Health Law Clinic Saves Clients $267,000 This Year

Hands-On Experience for Students Helps Vulnerable Population
Amy Walters, Christine Bottomley, Gina Sato, Winnie McBride, Mary Frances Charlton, Louisa Rich and Amanda Lineberry

Amy Walters, Christine Bottomley, Gina Sato, Winnie McBride, Mary Frances Charlton, Louisa Rich and Amanda Lineberry.

May 14, 2018

Five students recently taking part in the Health Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law recovered or prevented the loss of a total of $267,000 for clients, ending a year filled with positive outcomes for clients.

The clinic represented 66 clients overall, including at nine hearings.

Victories included the prevention of an area nursing home from evicting a senior patient without full use of his limbs. The students and their instructors, Amy Walters '09 and Mary Frances Charlton of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, negotiated a settlement that resolved the payment problem, saved the client an additional $1,000 and, most importantly, allowed him to stay.

Three clients whose Medicaid was on the verge of being canceled were also spared from losing their benefits this year.

Through the clinic, students represent low-income clients in a variety of health-related legal matters. The hands-on course gives students experience filing benefits claims, responding to Social Security overpayments, and drafting wills, advanced directives and powers of attorney, among other legal tasks.

Students Christine Bottomley '18, Amanda Lineberry '19, Winnie McBride '19, Louisa Rich '18 and Gina Sato '19 participated in the clinic.

“With the assistance of the clinic, I was able to get favorable outcomes for every client I represented,” Bottomley said.

The students learned to work with various parties, including government employees, doctors, families, bank representatives and judges.

“From prison inmates to a 96-year-old man, I have learned to listen to their stories and build factual narratives,” Sato said of her clients. “I also learned how to advocate for their needs and help our clients navigate the maze of agencies and paperwork.”

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