Mount Sinai introduces clinic to aid breast cancer patients in legal battles

August 2, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Mount Sinai Medical Legal Partnership (MSMLP), a notable provider of legal aid to patients within the Mount Sinai Health System, has introduced a novel initiative: a clinic specifically designed to assist breast cancer patients grappling with the legal complications that can arise from their diagnosis.

The clinic, established under the banner of MSMLP, is a $100,000 project, significantly funded by a grant from the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert (JALBCA). Its central mission is to offer legal guidance to patients at Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center. The clinic will provide support with unemployment issues, housing difficulties, social security benefits and end-of-life document preparation and directives.

This much-needed initiative emerges in response to the hardships patients may encounter while undergoing intensive treatments, which often leads to difficulties at work, housing issues, and complications in public benefits or legal arrangements such as wills or guardianship. The clinic will provide a thorough assessment of the patients’ needs, either virtually or onsite at the Dubin Breast Center, and offer suitable legal advice or representation.

Allison Charney, MSMLP executive director, underscored the driving motivation behind the clinic: “We want all of our breast cancer patients to be able to focus on getting healthy … 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.”

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The clinic will receive referrals from medical staff and social workers based on patients’ needs. MSMLP anticipates that hundreds of patients attending the Dubin Breast Center may require such legal aid.

In a supportive statement, Fanni Koszeg, executive director of the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert, said, “This effort perfectly aligns with our mission … to leverage the legal community’s strength, passion, resources, and expertise to provide support for all those affected by breast cancer.”

Founded in 2016, the MSMLP has consistently strived to provide Mount Sinai’s most vulnerable patients with free legal services through its eight legal clinics. The MSMLP’s commendable work aims to prevent and alleviate the adverse social and environmental conditions that can exacerbate a patient’s health condition.

Elisa Port, MD, director of the Dubin Breast Center and Chief of Breast Surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System, spoke highly of the new clinic, stressing that its mission of offering excellent and holistic care aligns perfectly with their overall ethos.

Beth Essig, executive vice president and general counsel, Mount Sinai Health System, who is also an MSMLP founder and advisory board member, echoed these sentiments: “MSMLP has helped better serve our patients’ legal needs, which we know can lead to healthier outcomes.”


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