2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Rachel Holtzman

Rachel Holtzman

  • Hosted by New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
  • Sponsored by Advance, Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rachel (she/her/hers) will represent medically fragile children (MFC) in New York City in appeals of adverse Medicaid determinations and wrongful denials of medically necessary care. Her work at the New York Legal Assistance Group will ensure that medically fragile children can remain at home, and undertake systemic advocacy on related issues.

Many medically fragile children risk being placed into settings where infectious diseases, like COVID-19, are more easily spread—places like emergency rooms, nursing homes, rehab facilities, and group residences. The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) provision of the federal Medicaid Act guarantees medically necessary health care for children under age 21. EPSDT protections, however, are poorly enforced. This leads to unlawful denials of care and places medically fragile children at risk of institutionalization. Despite the significant legal needs of medically fragile children, few legal services providers exist for MFC in New York City to avoid institutional placement. This project will address this access to justice gap, and in doing so will help keep medically fragile children safely at home with their families.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Rachel will provide direct representation to medically fragile, low-income children through all stages of their appeals process to maintain Medicaid eligibility and access medically necessary care. She will also engage in policy advocacy and impact litigation by working with coalitions of other advocates and attorneys who are advancing the rights of people with Medicaid coverage. She will also facilitate community education for families of medically fragile children and lead educational trainings for pediatric clinicians through partnerships with local and national organizations. Finally, she will design legal trainings and toolkits to foster more sources of legal advocacy for these children and their families.

Rachel’s own chronic health condition, a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia, as well as her background as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer fuel her commitment to ensuring all people have access to the health care, services, and supports they need.

Media

NYLAG Equal Justice Works Fellow Rachel Holtzman Joined Advocates in Support of New York Providing Continual Medicaid Coverage for Children From Birth to Age 6

Everyone deserves to receive care at home and in their communities surrounded by the people they love. I am excited to work alongside families, providers, and legal advocates to ensure a child’s income, disability, and race does not determine their ability to receive the care they need while staying home with their families.

Rachel Holtzman /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Rachel

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Caroline Shurig

Host: LAF

Sponsor: Pfizer Inc.

Antoinette Pollard

Host: Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Betsy Havens

Host: Florida Legal Services

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Meghan Lang

Host: National Center for Youth Law

Sponsor: Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati