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Lisa S. Kantor Esq. | Veritas Collaborative Staff

Lisa Kantor is the leading eating disorder attorney in the country. Lisa’s commitment to ensuring that sufferers of this severe mental illness, that kills more people per year than any other mental illness, is demonstrated in court through her work as an attorney, in the political arena as a lobbyist and on a personal level through her work in helping sufferers find appropriate treatment. Lisa is a member of California State Bar, United States District Court for the Central District, United States District Court for the Southern District and the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. In 2014, Lisa appealed against the trial decision in the matter of Marissa Rea v. Blue Shield of California. The trial court had concluded that the law did not require residential treatment for persons with severe eating disorders. This decision was inconsistent with the United States Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit decision in Harlick v. Blue Shield of California, 656 F.3d 832 (9th Cir. 2011), cert denied March 4, 2013, a case that Lisa had argued and won. Harlick held that the California Mental Health Parity Act, California Health & Safety Code Section 1374.72 and Insurance Code Section 10144.5 (“Mental Health Parity Act”), required that a health care service plan or health insurance policy issued, amended or renewed after July 1, 2000, that provides hospital, medical or surgical coverage shall “provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of severe mental illnesses.” “Severe mental illnesses” include major depression. Under the Mental Health Parity Act, health care service plans and insurance policies must provide all medically necessary treatment, including residential treatment, for members who are suffering from severe mental illnesses, such as major depression. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal confirmed that the Mental Health Parity Act requires health care service plans to provide coverage for residential treatment for severe mental illnesses when such treatment is medically necessary, notwithstanding the provision in the plan that purports to exclude such treatment. On June 10, 2014, the Court of Appeals found in favor of Marissa Rea by stating that the Mental Health Parity Act mandated “treatment of mental illnesses sufficient to reach the same quality of care afforded physical illnesses.” The decision in Rea, which supports Harlick, affirms the breadth of the Parity Act for people suffering from severe mental illnesses, including anorexia and bulimia nervosas. In September 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a published decision in Pacific Shores Hospital v. United Behavioral Health, et al., an ERISA case in which a severely anorexic 43-year old woman who sought benefits under her Wells Fargo employee health benefit plan for inpatient psychiatric treatment. Lisa represented Pacific Shores Hospital, which had been given an assignment of benefits from the patient. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court held that “there was a striking lack of care by UBH physicians Drs. Zucker, Center, and Barnard” which resulted in a plethora of errors. It found that the UBH physicians mischaracterized the patient’s medical history and condition and it concluded: “The unhappy fact is that UBH acted as a fiduciary in name only, abusing the discretion with which it had been entrusted.” As well as advocating for clients’ rights through the courts, Lisa advocates for their rights through her work as a board member of the Eating Disorder Coalition (“EDC”), the Binge Eating Disorder Association (“BEDA”) and the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (“IAEDP”). Lisa also sought changes to legislation by lobbying Senators and Members of Congress at both EDC Lobby Days in 2014. Furthermore, Lisa works with eating disorder treatment providers to help clients get access to and remain in treatment when insurance companies fail to fulfill their obligation to pay benefits owed.