Kimberly Lewis is the Managing Attorney of the National Health Law Program’s Los Angeles offices. Kim works on state and national health care issues, including Medicaid and health reform implementation, by engaging in policy and administrative advocacy, impact litigation and technical assistance and training to state advocates.
Kim has worked to improve access to quality health care for marginalized persons in California for more than two decades, including 10 years as an advocate in the mental health system. Most recently, she was a senior health attorney at the Western Center on Law & Poverty, where she was responsible for statewide advocacy on behalf of direct legal services programs in California serving low-income individuals and families.
Kim has served as co-counsel on a number of cases concerning Medicaid recipients’ access to coverage and health services. In particular, she has focused on mental health services under the Medicaid’s mandate for children, the Early and Periodic, Screening Diagnosis and Treatment obligation. Specific cases she has in this area are:
Katie A. v. Bonta. This class action lawsuit started as an over decade-long legal battle and resulted in a landmark settlement in which the state agreed to provide intensive home-based mental health services for tens of thousands of children in California who are in foster care or at risk of being removed from their homes. Kim has been lead counsel on the settlement, and in 2006 received the California Lawyer of the Year award in Public Policy for her work on that case.
T.R. v. Quigley. Kim is co-counsel in another class action lawsuit recently settled in Washington State concerning thousands of youth who have Medicaid and need intensive mental health services. The settlement calls for the state to create a Medicaid system that delivers intensive, individualized services to young people in their homes or in the most home-like setting possible in the community. Providing such home and community-based care will help prevent hospitalization, long in-patient stays, and placements in foster care and juvenile justice facilities.
Kim has also co-authored a portion of the second edition of the National Health Law Program’s signature publication The Advocate’s Guide to the Medicaid Program, and has written other publications and conducted training on a variety of topics. Before joining the National Health Law, Kim was a senior health attorney for 10 years at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, a statewide non-profit law office in California where she engaged in extensive litigation and policy advocacy and conducted training and technical assistance for advocates. Before that Kim was a government benefits attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where she provided direct representation to low-income Los Angeles residents in health, welfare and social security cases. Kim also spent a decade in academia at the University of San Diego School of Law, including serving as the Directing Attorney of the law school’s Patient Advocacy Program. During her tenure at the law school, she also established the school’s Mental Health Clinic, Homeless Legal Clinic, and a Special Education Advocacy Project to provide representation, education and training for families with children who are emotionally disturbed.
Kim is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law and received her B.A. from the University of Hawaii. Kim grew up in Hawaii, where she learned to surf when she was ten, and is the mother of boy/girl twins.