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Nonprofits Partner To Advocate For Patients Coping with Medical Debt

The partnership will ignite a referral program that improves access to financial assistance from nonprofit hospitals
Photo: Nudphon Phuengsuwan | Shutterstock

Americans with medical bills from a nonprofit hospital now have a new venue to access financial assistance that can help crush their debt.

"A medical crisis shouldn't mean a financial crisis,” said Jared Walker, founder of Dollar For in a press release. Dollar For is a nonprofit organization that helps reduce or eliminate medical bills and debt from nonprofit hospitals.  

Earlier this month, Dollar For announced a new partnership with Frisco-based Good Days, a fellow nonprofit that aims to lift the burdens of chronic illness through assistance, advocacy and awareness. 

"The financial toll of an illness comes in many different forms, whether it be hospital bills, premiums or the cost of treatments," said Clorinda Walley, president of Good Days. 

The partnership will facilitate a referral program that assists and advocates for individuals through charity care and other financial assistance programs.  

Program participants first work with a care navigator to determine their program eligibility. If eligible, they will receive a referral to a Dollar For advocate. The advocate will work on the participant’s behalf to review available assistance programs that can be applied to their debt. 

In order for nonprofit hospitals to maintain their tax-exempt status, they must provide charity care programs in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

According to experts at Good Days, there is almost no federal oversight of charity care and most hospitals do the bare minimum to educate patients about these programs. 

"Millions of Americans are on payment plans or declaring bankruptcy for medical bills they legally don't have to pay," said Walker. 

A recent study showed that 72% of nonprofit hospitals spent less on charity care and community investment than they received in tax breaks. Combined, nonprofit hospitals in 2018 received $17 billion in tax breaks that were not passed on as community benefits.

Good Days and Dollar For are hoping to curb these figures by advocating for patients and eliminating their debt.  

"We're glad to collaborate with Dollar For to help our community access additional resources and financial assistance so that they can focus on their personal well-being, not their finances," said Walley. 

All advocacy services are provided free of charge. To date, Dollar For has worked with 3,600 Americans to eliminate more than $21 million in medical bills nationally.

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