Public Interest Lawyering: Access to Health Care
J.D. Practicum 1081
| 3 credit hours
This course explores public interest lawyering and the critical role that safety net benefits play in assisting low-income people access health care in the United States. Using fundamental lawyering skills – client intake, counseling, outreach, negotiation, and advocacy skills, we will focus on Social Security disability benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid – the key government programs that provide assistance to economically vulnerable people. Using the District of Columbia (and its surrounding jurisdictions for comparison), students will examine eligibility rules, the benefits (and coverage) provided by these programs, and issues that arise requiring advocacy and appeal. We will also highlight safety net programs like the DC Healthcare Alliance, and prescription drug assistance programs for specialty populations like the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs.
The practicum part of this course will focus on the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and its annual open enrollment season. Medicare beneficiaries should review their prescription drug needs each year to confirm that their particular Part D plan will meet their needs for the following year. The Medicare Part D open enrollment season illustrates the technical eligibility and benefits concepts presented throughout the semester, the complex system that individuals must navigate in order to access care in our country, and the importance of strong client interviewing and counseling skills to educate and advise clients about these issues. The course materials and experiential learning will provide a technical and practical foundation for students interested in pursuing a career in legal services and / or public policy affecting low income populations and their ability to access health care.
Prerequisites: Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or a clinic (except Street Law) or another practicum course.
Students who wish to receive credit for the Externship Seminar and a practicum course that has the same field placement may do so only if: (1) the practicum course is taken in a semester following the Externship Seminar; and (2) the student receives permission from the Assistant or the Associate Dean for Clinical Programs. To receive such permission, the student must explain in writing how the practicum course field work would serve substantially different learning goals than did their externship field placement.
THIS IS A PRACTICUM COURSE.
This is a 3 credit course. 2 credits will be awarded for the 2-hour weekly seminar and 1 credit for approximately 5 hours of supervised work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The supervised work must be completed during normal business hours. The seminar portion will be graded. The 1 credit of supervised work is mandatory pass/fail and counts toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as the supervised work.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and practicum components and may not take either component separately. A student wishing to withdraw from the course will be withdrawn from both the seminar and field work components.
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