SUPPORTING INTERDISCIPLINARY CARE IN RHODE ISLAND: MLPB Equips a Clinician with Tools to Promote Health and Job Security

A physician at Memorial Hospital was treating a patient experiencing acute, debilitating back pain that had triggered multiple emergency department visits. Ms. Rivera* needed physical therapy only available during standard business hours, and was worried about approaching her employer for schedule adjustments. The clinician consulted with MLPB and learned that — with an accurate and properly prepared medical form — Ms. Rivera could leverage a range of legal protections in this situation and request a flexible work schedule over the course of the physical therapy regimen. With real-time guidance from MLPB, the physician prepared an appropriate medical attestation that Ms. Rivera shared with her manager when they met. The request for reasonable accommodation was successful, enabling Ms. Rivera to maintain stable employment while also getting necessary medical care! 


A primary care provider from Hasbro Children's Hospital consulted with MLPB on behalf of her patient, a child in foster care who had been unable to attend school due to transportation challenges.* The patient had been placed in a group home over 30 miles from his home school district and out-of-district transportation was required. While school districts battled over financial responsibility, all school transportation services for this child ceased. The student could not access essential schooling, and was missing opportunities to engage with his community, an important therapeutic element of his care. MLPB oriented this frustrated clinician on the patient's many legal rights under federal and state law. The provider then was equipped to write a letter to the school districts explaining in compelling language her patient's need for continued school placement in the child's home community and for immediate restoration of transportation services to the school. Thanks to this clinician's thoughtful Gatekeeper effort, transportation was quickly restored and the patient was able to return to school and engage with his community!

SUPPORTING INTERDISCIPLINARY CARE IN MASSACHUSETTS: MLPB Bolsters Legal Problem-Solving for a Mom with Immigration Concerns

A hospital-based social worker contacted MLPB about how best to help the mother of two young patients* with some immigration concerns. Mom had been in the U.S. for a decade and had a green card. The green card had expired, and while Mom was eligible to naturalize (gain citizenship), there was a problem. Due to a developmental disability, she is functionally illiterate — making it virtually impossible for her to succeed on the written portion of the citizenship exam. MLPB advised the social worker on Mom's legal eligibility for an exemption to the written exam, described the medical assessments that would be necessary to verify her eligibility, and supported the attesting clinician when they had questions about preparing the related paperwork. With support from an interdisciplinary team, ultimately Mom was sworn in as U.S. citizen! 


A Dana-Farber Cancer Institute social worker shared with MLPB that an unemployed patient was willing and able to work during treatment but was not able to attend Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) job search sessions due to her chemotherapy and radiation treatment schedule. The DUA had suspended her benefits, inaccurately claiming that she was ineligible for benefits if she was not well enough to attend the mandatory sessions. Elizabeth G.H. Ranks, Associate and Caroline K. Simons, Principal — both attorneys with Fish & Richardson P.C. — volunteered to take on this case. Thanks to their advocacy, the DUA reversed its decision and brought it into alignment with its own standards for reasonable accommodation of disabilities. As a result, the patient's benefits were restored retroactively and prospectively, restoring her bank account and her spirits as she returns to the workforce after successful cancer treatment!

*details modified to preserve confidentiality