National Network of Volunteer Attorneys Thrives After 17 Years of Assisting the Healthcare Needs of Patients
Founder of the Patient Advocate Foundation’s National Legal Resource Network is handing the reins over to a new leader
HAMPTON, Virginia – Formed over 17 years ago by Sheldon Weinhaus and Nancy Davenport-Ennis, the National Legal Resource Network (NLRN) is comprised of our nation’s leading health care attorneys who volunteer their time and expertise for the benefit of patients facing complex healthcare problems resulting from chronic, debilitating and/or life threatening disease. Developed as a division of the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), this exclusive network of lawyers receives referrals directly from case managers, and work to resolve issues related to managed care, insurance, job retention and debt crisis matters.
“Shortly after PAF opened its doors in 1996, it became obvious that many of the patients we assisted needed legal assistance beyond what our case managers could handle”, stated Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Patient Advocate Foundation. “Sheldon was a member of our Executive Board at the time, and when this problem was discussed he quickly volunteered his personal time towards patient cases and committed to bringing some of his colleagues in to help as well.”
“It was a no-brainer. Seeing the challenges these patients were experiencing at their most vulnerable times (following their diagnosis) made it easy to volunteer.” Sheldon quickly got to work developing the National Legal Resource Network in partnership with PAF. As a founding member of PAF’s board leadership, Sheldon’s commitment to the needs of patients who were battling issues in their healthcare was apparent. Patients who reached out to PAF for individual case management assistance were frequently dealing with a myriad of complex issues including insurance appeals for their prescribed treatment, lack of access to clinical trials, disability claim denials and job discrimination as a result of their illness.
Sheldon, a partner in the firm Weinhaus & Potashnick, brought together many best-in-field and prominent health care attorneys to work pro-bono for the benefit of patients. Today, members of the network are selected based on their expertise in common healthcare matters and their desire to contribute their services to better the lives of patients facing seemingly insurmountable hurdles. Network members receive referrals directly from PAF case managers for their most complex unresolved cases and have agreed to provide an initial case evaluation and consultation pro-bono on behalf of the patient in a timely fashion.
Rich Carter of Carter & Coleman will be taking the leadership role within NCLN succeeding Weinhaus. “The network has provided crucial service to so many patients in need over the last 17 years, all a result of Sheldon’s leadership and commitment to helping patients, “ stated Carter. “I am honored to continue in his footsteps and give back to the patient community through the NCLN. “
Over the years, members of the NLRN have been directly involved in hundreds of cases where they worked to successfully resolve complex issues on behalf of patients in crisis. Members of the legal community who are interested in joining the National Legal Resource Network can visit the volunteer section of PAF’s website here.
About Sheldon Weinhaus, Esq.
Sheldon Weinhaus of Weinhaus & Potashnick is a litigation attorney in St. Louis specializing in healthcare and insurance issues. He received his law degree from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and graduated Order of the Coif in 1957. Sheldon was recognized by President Bill Clinton as a litigator protecting employee benefit plan participants, and served on President Clinton’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, which drafted and proposed the Patient Bill of Rights.
Sheldon has been practicing law for 50- plus years in both federal and state trial and appellate courts, and since the enactment of ERISA has often litigated issues surrounding the rights of patients to insurance coverage of life-saving and expensive cutting-edge medical techniques and issues involving long term disability and pensions. He successfully obtained a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court which recognized important ERISA rights (Geissal v. Moore Medical Corp). Sheldon has served as class counsel in several ERISA class action claims. Sheldon has been designated a senior counselor by the Missouri Bar and still practices law on a limited basis, often as a consultant. Principally now engaged as an arbitrator in dispute resolution, Sheldon was recognized recently by the Missouri Senate on his 75th birthday for his contributions to the law and patient community. For additional information visit www.sheldonweinhaus.com