One in Eight: Women Fighting Breast Cancer Get Boost From Lawyers
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, many of her most important questions can’t be answered by a doctor. Will my boss let me take time off for treatment? What if my insurance won’t cover a new treatment? Do I risk losing my benefits if I am not working full time?
To help lawyers answer these questions for their clients, the Section of Health Law sponsored a breast cancer advocacy workshop on Thursday at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The program featured a panel of experts from across the country including Steven Pockrass, a shareholder in the Indianapolis office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart. Pockrass is a leading expert on the Family and Medical Leave Act.
“You would think that when it comes to breast cancer, the number one legal issue would be denial of insurance coverage, but in fact, the number one issue is employment,” said Pockrass.
He shared that many breast cancer patients face employment discrimination due to misconceptions about the disease and a lack of empathy and understanding of cancer. However, both federal and state laws protect against unlawful employment actions.
Panelists recommended that people with breast cancer work with legal advocates. Such professionals can help patients understand the complex healthcare provisions of insurance coverage that are often difficult to understand.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, underscoring the need for more advocacy workshops. Several others are already set to take place around the country. These workshops, sponsored by hospitals, individual lawyers and state and local bar associations, are made possible by the support of the Section of Health Law.