Arent Fox Health Care Attorneys Volunteer for the Special Olympics World Summer Games
The firm was the biggest contributor of pro bono hours for the event, which hosted athletes of 27 different sports and from 177 countries.
The Special Olympics is the largest public global health program serving individuals with disabilities, reaching 1.3 million athletes worldwide, as well as more than 100,000 health care professionals who have received training throughout the event. Partner Tom Jeffry was interviewed by the Daily Journal on the firm’s participation in the event, noting, “Because some of these athletes are coming from places where their health care services aren’t being met, we’re able to provide them with this program, where they’re being screened for health care, or vision, or dental. Whatever they need.”
Arent Fox attorneys from different practice groups in all four offices contributed to the firm’s pro bono effort, amounting to hundreds of hours of work. Tom explained, “You can imagine there’s a lot of work to be done with over 7,000 athletes coming in, and these are individuals that in addition to their intellectual disabilities, often have other medical conditions.”
The Special Olympics presented a unique challenge to our health lawyers: to create a temporary, large scale integrated health network to provide for the care and treatment of the athletes while they are in Los Angeles for the World games. As part of this task, Arent Fox health lawyers prepared agreements to coordinate the services of multiple providers – including Kaiser, UCLA Health, USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, facilitated the registration of out of state health volunteers to participate in the Healthy Athletes health fair, and advised on the exchange of health information between providers to coordinate care to the athletes. Counsel Susanna Hathaway Murphy coordinated much of the health-related work for the event.
Tom reflected to the Daily Journal, “[I]t’s so much more than just individuals with special needs competing. I don’t think most people associate the Special Olympics with providing individuals health care, whether it’s getting a pair of eyeglasses, getting fitted for shoes that will fit appropriately, or just identifying things that would go undetected otherwise.”