Passages of Hope andJustice 13 Seeds of Change DC Appleseed There is something about a sick child that goes beyond social, political, and religious beliefs. It goes right to the heart of every human being, and simply can’t be ignored. So it’s hard to believe that, despite being located in the richest country in the free world, the District of Columbia’s health indicators for children are among the worst in the nation, including high levels of asthma, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness. DC Apple- seed, a non-profit focused on solving important policy problems affecting the daily lives of D.C. residents, is on the front line of these issues. When DC Appleseed sought volunteers with health law expertise, they turned to Karen Lovitch, who leads Mintz Levin’s Health Law Practice. Karen agreed to assist, and is working closely with Lauren Haley and Sarah Kaput. Mintz Levin attorneys Dianne Bourque and Carrie Roll have also contributed. Over the past year, Karen, Lauren, and Sarah have actively participated in two working groups, both looking at issues related to the District’s Medicaid program. Lauren’s group is analyzing the DC Department of Health Care Finance’s agreements with managed care organizations “to determine how the District can get the most value from its contractors on behalf of the children they serve,” as she describes it.“It’s been an opportunity to see how the government strives to use its resources for the benefit of its citizens.” Sarah’s group is focusing on D.C. Medicaid enrollees who are children, and the barriers that prevent them from accessing the health care they need.“Once we identify the barriers, we’re going to look for ways to break them down,” Sarah says. Working in collaboration with the Children’s National Medical Center and other non-profits, the group’s initial study focuses on asthma patients. Sarah is helping to identify and address relevant legal issues, including outreach and access requirements in the Medicaid laws and regulations. Lauren and Sarah agree that working with DC Appleseed has given them new insights into the work they do.“Our view of the authorities that govern Medicaid providers tends to be narrowly focused. We’re taking a broader view and looking at these issues in a more practical way to improve the health of children,” Lauren says. “ DC Appleseed provides us with an opportunity to serve a cause with which we are all aligned – to help underserved children be healthier.” – Karen Lovitch Mintz Levin Health Law Practice Leader