August 3, 2023 — The Mount Sinai Medical Legal Partnership (MSMLP), which provides legal aid to Mount Sinai Health System patients in need, has launched a clinic to help breast cancer patients navigate legal issues that arise due to their diagnoses.
The MSMLP breast cancer clinic is a $100,000 project that was partially funded by a grant from the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert. Lawyers from the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Legal Health Division will assist patients at Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center with unemployment issues, housing issues, social security benefits, and end-of-life documents and directives.
The clinic was created to help patients who find themselves in need due to a variety of reasons, including being unable to go to work during intensive treatments, needing help with housing or public benefits, or needing help with wills or guardianship. The MSMLP breast cancer clinic will screen patients virtually or onsite at the Dubin Breast Center to determine their needs and either give legal advice or fully represent them, depending on their case.
“We want all of our breast cancer patients to be able to focus on getting healthy, and when the ground is falling out from underneath you due to work or housing issues, on top of a cancer diagnosis, that can feel impossible,” said Allison Charney, MSMLP Executive Director. “We work to address a patient’s legal needs, which can sometimes be brought on by their medical diagnosis, to improve the overall health of our community and end the vicious cycle in which illness and disease are both cause and consequence of poverty.”
Medical staff and social workers will refer patients to the clinic based on their needs. MSMLP estimates that hundreds of patients who come to the Dubin Breast Center may need legal aid.
“The Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert is proud to support Mount Sinai’s breast cancer legal clinic,” said Fanni Koszeg, the group’s Executive Director. “This effort perfectly aligns with our mission to focus on the intersection of the law and breast cancer and to leverage the legal community’s strength, passion, resources, and expertise to provide support for all those affected by breast cancer.”
MSMLP was founded in 2016 to provide the most vulnerable of Mount Sinai’s patients with free legal services in eight legal clinics throughout the Health System, in order to prevent and remedy the social and environmental conditions that can negatively affect a patient’s overall well-being. MSMLP brings together lawyers and health care teams to holistically care for Mount Sinai’s patients by giving them legal help in areas including housing, education, benefits, family law issues, wills, and immigration.
“We are proud to host this essential service to our breast cancer patients at the Dubin Breast Center,” said Elisa Port, MD, Director of the Dubin Breast Center and Chief of Breast Surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System. “We serve all patients, regardless of their economic background, and being able to host a legal clinic to help our most vulnerable patients aligns with our overall mission of excellent and holistic care.”
“MSMLP has helped better serve our patients’ legal needs, which we know can lead to healthier outcomes,” said Beth Essig, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Mount Sinai Health System, and MSMLP Founder and Advisory Board Member.
For more information: https://www.mountsinai.org/