She worked directly with low-income people with mental illness in Massachusetts at the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee
  • She has the experience and knowledge of the health care delivery and payment system of Massachusetts from her work in the Office of Patient Protection at the Health Policy Commission
  • She has defended, supported, and advocated for people with mental health conditions in a variety of other settings, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Protection and Advocacy systems, the National Health Law Program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Disability Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Fellowship Plans

In the first six months, Deborah will:

  • Raise awareness by contacting various stakeholders, including MassHealth, provider networks, and advocacy organizations
  • Begin assisting low-income clients with mental illness to access mental health care services when they receive denials of coverage
  • Research ways to expand equitable access to the full range of mental health services in Massachusetts
  • Outreach to especially vulnerable communities with unmet mental health needs


Navigating Legal Barriers to Mental Health Services

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Rose Cuison-Villazor

Host: New York Lawyers for the Public Interest

Sponsor: Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Jessica Podesva

Host: Greater Boston Legal Services

Sponsor: Biogen, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

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Graham P. Bowman

Host: Chicago Coalition for the Homeless

Sponsor: Jackson Lewis LLP, Pfizer, Inc.

Laura Townsend

Host: National Center for Youth Law

Sponsor: Anonymous