Joshua Lester

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of Arkansas
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart
  • Service location Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Law school The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law
  • Issue area Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Joshua provides systemic legal advocacy, outreach, and policy change surrounding insurance coverage to low-income children and their families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital through a medical-legal partnership.

As families lose coverage, they are less inclined to seek medical attention, miss or ration medication, incur insurmountable medical debt, and face challenges with employment. Health care coverage is arguably the most important social determinant of health. Health policy and research have enlightened advocates and health care professionals on the spiraling effect a lapse in coverage causes to low-income families. Although new state requirements were projected to impact a small number of Medicaid recipients, figures are suggesting large numbers of recipients are negatively affected. Reports indicate that recent changes in the State’s health care requirements have impacted over 18,000 Arkansas residents.

Joshua was first introduced to medical-legal partnerships as a second-year law student at Cecil. C. Humphreys School of law. There, he had the opportunity to help children and their families at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where he fell in love with this work.

Fellowship Plans

Joshua’s project will offer assistance for children and families who are facing barriers, either obtaining coverage or having certain procedures and equipment covered by insurance. The project includes providing direct representation for patients and their families as well as legal clinics aimed at addressing the sub-issues with medical coverage. The project also includes a state-wide advocacy component aimed at creating a collaborative voice among health care stakeholders and Medicare recipients in Arkansas.

As legally trained advocates, I believe we have an even bigger obligation to care and get out and do something about it.

Joshua Lester /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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