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Helping a Nonprofit Serve Up Health Care for Uninsured Restaurant Workers


Pro Bono Attorney Jill H. Gordon

Nearly 90% of all restaurant workers in Los Angeles don't receive employer health insurance – that's more than 225,000 employees.

Public Counsel’s Community Development Project helped ROC-United – an organization focused on supporting the needs of restaurant workers across the nation – to provide health services to uninsured restaurant workers in Los Angeles.

“For low-wage workers, we're seeing that many of them don't have benefits,” ROC-LA co-coordinator Mariana Huerta told KPCC's On Central blog. “They go to work sick, because they don't have the opportunity to be able to take a day off and risk not being able to pay rent or their bills.”

Through a unique partnership between ROC-United and St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, ROC-LA is now able to offer its uninsured restaurant worker members the opportunity to obtain free preventative primary health care services.

Public Counsel connected ROC-United to Jill H. Gordon, a partner with Nixon Peabody’s Los Angeles office. Ms. Gordon’s expertise was critical to help ROC-United navigate a complex scheme of federal and state regulations.

She worked directly with ROC-United to ensure the health collaborative for uninsured workers was workable and legally compliant. As a result, ROC-United has now formalized a grant agreement with St. John’s to provide basic health care services to uninsured low-wage restaurant workers for whom no other payment source is reasonably available.

The co-op aims will provide primary health care, urgent care, family planning, labs & diagnostics and dental services. To learn more about ROC-LA, please visit rocunited.org/la/.