225 Varick Street
The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks a full time Staff Attorney in its New York office to help launch and shape a new, cutting-edge behavioral health ombuds program to help New Yorkers access insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders.
About the Organization: LAC is a private, not-for-profit law and policy organization, with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. LAC is the only organization in the country whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against and protect the privacy of people with criminal records, substance use disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS. LAC is a national leader in preserving the gains realized through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of expanded access to health care for people with mental health and substance use disorders and people in the criminal justice system. LAC uses a multi-faceted approach to effectuate its mission and create systemic change, including impact litigation, legal services, training and technical assistance, and policy advocacy.
About the Behavioral Health Ombuds program
Ten years ago, the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“Parity Act”) was enacted to end discrimination by health insurers against people with substance use and mental health disorders. The Parity Act requires most health insurers to cover mental health and substance use disorder services equally with other medical and surgical services. Unfortunately, enforcement of the Parity Act over the past decade has remained low, and its promise unrealized. As a result, millions of people with SUD and MH conditions cannot access necessary treatment.
In early 2018, New York State passed legislation establishing an independent substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health (MH) ombuds program (“ombuds program”) to help individuals with mental health or substance use disorders access appropriate health insurance coverage. LAC will work with state health agencies, the Community Service Society, and other partners to build and run the ombuds program. LAC’s role, including that of the Staff Attorney, will primarily be providing education, training, and technical assistance to the partner organizations and analyzing trends in order to promote systemic policy solutions. The ombuds program presents an exciting opportunity to save lives and make the Parity Act a reality in New York.
The Staff Attorney will participate in and eventually lead all aspects of LAC’s work on the new ombuds program. The Staff Attorney will:
- Create outreach materials and conduct outreach to raise awareness about the new ombuds program;
- Provide training and technical assistance to LAC’s ombuds partner organizations on the Parity Act and related federal and state laws and regulations; includes helping partner organizations identify clients’ Parity Act and related legal issues and enforce clients’ rights to health insurance coverage;
- Create educational materials about the Parity Act and related laws;
- Create templates for ombuds partner organizations to use for document requests, internal and external appeals, and complaints to regulators;
- With ombuds partner organizations and State agencies, analyze trends, identify systemic issues, and develop policy solutions; and
- Work on other LAC projects related to the Parity Act, including LAC’s “parity@10 campaign,” and other health law and policy issues as time permits.
The Staff Attorney will work in LAC’s Legal Department and report to the Legal Director, while also working closely with LAC’s Policy Department. The position will require limited travel, primarily within New York State.
- J.D. and admission to New York State Bar (recent law school graduates and candidates for admission will be considered).
- Commitment to promoting the dignity and rights of people with mental health and substance use disorders.
- Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively, take initiative, think creatively, and solve problems.
- Excellent legal research and analytical skills.
- Excellent written and oral communication and advocacy skills, including the ability to relate and communicate effectively with a diverse group of clients, community partners, and staff. A sense of humor is a must.
- Excellent time-management skills and attention to detail.
- Familiarity with health care law and systems preferred; familiarity with Parity Act a plus.
Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits, including medical insurance, 403(b) plan with employer contribution, and pre-tax flexible benefits.
Minimum Education Required
How To Apply
Please email a cover letter, résumé, and writing sample (no calls) to firstname.lastname@example.org and write “Staff Attorney – parity ombuds” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.
The Legal Action Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly encouraged to apply.