Dr. Omar Atiq opened the Arkansas Most cancers Clinic 29 years in the past to offer most cancers care to an underserved neighborhood in Pine Bluff. He then break up his time between the College of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Middle and the clinic, turning into very busy.
When he determined to shut the clinic final March, he employed one other firm to gather excellent funds from sufferers. That is when he realized how a lot folks had been paying.
“Simply shopping by way of it, I spotted that there have been sufferers that had been paying $10 for months on finish or $5 or $50,” Atiq informed CBS Information. “Sufferers wished to pay, however they only did not have the power to pay. And on the identical time, the nation was within the grip, and nonetheless is within the grip, of thethat has devastated lives in additional methods than one.”
Atiq spoke to his spouse and youngsters about it, and so they determined they did not want the cash — his sufferers did. “Fortunately, we had been blessed to have the chance to only forego the debt. Simply cancel it. So we did,” he stated. “We did not, fortunately, want the cash, any individual else did. So it was performed.”
Atiq really did two rounds of debt cancellation in 2020, as soon as in June and one other round Christmas. The second time, he despatched a vacation card to about 200 sufferers letting them know they not needed to pay their excellent medical payments.
He stated he canceled about $650,000 in debt for his most cancers sufferers. He did not need consideration for the nice deed, however he did say many sufferers reached out to thank him.
“When you’ve the patient-physician relationship, you recognize one another. The sufferers know you, and you recognize the affected person. It is somewhat sacred and really distinctive,” he stated.
The physician stated the response has been gratifying. “You understand, we’re simply grateful for the chance,” he stated. “I’m sure that many others in our footwear have performed the identical, physicians throughout the nation, all world wide.”
Atiq stated that to him this isn’t only a story about debt forgiveness, “however the truth that now we have medical debt … and now we have individuals who, for no fault of theirs, are going bankrupt making an attempt to get wholesome.”