Expanding Health Care Coverage

Grantee Name

Empire Justice Center

Funding Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Publication Date

October 2011

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

January 2008 – December 2008


This project aimed to increase health coverage by embedding legal and advocacy assistance within a community health center in upstate New York.

Health center staff members were trained on common legal issues and barriers related to health insurance. The project assisted 260 individuals with health insurance issues, enrolled 23 individuals in public health insurance, and initiated two advocacy projects targeted at systemic barriers to coverage identified by the project: a) implementation of an outreach and training plan to improve county administration of the Refugee Medical Assistance; and b) initiation of a region wide taskforce to improve transportation access for limited English proficient residents.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Provided onsite legal assistance and advocacy services to 260 individuals at Westside Health Services in Rochester, NY.
  • Trained Westside staff members on insurance eligibility criteria, retention procedures, and legal issues associated with refugee health care.
  • Provided advocacy services at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, a free clinic in the community.
  • Developed a toolkit, Helping Your Patients Access Medicaid, and disseminated it statewide through the Community Health Center Association of New York State (CHCANYS), which comprises more than 50 community health centers and 425 service sites.
  • Launched NYhealthaccess.org, a website that helps advocates assist low-income New Yorkers with accessing health care services.
  • Worked with the Monroe County Department of Health and Human Services, the New York State Department of Health, and the Genesee Transportation Council to resolve error and delay in processing Medicaid applications for refugees and language barriers in public transportation.

Read the report associated with this grant, “An Assessment of New York Health Foundation 2007 Health Insurance Coverage Grants.”